Full Stack Developer vs Software Engineer: Which One You Should Choose?

The article highlights the concept of a full stack web developer as well as a software engineer. The advantages, roles and responsibilities, needs of both the profiles and the difference between a full-stack developer and software engineer in terms of their knowledge, expertise, pay grades, etc. are also discussed. This may help decide whether to hire a software engineer or a full stack developer for any IT-based firm.

Full Stack Developer vs Software Engineer: Which One You Should Choose?

Have you ever come across a website that caught your eye in the first place with its attractive graphics and efficient functionalities? Did you find the website that you thought can be useful to you in the future? Today, we will talk about Full Stack Developer vs Software Engineer in detail.

Well, if this is the case, you must give a moment to thank the back end procedure for building that website, which we call the Web Development process in developers’ language. Any Full Stack Web Development Company can help you to develop such solutions.

We can define the web developer as a backstage artist that manages everything- from graphics to the user interface to its features and functionalities- only to keep the target audience engaged with the website.

Full Stack Developer Vs Software Developer: A Brief Overview

The skills for web development are much in demand these days. If a non-technical person has this skill, he can easily develop a website.

Though it seems quite a simple task, it takes more than just the coding skills to become a web developer.

Full Stack Developer: Need, Skills & Benefits

Full Stack Developer

As the name suggests, a full stack developer is the one who handles both- the front end as well as the back end of the web application. 

The skill list of a full stack developer includes: creating dynamic UI/UX for the web pages using attractive graphics, maintaining the databases, client interactions as well as maintenance of the web development life cycle.

They can work with a native platform, mobile application development platforms, as well as web development platforms as per the requirements mentioned by the client.

Why Do You Need a Full Stack Developer?

Why Full Stack Developer

In the case where managing clients, servers, databases, system development, etc. comes together, the first thing that comes to a manager’s mind is approaching the full stack developer

Getting these modules collaborated into one is what we call a complete project, which can be handled by a full stack developer. With their expertise, these developers help build prototypes for the new projects faster based on the client’s requirement specifications. 

They also help their fellow mates in case of any issue faced during the development process, irrespective of the module or functionality assigned to that fellow mate.

Skills of a Full Stack Developer

The name- full stack developer itself conveys that the developer has to work on a whole of the technology stack, working on all the layers of the web application development life cycle.

Following are key skills that a Full-Stack Developer should possess

  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS & JavaScript
  • Hands-on experience with Git & GitHub
  • Experience with Back-End development
  • Knowledge of web architecture
  • Basic designing skills
  • Experience in dealing with various databases

Benefits of a Full Stack Developer

Let us jot down a few points conveying the benefits of hiring a full stack developer:

  • As mentioned earlier, full-stack developers fully-fledged with the knowledge of all the latest frameworks and platforms used in developing a web application.
  • Companies need not hire dedicated developers with expertise in a single or two web development platforms. The full-stack developer can fit into any of the web development projects.
  • As they maintain the backend as well as the front end, they get to learn new things at every stage of the web application development life cycle. You can utilize this knowledge while undertaking a similar type of project in the future.
  • These developers can learn the upcoming and latest platforms easily as they already have a good grip over the existing technologies and can understand the new ones simply by comparing a few features and code syntaxes.
  • Although having a good knowledge of all technologies, they are the jack for all but the master for nothing, as they never work continuously on a single technology.
  • They ensure that the planned project workflow and the timelines maintained by the team members.

Software Engineer: Need, Skills & Benefits

Software Engineer

Unlike the full stack developers who focus on the complete process to build a web application, software engineers have their prime focus on building desktop applications; those can be easily downloaded on the desktop to carry out certain tasks easily.

The software engineers are well aware of the architecture of the system for which the software is being deployed. It would not be a surprising fact if we call full stack development a subset of the software engineering process. 

Right from business applications and games to network control systems and operating systems, software engineers can develop all these things. Today, there is a lot of demand for software engineers. 

Why Do You Need a Software Engineer?

Software Engineer

With the latest trends and technologies emerging day by day, the software also needs to get updated to meet the system’s architectural requirements like graphics, user interface, etc.

Again, with the advancement in automation applications, there is much demand for software engineers to build applications based on the concept of AI and ML.

In this kind of scenario, you need a software engineer who has the experience as well as the knowledge to deal with any complex development process. He/She will be able to guide you on these perspectives.

Skills of a Software Engineer

A software engineer, as discussed above, is someone who can be called an all-rounder for the skills and knowledge acquired.

Following are key skills that a Software Engineer should possess: 

  • Knowledge of various programming languages
  • Experience in working with various tools & IDEs
  • Knowledge of various operating systems
  • Basics of networking
  • Knowledge of software testing principles
  • Hands-on experience of working with SDLC models

Benefits of a Software Engineer

benefits of software engineer

After discussing how full-stack developers can be beneficial to a company, let’s discuss the same about software engineers too. It will help you to know Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer difference.

The reasons why one should hire a software engineer are as follows:

  • The software engineers fully-fledged with the technologies used to develop an application that one can download and install on personal desktops and laptops.
  • The software engineer can solve all sorts of issues faced during the software development process, either logical or mathematical.
  • They can work on-site a Responsibilities Of A Full-Stack Developers well, because all the clients may need a desktop application somewhere in the form of ERP, HR management system, and so on.

Full Stack Developer vs Software Engineer: Summary Table

Let us summarize our discussion about a full stack developer vs software developer in the following table. It will help you know Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer comparison.

Full-Stack Developer Software Engineer
A full-stack developer is a complete package of expertise in all web development technologies. The expertise of software engineers lies in developing the applications useful for desktop only.
They have full access to the resources used to develop the front end and the backend. They can help other team members in error solving, thus reducing the time. Software engineers can only have the access to the resources used for a particular stage in the software development life cycle.
The developers first create the prototype for the web application and then on the final approval of the client, start with the application development process. Software engineers design the step by step software development lifecycle and work on each stage individually.
Full-stack developers need to make a balance between managing various tasks such as database management, client communications, etc. They mainly focus on the programming languages used to develop the custom software. They must have expertise in that programming language.
Full-stack developers work as a project lead for their teammates. Software engineers work along with his fellow mates.
The web applications developed by them can have multiple functionalities The software developed has user-centric and limited functionalities.

Roles & Responsibilities: Full Stack Developer Vs. Software Engineer

Responsibilities Of A Full-Stack Developer

Discussing the need and skill set of a full-stack developer, let us take a glimpse of what is expected from a full-stack developer, and his roles and responsibilities in a company. These are:

Building A Prototype

Building A Prototype

Whenever a client finalizes a requirement, it is the sole responsibility of the full stack developer to create a prototype of the project that covers all the client requirements.

After the client finalizes the prototype, the development process can be started, and the project is subdivided into modules and assigned to the teammates.

Identifying Modules

Once the project has been assigned to the team, as mentioned above, various modules of the project are identified and then assigned to the team members.

Based on the skill set, these modules can be the design of UI/UX, database design, etc. It comes under the role of the full stack developer to assign these modules to the relevant people and the responsibility to manage the team and the issues faced by the team, too.

Testing The Code

Testing The Code

The development of a web application does not end with the creation of an error-free code.

The code needs to be tested under certain test cases, and if it goes through these test cases, the code is said to be good to go, and the project can finally be deployed.

The designing of these test cases also comes under the responsibilities of the full stack developer.

Responsibilities Of Software Engineer

Apart from developing system-oriented and user-centric applications, there are certain roles and responsibilities of the software engineers that need to be taken into consideration. These are as follows:

Knowledge Of Everything

knowledge of everything

The software engineer is expected to be an all-rounder, having all the knowledge of coding, documentation, logical problem-solving abilities, mathematical expertise, etc. Hence, they should be able to solve the major mathematical and logical problems, if any.

Converting Ideas Into Reality

We convert ideas into reality- this is the perfect tagline that can be used to define a software engineer. Just give them a problem statement or an idea, and they will rigorously start working on it and finally reach the optimal solution.

This solution is later presented to the client, and based on his approval, the implementation process can be started.

So, this is a major difference in Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer comparison.

Preparing Test Cases

Test Cases

Once the implementation is over, the software engineer must check that the newly developed system does not crash under any circumstances. For this, they design various test cases and implement these on the developed system.

If the system fails to pass those test cases, you need to revisit the coding process. This goes on until the new system does not go through all the test cases successfully, which is made sure by the software engineer, and later can be declared as a project deliverable.

Parameter Based Difference Between Full Stack & Software developer

Summarizing the Full stack developer vs software engineer concept, let’s discuss the difference for the same in detail, features wise.

Work

Full-stack developers, as discussed earlier, can work on multiple technologies at once. Software engineers work only on those technologies that are helpful to build application software for computers.

So, this is an important aspect of Full Stack Developer vs Software Engineer comparison.

Accessibility

Full-stack developers have access to all the resources used in building the web application. The software engineer, as mentioned in the summary table, can access only those resources used in a particular stage of the software development cycle.

Domain

As mentioned above, the full-stack developers build a prototype before starting the implementation, while the software engineers develop a life to make software.

Skills

Database management, client and server applications development, etc. are some of the skills of a full stack developer, while the software engineer has the expertise in various programming languages.

Role in a team

Full-stack developers can lead the project team, while the software engineers are a part of the development team. So, Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer have different responsibilities in a team environment.

Product

Full-stack developers work on developing web applications, while the latter work on building native apps for computers.

Career

Major companies hire software engineers, while full-stack developers can become the technical partners for start-up companies.

Learning Path

Just the web development skills are enough to be a full stack developer. While software engineers need to have a degree in computer engineering.

So, this is a major difference in Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer comparison.

Conclusion

In this article, we analyze Software Engineer vs Full Stack Developer comparison based on benefits, roles, responsibilities, etc.

We can conclude that both profiles have their advantages and disadvantages. Both the developers need to stay upgraded for easy sustenance in the software industry.

Chintan Gor
Enthusiastic for web app development, Chintan Gor has zeal in experimenting with his knowledge of Node.js in various aspects of development. He keeps on updating his technical know-how thus pinning his name among the topmost CTO's in India. His contribution is penned down by him through various blogs on Node.js. He is associated with eSparkBiz - a Node.js Development Company from the past 7-8 years where one can get premium services.
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