The title Full stack developer has really nothing to do with you as a developer, instead it's something strictly related to the company's stack, as the name suggests, and, unless the company is sharing its stack with the world, no one will ever guess which technologies and languages you are working with and master.
On the other hand, if you work as a freelancer, the title might suggest that you are some king of tech God, no matter what is the challenge; sounds pretty presumptuous.
Later in this article I have some suggestions for different job titles that would better fit your real skills, if you are interested keep on reading 👀
I won't go deeper in this field since there is already a well done article about this; I'm just gonna steal some cool images from there.
As you can see from the image above, there are three types of people when we talk about skills: I-shaped, T-shaped and Generalists.
Usually, a Junior Full stack is something like a generalist and, with more and more experience, they will eventually become a T-shaped developer by starting to master a specific set of technologies.
There might be outstanding developers in the wild that will eventually become Square-shaped developers, mastering everything; you can do it if you follow your dreams! But this is not the point.
Take me as an example: I've started as a Generalist, knowing a little to zero of everything but still very presumptuous, probably affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect, reference below.
But I had a lot of enthusiasm and will to learn new things ASAP; that permitted me to slowly become an I-shaped developer, specialized in front-end development, UI, UX and stuff.
Fortunately, that was just a tiny step and I didn't lose my will to learn different skills and I've never lost my horizontal set of skills, even if it was a very thin line.
Later in my career I had the chance to finally work as a Full stack developer! But I've always had this question in my mind: how could you call yourself a Full stack developer if you din't work with every single technology out there?
But the dream of finally writing Full stack developer in my LinkedIn profile and everywhere else was too big to find an answer. How naive I was... this story sounds the more stupid the more I tell you.
If you are reading this article, probably you went through the same thoughts as I did:
- Why not writing that job title if I know a lot of stuff?
- It will help me find a better job next time
- It rocks
- I feel like a Senior developer
- It's time to do it
It's all about reputation, social image, portfolio stuff maybe.
But let's be realistic: you need a better way to sell yourself. Remember my first words in this article?
no one will ever guess which technologies and languages you are working with and master
And this my friend, is the real problem to solve.
Imagine being a recruiter searching for new developers to get in touch, you know little to nothing about programming languages and related technologies but your boss said "We need to find a proficient C# developer for ACME company with at least 40yr of experience with MongoDB and Linux" (I wrote a no-sense position on purpose, follow me).
Then, always as a naive recruiter, you take that sentence for granted and start looking for profiles with your brand new LinekdIn Premium profile.
After some search, you find a dozen of Full stack developers and in your head that title sounds very cool, the right person I'm looking for! Someone with a wide knowledge, he/she must be who I'm looking for!
You see the problem here? The person on the other side of the screen doesn't give a heck about what your stack really means. It's your responsibility to specify it!
I have quite a few, let's briefly see them.
If you really trust your knowledge, experience and will to learn, then Software Engineer might appropriate and less confusing. With that title, you want to say that the field or the technology doesn't matter: you are ready to learn anything because you are prepared for that.
If you have a very little horizontal set of skills but you master a field, just go for the title of that field: if you are a Frontend developer, just say that, there's no need to hide it. Also, if you are an Embedded Software developer, a Data Architect, whatever. You will change that title with something like the ones below when you will be ready.
Last, if you don't see yourself in any of the title above, nor you can relate with any of the letter-shaped cases at the beginning, I have a proposal for you.
Let's say that Full stack feels very presumptuous, right? Now, imagine describing your stack of skills with something different than Full, what could it be? There are plenty of dimensions before that, something like Thin Stack developer, Wide Stack developer or Huge Stack developer.
This new titles, my dear friend, will arouse curiosity in who will read them since no one uses them yet! That's why, once you choose the best title for you, it should be useful to create something that will better describe what you mean with that: GitHub pages, a custom Portfolio site, something like this.
I know, I know: some of you couldn't wait to see the final point of my article just to let me know that you strongly disagree with it.
But, hey! This is just my opinion about this, I can't wait to hear yours in the comment 👇
Last, but not least, react with a 🦄 if you've found this article interesting! 👏