If you are an aspiring or existing Full Stack Engineer (or Full Stack Developer), you should know that you are trading depth (micro level development) for breadth (macro level management) when it comes to knowledge and specialization within your career. In some ways it’s like being a project manager instead of the developer.
You may also enjoy a career path in multiple startups and early stage companies, rather than settling into secure, long term positions with already famous brands, because of your increasing ability to contribute at so many levels. Bigger companies have less requirements for one multitalented centerpiece.
It is inherent in smaller environments that everybody is expected to cover a lot of ground, within their own field of expertise and ‘kill’ projects efficiently without expectations of complete perfection. That spells even more pressure for the Full Stack person who is already overloaded with the expectation of being able to ‘do it all’, when in reality many argue that it is impossible in today’s tech world to be that good at every single layer.
But as things stand as a Full Stack in 2015, whether you work at a big or small company, while you will be knowledgeable in many areas, you will probably only be master of one or two of those. You need to be ok with that and you need to continue to be knowledgeable in every new and popular aspect of programming, coding and server administration and at each layer of software development so that you remain valuable as a hire and as a ‘full stack’ employee as long as the notion of a Full Stack Developer exists.
However the rewards of having full stack capabilities are huge. The personal fulfillment of being part of a startup’s success or having participated in moving an entire industry forward beyond its current boundaries of innovation is immeasurable. Being part of a movement is always exciting. Using your full stack capabilities to help in transforming an industry or to drive a company’s success tends to elevate your earning potential and future career prospects too.
In fact, many full stack developers have so much knowledge, experience, drive and enthusiasm that they gravitate toward entrepreneurship naturally. The vast experience gained opens many doors for a very fulfilling career.