I’ve always loved to call myself different names/titles. I’ve been a software engineer, I’ve even been a “Lead Senior Front End Developer”; that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?. Titles are what make people feel important in their social environment. Certain people could argue that we’re rational beings, and we have values, and they’re right. But for the majority of us, the “name” we’re called by, is deeply engrained in our self-worth. I’ve experienced this countless times.

I recently read Remy Sharp’s inspiring article I’m a developer, not an engineer, and I resonated with it fully. I have my own frustration, and it’s related to the fact that I’m seeing a trend which is more and more prominent in recruiter messages, a trend that triggered a cascade of bad things.

You’ve all received at some point a message from a recruiter with a subject line similar to: “Full stack engineer needed for...". It's this type of message that led to the birth of the second worst thing in JavaScript history, after the "Angular developer": the "Full stack developer". Now, let's sit down and look at the facts.

There is an increasing need for JavaScript developers on the job market, right? Not only that, but businesses need JavaScript developers that can do both frontend and backend, thus, they invented the notion of “Full-stack developer”.
I have a big question here: “What stack are you talking about?!”, because we currently have the following.

I can make up my own “stack” if I want to, right? So we could have: MHAN where I switch ExpressJS with Hapi, or I could have HANE, or all sorts of weird combinations. This sounds just as ridiculous as the LAMP stack.

Another reason besides these made-up names and the fact that anyone can take a bunch of technologies, make up a cool name and then call that a “stack”, is the fact that calling yourself an X stack developer means you’re married to that technology. It’s just like tatooing “J2EE architect for life!” on your belly.


Well, what do you know, J2EE is EOL, so what are you going to do? Are you going to go EOL too? Are you going to go out of work?

Now, to get back on track with my ramblings, I consider that if one is in need to let people know they’re skilled in both client-side and server-side JavaScript, for example, or if a recruiter is in need of such a person, they should at least try to use: “Cross-competency JavaScript Developer” or “Cross-trained JavaScript developer” or “Multidisciplinary developer skilled with JavaScript” instead of “Full-stack …”. In my opinion this is way less ambiguous and is more likely to appeal to the right type of people, on both the recruiter’s and the professional’s ends.

This being said, I’d love to hear some thoughts from people more skilled than me, and what their opinion is on the subject, so I encourage everyone to take a bit of their time and comment here, or on Twitter, using the #ihatefullstack hash.


Image credits: Unsplash