What Is a Full Stack Developer Salary?

  

Adding a full-stack developer salary to your budget

When you need customized enterprise solutions, do you tend to hire the expertise you need to develop the necessary applications or do you contract it out? When you consider that added overhead of hiring a full-stack developer salary, you may find it more cost-effective to rent the expertise you need rather than hire it.

IT jobs, especially for enterprise developers, continue to be in high demand, which means full stack developers command top dollar. You may want to consider your options before adding a full-stack developer salary to your budget.

What Is a Full-Stack Developer?

Before assessing what full-stack developers can earn, let’s define what we mean by full-stack developer. There are all kinds of programmers, but being a coder doesn’t mean you are a full-stack developer. A full-stack developer is familiar with all aspects of software development, from the front-end to the back-end. Like DevOps, the full-stack developer has a huge impact on how technology is used within an organization. Both DevOps and full-stack developers share the same philosophy to promote application flexibility, agility, and scalability. Where full-stack developers are responsible for the software side of new technology solutions,  DevOps supports the engineering side, although as software delivery becomes more sophisticated the roles begin to blur.

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There was a time in the early days of the web when being a full-stack developer meant having basic skills in web and database programming. Today, the role of the full-stack developer is more comprehensive. As applications have become more complex, the responsibilities of the full-stack developer continue to expand. The best full-stack developers have diverse expertise that covers all aspects of enterprise development. They should understand:

  • Server management, including maintaining remote connections, managing users and groups, firewalls and permissions, software installations and updates, shell environments, and so on.

  • Cloud computing, including deploying and managing hosted environments as in virtualization.

  • Databases, including relational databases such as MySQL and NoSQL databases such as Cassandra or MongoDB.

  • Back end processes, such as web servers, API design, search engines, and the associated development tools and libraries.

  • Front end processes written using tools such as JavaScript.

  • Mobile web development, especially as more users rely exclusively on handheld devices for web access.

The job description and special expertise required of full-stack developers continues to evolve, so you have to look beyond expertise in Python, PHP, or Ruby on Rails and search for a deeper understanding of application development, infrastructure, and business logic.

What Is the Average Full-Stack Developer Salary?

As with most careers, the salary for full-stack developers varies depending in the specific expertise required and the geographic region.

At the lower end of the scale are web developers and entry-level programmers who are learning what they need to know about full-stack development. Entry-level full-stack developers are earning $97,000 on average, although salaries will vary based on the specific skills required, such as expertise in Drupal or JavaScript. Some regions where there is more demand for developer expertise command higher salaries. The average salary for entry-level full-stack developers in the San Francisco Bay area, for example, is $113,500.

The average full-stack developer salary nationwide is $110,500. Again, depending on region and skills, that figure can be substantially higher. Some companies will pay $150,000 per year or more for developers with specific expertise.

Hiring Versus Contracting

If you choose to add a full-stack developer to your staff, you may not get all the skills you need. Although an experienced full-stack developer has some knowledge in multiple areas, he or she may not have the right programming abilities or experience to handle a project from start to finish. You may find yourself supplementing your team to fill in gaps in capabilities, which adds overhead cost.

Remember, too, that salary is only a portion of what that new hire actually costs the company. When calculating the cost of a new hire, you have to consider other expenses such as recruiting costs, taxes, benefits, bonuses, equipment, and more.

You also have to compete to hire the best professionals available. That means paying more for the best professional you can find. It also means worrying about the cost of employee retention. Having to replace a strategic hire can cost up to twice the salary for the position, according to some experts.

Rather than committing additional overhead to hiring a developer who may only have some of the skills you need, you can save time and money by outsourcing your application development needs. DevOps consultants offer a wide range of services and have a team of experts with diversified skills. And the best DevOps consultants understand your business objectives and can provide expert guidance. By using DevOps for hire, you can be assured that you get the right experience at the right price.

When you consider the median full-stack developer salary in your market, ask yourself if adding a new hire is the best use of your budget. You may find that it makes more sense to rent the expertise you need rather than hire it and that you should be looking for a DevOps services company instead.

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Christopher Rigor

 
Christopher Rigor is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Engine Yard. He’s a long time Rails user, system administrator, and recently became a contributor of RailsInstaller. Previously, he was the DevOps Support Manager for Asia-Pacific at Engine Yard.
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