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#jobs-discuss
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2020-05-12
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naomarik04:05:51

I've been doing fullstack things my whole programming career -- for about a decade. All the jobs I've found in past have been greenfield projects where I work more of a CTO role coding everything and helping make business decisions. Would giving people URLs of sites I've created be enough to show my skillset? My latest site is http://sayartii.com that uses datomic/elastic and of course clj/s. Just curious, if someone was in a role to hire a developer and I showed you this, would you still need to see github contributions and a well connected linkedin?

orestis05:05:14

A portfolio page is always nice. Make short summaries to include in CV, link prominently to a portfolio page with longer descriptions, screenshots etc.

orestis05:05:34

GitHub and LinkedIn : meh

seancorfield05:05:17

@naomarik A well-written CV/resume, that describes the jobs/projects briefly, with your responsibilities and achievements. That's what is going to be read first, usually by several levels at a company before a hiring manager is going to take a deeper look. That person may follow links to more detail about the projects but a lot of hiring managers simply don't have the time to go off reading candidate's vanity pages/sites, given that they have to consider so many applications and decide who to interview.

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seancorfield05:05:24

As a hiring manager myself for several decades, I would look at look at a portfolio for a design-related position but not for development positions: I want the facts laid out clearly on a CV/resume. If you provide me links to stuff like GitHub etc, I'm more likely to view it with a very critical eye to disqualify candidates if what they're presenting as their "best work" isn't up to scratch (i.e., I tend to use "portfolios" as disqualifying filters).

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seancorfield05:05:33

If you're "full-stack" (a description I hate as a hiring manager) and/or CTO material, then nearly all of the important stuff you've been doing is going to be behind the scenes -- and, besides, no one is going to take a web site at face value and assume/accept you are responsible for "all" of it.

naomarik12:05:05

This caught me off guard. If someone claimed they coded a website it's hard to believe they did all of it? I can understand there being a UX designer that took that part of the task and another person to take care of business development, but those aren't technical related tasks. Could you clarify this point?

seancorfield17:05:21

@naomarik There's a general assumption of team work: someone claiming "I did all of this!" sounds like they don't work in a team and there are all sorts of red flags around that for a hiring manager. Are they unable to delegate? Are they making an exaggerated claim and/or taking credit for other people's work? Do they think they're an expert in all aspects of business/tech? At any company that is larger than "one man and his dog", the CTO should be busy doing CTO stuff which should not include every single development task as well as business. See also my comment in the main channel about becoming an expert meaning "10,000 hours" in each part of the stack.

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naomarik19:05:47

Oh makes sense. In the context of what I've been doing, has literally just been me and my cofounder. If the company was larger and had multiple developers it would be a silly claim.

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seancorfield19:05:46

Are you trying to move away from "technical co-founder" roles?

orestis06:05:16

Yeah a well written cv, tailored to the role you’re applying, more detail for more recent roles. A well written cover letter that shows you know what you’re applying for and have did a bit of research about the role and company also works wonders.

orestis06:05:07

For frontend development work, I still think a portfolio page makes sense, but indeed this will get looked at at a much later stage.

orestis06:05:51

@seancorfield do you also disqualify people based on random stuff in their GitHub account? Or only if they pitch it as “look at this project I made”?

Prakash09:05:23

@seancorfield I am a bit curious about your opinion on the full-stack term. care to explain a bit more? 🙂

seancorfield17:05:49

It seems others explained similar opinions after I went to bed 🙂

Prakash18:05:31

yes there are some good insights. Thanks

maxim12:05:11

What does “full-stack” mean? A person who knows and can touch everything beginning from chips and logic circuits to the latest version of Vue.js, including dev ops and administration, QA responsibilities, team lead responsibilities, etc.? I think the term “full-stack” is quite broad and to be an expert in all related fields, probably, requires a lot time and effort.

naomarik13:05:30

I always thought of it as someone who could take an idea/design and and technically execute on everything to make it a real working product.

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maxim13:05:09

That’s a nice definition, I like it. But I hear it for the first time within 10 years of my career, to be honest.

maxim13:05:29

I think the main thing here is that people have different definitions for the same term.

naomarik15:05:22

What else would it be? What did you have in mind?

maxim02:05:24

Personally, I don’t have a good definition for this term. But maybe, just back-end + fron-end.

b-ryan15:05:15

I have discussed this same question with people. My current definition is someone who can write APIs in the backend and implement UIs in the frontend. Their ability in the frontend may stop around the CSS and a frontend dev might be better there. In the backend, I wouldn't expect full stack to be as solid on data processing / pipelines or the devops sides of things.

alexlynham13:05:54

full stack = backend, frontend, ops

alexlynham13:05:19

for like most of the places I've been, most of the devs I know, that's the definition

dharrigan14:05:03

IMHO, "full-stack" is a marketing term created by businesses to get one person to do the job of several others, whilst paying one-person's salary.

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dharrigan14:05:22

It takes years to really understand technology and become fluent/expert in it. Even although I dabble in Javascript and I know quite a bit about backend programming, and I've done network/systems admin stuff too, I would never call myself a full-stack developer.

Conor14:05:53

Overly cynical! I am bad at front-end stuff, but I think managing the ops and backend stuff goes together quite naturally

dharrigan14:05:25

Oh, cynicism born out by close observation of experiencing lots of companies that do this.

dharrigan14:05:34

You can call me a cynic 🙂

Conor14:05:10

Simply stop working when you aren't being paid, problem solved

dharrigan14:05:32

I don't follow

Conor14:05:16

If somebody is trying to get you to do several jobs at once

Conor14:05:32

There's only so many hours I get paid for in a day, so when that's up I stop working

dharrigan14:05:34

Would you say you always do the precise hours you are contracted for in your employement contract? Never worked a few hours here or there, or weekends to ensure a project gets out the door successfully?

dharrigan14:05:09

I have yet to meet a developer who works the precise hours in their contract. And I've been in this game for 20 years 🙂

Conor14:05:15

I will work on weekends for 2 x rate 😉

alexlynham15:05:32

yeah I think conor is broadly right

alexlynham15:05:58

be conscientious, do a good job, don't let employers take the piss is a good motto

alexlynham15:05:45

I have a second job so I don't work extra hours cos I've got other paid work that demands attention... but I think that's probably a good attitude to adopt for free time too... it all has a value

dharrigan15:05:27

Broadly speaking - broadly speaking, what I've seen is that we (devs) are naturally inclined to "go that extra mile" in order not to let the team down. When deadlines are coming and deliverables have to be, well, delivered, mostly everyone I've seen are willing to put in a few extra hours here and there to help the team out. I think we're going off topic a bit here - i.e., what a full-stack developer is, but in general we're naturally alturistic and feel bad if we let the team down.

dharrigan15:05:50

Of course, we could say "screw them, I'm outside my hours, I'm going home" - but I don't think I've ever witnessed that.

dharrigan15:05:33

Bringing it back on topic a bit - if someone has skills in doing all the work, from configuring servers, to writing frontend code, to liasing with all the various components that to ensure it all gets done - that's great. But again, what I've seen is that people who are called upon to do many things, burn out very quickly and get stressed out quite a bit (I've seen people resort to alcoholism and substance abuse because they were being asked to do "all the things" since that is what the business perceived to be a "full-stack" developer")

dharrigan15:05:29

I mean, why can't we just hire more people do to the work...give people a job - I'm sure they would appreciate it 🙂

naomarik15:05:06

I've experienced that extreme burnout, but was hitting a tight deadline for a demo. I would imagine anyone that works too much on any part of the stack spectrum would experience the same thing though.

alexlynham15:05:24

I think burnout is a natural cycle for any creative work and you've got to watch for it

alexlynham15:05:20

as for what you describe there @dharrigan yeah I think you're right... on the pushing devs hard thing it's usually a mixture of costs and difficulty hiring afaict, but maybe I'm not being hard enough on the orgs 🙂

dpsutton15:05:48

i don't see a connection between full stack and burnout and hours worked at all. I've been frontend and backend at the last several jobs and that's a completely independent axis from hours worked. And i've had great employers who have paid me well for 40 hours a week. If there were periods of longer hours they were immediately offset with time off to compensate

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dharrigan16:05:34

This inherently is one of the problems. Different companies have different definitions of what a "full-stack" developer is. I guess some companies overload that definition - asking too much of people perhaps?

dharrigan16:05:07

As a thought experiment, would people be comfortable hiring a single "full-stack" house builder? A single person who can do everything from drawing the house plans, acquiring the property to build upon, insuring all proper planning laws have been adhered too, to physically building it with bricks, mortar, cement and wood, wiring in all the electrics, plumbing it, sorting out all the legals and so on and so forth.

Bobby Towers19:05:26

My parents actually did that, we hired Mennonites to build our house. Turned out great, but they did certain things so peculiarly that nobody else can work on it 😕

seancorfield17:05:15

Yeah, what y'all have been saying (negatively) about "full-stack developer" fits with my (negative) opinion about the term. Since I mentioned my "hatred" for the term last night and then went to bed!

seancorfield17:05:15

If a developer presents themselves as "full-stack", I generally assume it means either "jack of all trades, master of none" or "I do JavaScript on both the front end and the back end" since that's mostly been my experience with candidates who claim that (I know, I know, there are always going to be exceptions). If a company asks for a "full-stack developer", they're usually either asking for the latter (end-to-end JS) or someone who will just wear any hat the company wants at any time (sort of the former) and quite a few companies are genuinely doing it to get one person who will essentially work two jobs for a single paycheck 😞

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Tuomas05:05:54

I have to take a contrary stance. I think presenting yourself as fullstack means you can, and generally will, work with the whole stack. If you focus on one thing, let’s say the backend, then sure you will be a master at backend development, but I’d also argue that working with the frontend might (or might not) help you become an even greater master even if you spend way less time working with the backend. I think this is especially true in monoglot stacks. But I can see your point, especially with huge applications, where you don’t only need to acquire expertise in, let’s say backend development, but also in how this specific backend works.

seancorfield17:05:47

Given the amount of practice/work that it takes to become an expert at something -- the "10,000 hour rule" -- to truly be a full-stack expert, you're going to need to have about 15 years professional experience!

orestis18:05:58

I propose an alternative “full-stack” definition: someone who is motivated by building “things” and is eager to do any work necessary to get them done, learning along the way. In the times before SPAs, a web developer had to know HTML & CSS, and an HTML-rendering backend of their choice, plus some SQL, and if you wanted to get something live, some idea about web servers/proxy servers, domains etc. That certainly was “full-stack”. Now of course, SPAs add a ton of new things to master, and are still a moving target, but if you were doing web development back then, and you picked up React along the way, could you not claim you’re “full-stack”?

orestis18:05:06

I’m not implying there’s something wrong with people being motivated to become experts in one area, BTW. As someone who kinda identifies as full-stack, I’ll be the first to say I’m not an expert in most of the areas I work on. But I’m working on it 🙂

seancorfield18:05:31

@orestis I think that "in the old days" when the web was a lot simpler, I agree that being "full-stack" was almost a given and so no one used the term. Now that the web front end has become so incredibly complex and, to be honest, the back end has also become a lot more complex, to be an expert in both is nigh-on impossible -- which is why I'm so skeptical of it 😐

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orestis18:05:00

Being able to get things done is possible though, esp. if you’re familiar with the stacks, and the scale or scope is not in the extremes.

isak19:05:41

Full stack doesn't necessarily mean claiming to be an expert anything. It doesn't even mean you work with SPAs at all. For example, people who work with Ruby on Rails (emphasizing server-rendered HTML) can claim to be full stack, right?

seancorfield19:05:27

@isak They can certainly claim to be full stack, yes 🙂

isak20:05:07

@seancorfield I think they can get away with it without triggering most people, since they are not claiming to be an expert on SQL + distributed systems + React + CSS, just that they work on both the backend and the frontend