Full Stack vs Full Cycle developer

Elton Minetto
2 min readFeb 13, 2019

In the last years, the term full stack developer grown in many job opportunities, mainly in startups. According to this post, a full stack developer is:

[…] an engineer who can handle all the work of databases, servers, systems engineering, and clients. Depending on the project, what customers need may be a mobile stack, a Web stack, or a native application stack.

And the post, that is awesome, add a list of things that a person should learn to become a full stack developer: programming languages, databases, cache, design, UX, and so on.

If this can overwhelm to someone that is a developer for some years it is frightening for a newbie. I have an opinion about it, but before let see what is a full cycle developer.

Full Cycle Developer

This name first appears in a post from Netflix’s technology blog, in 2018.

In this post the author explains the problems they were facing and how they achieve a model:

[…] we arrived at a model where a development team, equipped with amazing developer productivity tools, is responsible for the full software life cycle: design, development, test, deploy, operate, and support.

Ok, ok, probably you don’t have the same performance, scalability or complexity problems that Netflix had. But if you replace development team for developer we can reach the point that made me write this post.

Instead of learning superficially all technologies related to developing a software (backend, frontend, databases, UX, etc), is more important a developer that can manage a task, from design to deploy and support.

That is basically the scenario I’ve been working with in the last years. In this time I worked with specialists in their fields that was able to, thanks to their knowledge and tools, to manage all the development cycle cited in Netflix’s post.

I believe this is a is a healthier way to evolve in a software development career. That way, one can become a more responsible and complete professional, able to be a specialist and work well in teams, along with other experts. That is what more and more companies will look in the years to come.



Elton Minetto

Teacher, speaker, Principal Software Engineer @ PicPay. https://eltonminetto.dev. Google Developer Expert in Go