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Exploring Fullstack Development with Jonnie Barnes and Apostolis Apostolidis: What is Fullstack Development?

Fullstack Development with Jonnie Barnes and Apostolis Apostolodis from Cinch

In our final episode of the Trusted Tech Talks miniseries "Do Fullstack Developers Really Exist?", we invited Jonnie Barnes and Apostolis Apostolodis from Cinch to discuss all things Development and Engineering, and to try and get a final answer to that titular question: Do Fullstack Developers Really Exist? 

You can read the brief recap, or catch the full episode on Spotify and YouTube below.

Do Fullstack Developers Really Exist?

Fullstack development is a highly emotionally charged word which means different things to different people. In terms of working across different sets of technology, Jonnie says it's certainly possible, although they prefer to use the term T-Shaped Developer because they acknowledge that these Fullstack Developers are more likely to specialise in one area, whilst being able and comfortable to branch out into other areas, despite not being as literate in those other areas. 

Toli suggests that the problematic term is not Fullstack, but rather 'Developer' as it is too restrictive. Instead he ops for the term 'Engineer' as this encompasses all aspects of the role, including Cloud Engineering, which is becoming more and more prevalent across the industry. 

What are the advantages of being a Fullstack Engineer?

Fullstack Engineers understand the full project or product and can therefore identify priorities and focus on what matters. Fullstack Engineers have a great attitude to learning and will be able to, and want to, continuously pick up new skills and tools. 

What are the advantages of being a Specialist Engineer?

Specialist Engineers who focuses solely on one area of technology (e.g. frontend or backend) can share their knowledge of that specialism with others and will also be able to identify and address more complex issues, and will be able to respond quicker with effective solutions, often even before an error has arisen. 

Future of Engineering: what will future software engineers look like?

There will be a bigger focus on cognitive load. Cognitive load is a concept from cognitive psychology, originally developed by John Sweller, that is generally discussed in relation to learning. It is a measure of the amount of effort being used in the working memory. Basically, producing maintainable software depends on readable code, and readable code depends on controlling cognitive load. So engineering teams will likely start to recognise this more.

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