Leave a comment

The conventional seams between disciplines are fraying, and the set of skills necessary to succeed are broader and more nebulous than they’ve been before. These days, you’ve gotta be a real polymath to get ahead; you’ve got to be a full-stack employee.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    about 3 years ago #

    I definitely believe most of what this article conveys about full-stack employees is correct.

    I'm curious into how companies are hiring these types of employees, and what hesitancies they may have when approaching candidates who are good at a variety of things, but not great at anything.

    P.S. For those interested in what it would mean to be a Full Stack Marketer, there was an great discussion and article featuring @morgan from back in November 2013.
    https://growthhackers.com/what-is-full-stack-marketing/

    • CM

      Chris Messina

      about 3 years ago #

      I think it's a really good question — since a FSE resume probably might look like spaghetti. That said, if the hiring process emphasizes impact (qualitative or quantitative) rather than titles, then I think both the recruiter and recruitee are moving in the right direction.

      The FSE really needs to put their experience and skills in the context of what problems they were trying to solve and how they solved them, and then show what impact their solutions had. If they can do that, then the conversation should be well grounded.

      • GG

        Giselle Gonzalez

        about 3 years ago #

        To take it a step further, they can even come prepared with issues they think they can help solve...simply by watching what the company is doing via social channels, e-mail marketing, and the design and flow of the website (UI/UX etc). I think it shows passion + how "multi-dimensional" you are if you're able to take it to that level.

        • TM

          Tom Maiaroto

          about 3 years ago #

          @giselledarlene Careful, this one can really backfire on you. When you join a startup (especially), remember that sometimes the founders might believe they know it all and if you rock the boat too hard, you can end up in trouble. Really it's not a matter of showing anyone up or proving what they do or don't know...It's being supportive, but depending on who you're working with it can really be slow going or impossible to get through and provide value.

  • SJ

    Sarah Jukes

    about 3 years ago #

    Chris nailed it.

    He covers it all - the flat org structures, the need for empathy, the blurring between professional and personal lives, the drop everything pow pows and how Slack rules all.

    Best things I've read this week. Thanks for sharing.

  • GG

    Giselle Gonzalez

    about 3 years ago #

    The best education to develop a full-stack employee is a few years at a growing startup. You're scrappy and doing (hopefully) whatever it takes to survive and grow your customer-base. Glad to see this role get more recognition as I'm sure it's easy to just put people with this type of experience in the bucket of "jack/jill of trades - master of none" which does have negative connotations.

    • CM

      Chris Messina

      about 3 years ago #

      Yeah, I think the emphasis on experience at a growing startup is key. It's in that kind of chaotic environment where you're really torn in a lot of different directions, expecting to learn on-the-job, and fill in for roles that you never prepared for. All in the name of keeping the thing afloat.

      I agree that there's a negative connotation to the jack/jill label... but hopefully with the "full stack developer" et al making the rounds, it creates a context for understanding how work, in general, is changing.

      • TM

        Tom Maiaroto

        about 3 years ago #

        It's not "all trades" though. We're talking about startups and tech/web products. We aren't saying "be a programmer AND a doctor" we're just saying, "see a product built all the way through from concept to execution" ... Execution requires many roles, easily delegated for speed/scale, but it's all still one trade as far as I'm concerned.

  • HW

    Hannah Wright

    about 3 years ago #

    Great post. Hiring full stack employees saves both time and money in the long run—which is certainly ideal for startups.

    It seems like everyday a marketer (often recent grads) are wondering how to separate themselves from other candidates.

    The best thing you could possibly do as a marketer is improve your technical skill set in order to rely less on other departments down the road.

    There are so many online courses out there that are easily accessible (Code4Startup, SQL for Marketers by @justinmares and many others). Education shouldn't stop after school.

    • AC

      Aurelie Chazal

      about 3 years ago #

      I completely agree with you on this one. If I had 1 piece of advice to give future marketers it would be to acquire few coding or design skills. It can be really frustrating to rely on the tech team every-time you want to set up something a little more complex on the tech side.

    • AP

      Ankit Prakash

      about 3 years ago #

      I'm from non-programming background and 4 years back when I left college, I committed to learn programming and basics of design, human psychology. Then followed my knowledge of statistics from education now help me to pickup and execute everything in marketing very fast.
      And, if you are destined to become entrepreneur, you will also need to add finance and under-standing of human behaviour.
      These days and coming, Marketing will be nothing without, programming skills and design skills.

    • GG

      Giselle Gonzalez

      about 3 years ago #

      I fully agree! I'd say the best education I received was helping different startups during the first few years of their existence.

  • BR

    Brandon R

    about 3 years ago #

    Definitely can relate to this article, but I find it's tough to find an employer that can mutually appreciate and understand the benefit of this kind of worker (outside of the bay area).

    • CM

      Chris Messina

      about 3 years ago #

      Yeah, it's definitely something that I think managers and higher-ups need to be trained about. This is a new phenomenon, and some businesses just aren't setup to handle these kinds of workers yet.

      • MS

        Massimo Sgrelli

        about 3 years ago #

        Outside the Valley these workers are generally entrepreneurs busy to create their companies. Because of the Bay Area scaling needs, they can have a complete new set of opportunities there.

        • JY

          James York

          about 3 years ago #

          Completely agree. It's a shame for non-valley companies though as they're losing out on talent that could otherwise be applied to their own interests.

    • JY

      James York

      about 3 years ago #

      I've encountered this problem exactly - having a finger in every pot in a growing startup is an amazing learning experience and invaluable for the business if you can swing it, but from the employee's side, managers often struggle to figure out what to do with you and can often end up pigeonholing you if you stick around in one area for too long - for me it was always sales, despite having successfully tackled operations, product dev, UI design, marketing and management of other team members.

      Its a tough rope to walk for all involved and I think the idea of a identifying these types of employees as a "junior" entrepreneur is fantastic, as in my journey I would say that's definitely how it played out as I ended up going from one startup to another, moving up the ranks very quickly until I was finally at the point, just recently, where I was ready to venture out on my own taking my hard won experience and applying it to my own endeavours.

      The FSE definition can definitely apply to any employee in any area of the business, but for me I always saw things from the "business development" standpoint. Having found the FSE concept to not be well understood yet in the industry, I ended up writing a post about just this sort of cross-functional approach as well: ideasand.info/whats-biz-dev

      So, you can imagine I was thrilled to see your medium article @chrismessina

  • SR

    Simon Robinson

    about 3 years ago #

    Great article. I think I've finally found a phrase to describe myself rather than Jack of all trades

  • CD

    Chris Dover

    about 3 years ago #

    I've been thinking about the term full-stack marketers, but this makes even more sense.

  • AP

    Ankit Prakash

    about 3 years ago #

    Chris is are absolutely right about Full Stack Employee. But in my opinion, when some one realizes they have become full stack employees, they also become a right person to get into entrepreneurship.
    These always remain a gap between the expectation and supply between such employee and company. In order to fulfil the need of both, company and candidates must be very clear with their exceptions.
    Also, with the skills of Full Stack Employee, sometime you burnout very fast, when right resources are not provided.

  • JS

    John Saddington

    about 3 years ago #

    Love that you've put words around this idea. Agree 110%.

  • TM

    Tom Maiaroto

    about 3 years ago #

    Great article, but I'm now sure how great it is to be a full stack employee these days (used to be awesome). I'm finding it quite difficult to find a new job here. I think Chris has a really good point - resumes can look like spaghetti. Or, what can also happen is people like you having a broad skill set, but then they still shove you in a corner and don't utilize all of those skills. So your resume can also read as "back-end" engineer (like mine kinda does despite the fact I went to a top art school for graphic design!).

    I find that in almost every case managers don't know what to do with an employee that has a broad skill set because companies like to departmentalize and this industry has just changed over the years. Moreover, you likely don't have a manager with the same kind of skill set so they're at a loss. What you end up doing is bouncing back and forth between many managers and you end up having a bunch of bosses and it gets awkward. Conflict can even ensue because of communication issues between managers.

    "Front-end" and "back-end" really? We didn't have dedicated roles for this 10 years ago, you had to do it all yourself. The design was still separate, but I never separated it in my mind. It's all design to me. I visually think about how the software architecture and technology works. This microservice talking to this database doing that thing next, etc. It's design and communication to me. All the same.

    The problem is finding a job where you can actually use all of those skills. Trust me, it's very difficult. The only real solution I've ever seen work (for me anyway) is to take on contract work or do your own startup.

    • TM

      Tom Maiaroto

      about 3 years ago #

      And marketing does play a role here as well. I'm not just talking about front-end/back-end and design.

  • EO

    Erin O'Bannon

    about 3 years ago #

    I agree that the "full stack employee" is becoming more valuable for companies. I tried to get a grasp of everything from the start of my career so that I could get a better understanding of what I really enjoyed and go "deeper" into that.

    For those wondering how to appeal to hiring managers and recruiters with the spaghetti resume, I would suggest tailoring your experience based on the value it brings to them. You would do the same even if you had a narrower focus.

  • MS

    Massimo Sgrelli

    about 3 years ago #

    Entrepreneurship ─ My 2 cents about FTE missing ingredient here http://feedthefounders.nurtureventure.com/post/116381627363/how-to-recognize-a-full-stack-employee

  • JE

    jonah engler

    about 3 years ago #

    My friends like working as a front end developer more than backend

  • DG

    Dr. Gil Lederman

    about 3 years ago #

    I have agree with some of the points you came across here. However I think it's all about what you love to do.

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
31
31