What is a full stack employee?

Just as there are full-stack engineers and full-stack startups, the full-stack employee has a powerful combination of skills that make them incredibly valuable. They are adept at navigating the rapidly evolving and shifting technological landscape. They make intuitive decisions amidst information-abundance, where sparse facts mingle loosely with data-drenched opinions. Full stack employees are capable of speaking design lingo, know that using Comic Sans is criminal, and are adept at making mocks in Keynote, Sketch, or Skitch (if it comes to that). And they know the difference between UI and UX.

They can cross the aisle to talk to engineering and can make sense of algorithms, programming, and instinctively understand that scaling the backend isn’t the same as scaling the frontend. Though they may not code for production, they understand what GitHub and StackOverflow are for, and can brute force a copy-paste script to perform basic analysis on a CSV file. If they must.

They’re on the latest social apps, and know how to self-promote. Tastefully (most of the time; for the rest, there’s Snapchat). They use narrative and storytelling to involve their audience, but have watched enough three minute Kickstarter videos to know that they need to get to their point in less time than it takes to watch an Instagram video, if not a Vine. Attention is the currency of the age.

Full stack employees have an insatiable appetite for new ideas, best practices, and ways to be more productive and happy. They’re curious about the world, what makes it work, and how to make their mark on it. It’s this aspect above others that defines and separates the full stack employee from previous generations. Full stack employees can’t put blinders on once they land a job; instead they must stay up on developments in their industry and others, because they know that innovation is found at the boundaries between disciplines, not by narrowly focusing in one sphere.