13 MIN READ

How to hire freelance Full-stack developers in 2024

Updated on May 21, 2024
Platforms to find talented Full-stack developers
Toptal

What we liked the most:

  • 98% Hiring Success
  • Fast Matching within 48 hours
  • Risk-Free Trial for up to 5 Days
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Upwork

What we liked the most:

  • Secure payments
  • Fixed-price protection
  • Expert-Vetted program
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Kelly Wilson
Written by Kelly Wilson

Strategist and entrepreneur, with experience in hiring developers across various industries. Kelly has established herself as a trusted expert in identifying and recruiting top tech talent. She shares advanced tips on how to identify the right talent, create hiring strategies, develop your tech teams and much more.

Expertise: IT Recruiting, Tech, Marketing

Take your web development to the next level with the right team of Full-stack developers. Our guide to hiring Full-stack developers provides a list of top recommended talent platforms to help you find the perfect fit for your organization's needs.

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Here are the top 5 sites to hire freelance Full-stack developers:

Based on our research among online hiring platforms

1. Toptal

Toptal is a professional talent matching service, initially created with tech talent in mind. Although it has expanded its pool of talent to include designers and finance experts, the company's specialty is its developer vertical. If you want to be sure that a front-end developer is up to the job, hiring a developer from Toptal is likely your best option.

Why? Toptal’s trademark system for vetting talent allows for only the best candidates to become a part of their community. According to Toptal, only 3% of applicants make it through their battery of technical tests and their comprehensive vetting process.

With Toptal, you'll find full-stack developers with years of experience and knowledge of a wide variety of programming languages. Toptal coders can work quickly on your web application and collaborate with your in-house development team.

Key points:

  • Enjoy a risk-free trial for up to 5 days.
  • Completed over 60,000 projects for 25K+ satisfied clients.
  • Trustpilot rating of 4.8 out of 5.

2. Upwork

Upwork is a large developer marketplace consisting of all sorts of contractors. Employers can easily search profiles, check work history, comments, and reviews for freelancers. Once the project gets going, employers can use a unified workspace to collaborate and use Upwork’s secure payment system.

Upwork is a general freelance marketplace, but you can also find tech talent through them as well. Full-stack developers are available to hire through this network, and you’ll be able to vet and interview them yourself.

Key points:

  • Developers earn visible talent badges with positive feedback from clients.
  • Let free-to-use Talent Specialists find candidates who successfully finished similar jobs.
  • Expert-Vetted developers are the top 1% on Upwork’s platform.

3. X-Team

X-Team matches you with qualified Full-Stack developers who receive mentorship and educational resources just for being a part of X-Team. Like Toptal and Gun.io, they do the heavy lifting of hiring, so you won't be saddled with having to rifle through resumes or preparing personalized interview scripts.

Key points:

  • Meet project demands by scaling your team up or down quickly.
  • X-Team vetting approves less than 1% of the developers who apply.
  • You can contact your dedicated account manager anytime.

4. Hired

Hired helps employers find software engineers and full-stack developers, including those with front-end and back-end skill sets. On Hired, you can use their pipeline to find custom matches. Create a company profile, search for candidates using their search algorithm (which can eliminate gender and racial identifiers for fairer hiring), and quickly request interviews with candidates.

Why use Hired? It's great for finding specialized full-stack, back-end, and front-end developers who are actively searching for new opportunities, have relevant experience (as most candidates on Hired have at least two years of experience), and who might even be in your area.

Key points:

  • Hired’s annual unlimited hiring plan gives you a dedicated account manager.
  • Viewing work preferences, desired salaries, and skill assessments narrows your search.
  • Optional technical sourcing matches you with qualified candidates.

5. Gigster

Gigster is a premium recruiting platform that matches technical talent with high-priority projects. You can assemble larger teams through Gigster, including a project management team member that can help lead the project and act as a liaison between Gigster’s team and your company. Their freelancers have even worked with esteemed institutions like Google, Microsoft, Y Combinator, and Stanford University so you can make sure your project will be handled with the utmost care.

Key points:

  • Gigster’s fully managed approach addresses project risk, completion, and budget concerns.
  • Work on your project usually begins within two weeks.
  • Gigster’s pricing scale considers your project’s scope, size, and budget.
Job Market Trends
Number of job openings for Full-stack developers in the United States
Share of remote jobs for Full-stack developers

21.74%

Data sources: Indeed.com, GitHub

Guide to hiring great freelance Full-stack developers

Full stack developers are a vital component of any modern software development team, possessing the necessary skills to build both the front-end and back-end components of a web application. With the increasing demand for digital solutions across various industries, the need for full stack developers has risen sharply. Many companies are opting to hire freelance full stack developers as a way to gain access to their expertise without incurring the costs associated with hiring a full-time employee.

This article will delve into the advantages of hiring freelance full stack developers, the qualities to seek in potential candidates, and the challenges that may arise in the hiring process. We will also provide strategies for effectively managing freelance full stack developers, ensuring optimal collaboration and output. Finally, we will examine the future of the freelance full stack developer market, analyzing the potential impact on the broader tech industry.

What is Full-Stack development?

Bootcamp defines full-stack as a technology that refers to the entire depth of a computer system application, and full-stack developers as programmers who straddle two separate web development domains: the front end and the back end. The front end includes everything that a client, or site viewer, can see and interact with.

Simply put, full-stack development refers to the development of both front-end (client-side) and back-end (server-side) portions of any software product or web application.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, full-stack developers will see job growth of 27 percent by 2024. From small firms to large enterprises, every business is escalating its presence online and wishes to acquire the digital ground for themselves and create a brand name for themselves.

And this has led to an increasing requirement of an all-rounder role of a full stack developer– an amalgamation of the roles of a front-end developer and back-end developer. From finance to healthcare to utilities, every sector works online with an app that requires front-end development and a CMS system that requires considerable server-side work thus leading to the inevitable rise in the need to hire full-stack developers.

Full-stack developers have a gamut of programming and development skillsets that enables them to work on projects that would otherwise need several types of developers. This has resulted in employers allocating budgets to hire full-stack developers that helps to simplify projects.

Hiring a full-stack developer offers better productivity to employers. Full-stack developers know multiple technologies from adding images to a web page to creating a complex database. This gives them an edge over other developers as it enables them to make technical decisions faster and see the big picture.

The demand for full-stack developers is at an all-time high. The other primary reason why full-stack developers are growing in popularity is due to the high salaries they command. A single full-stack developer’s versatility means they can perform the work of 2 or 3 average programmers alone, which contributes to big savings for the company.

Full-stack development for businesses
What is full-stack development used for?Building and managing both the front-end (user interface) and back-end (server-side) of web applications, providing complete solutions.
Advantages:Versatility and Flexibility, Efficient Communication and Collaboration, Ability to Work on End-to-End Development
Disadvantages:High Skill and Knowledge Requirements, Increased Workload and Time Management, Potentially Limited Expertise in Specialized Areas
Related programming languages:HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for front-end, and Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, and SQL for back-end development.
Freelancers average hourly rate:$50 to $150 per hour, depending on factors such as skill lever, experience, location and complexity of the project.
Where to hire?To hire full stack developers, consider exploring freelance marketplaces, job boards, online communities and forums related to web development, professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and industry-specific job portals that focus on the tech industry.

Companies that hire full-stack developers

Most food delivery apps, banking services apps, blog sites, eCommerce websites, etc. use full-stack developers to build their front-end client-side and complex content management system for database and server-side programming.

Leading companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Amazon, WordPress, and more hire full-stack developers and rely on their expertise to build and maintain their products.

Advantages and challenges of full-stack development for businesses

Advantages:

  1. Cost-Effective: Hiring a dedicated full-stack developer who does the job of both a front-end developer and a different back-end developer can only save costs.

  1. Fast and Quality Delivery: Skilled full-stack web developers are capable of developing products compliant with online safety standards and regulations because their skill sets and expertise are always up to date.

  1. Flexibility: A full-stack programmer offers a lot of flexibility because he knows both the front-end side and the back-end side, this eliminates any misunderstandings when it comes to implementation of code.

Challenges:

  1. Misaligned Expectations: Recruiters and hiring managers often think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring full-stack developers, but this usually ends in the misalignment of talent.

  1. Difficulties in Proctoring Full-Stack Candidates’ Abilities: Full-stack development encompasses the full spectrum of software development and therefore manual proctoring challenges have forced many recruiters to adopt less-effective modes of assessments.

What does a full-stack developer do?

A Full Stack Developer is someone who works with the server-side or Back End of an application as well as the Front End, or client-side. Full Stack Developers usually have skills in a wide variety of coding niches, from databases to graphic design and UI/UX management.

Full Stack Developers are specialists and companies of scales and sizes are witnessing high demand in the hiring of these professionals. 2021 saw the MEAN (MongoDB, Express. js, AngularJS, and Node. js) as one of the most popular tech stacks.

How to hire a great full-stack developer?

While Toptal is a great platform to hire skilled, proven full-stack developers, many other platforms like Upwork, Arc, Fiverr, Freelance.com, Guru, etc. make for promising alternatives.

Essentially, there are three different options for hiring a full-stack developer. Hiring a full-time full-stack developer is wise if you are building an in-house web app or digital product that will require constant updates. Hiring full-time full-stack specialized developers costs more than the rest of the options. Hiring part-time full-stack developers is wise when you do not require a dedicated person to build or maintain the product. Hiring freelance full-stack developers is best suited when you need an expert programmer for a particular project or for a temporary basis. Freelance full-stack developers, although sometimes more expensive, do offer the advantage of cost-efficiency.

How much would it cost to hire a full-stack developer

According to Arc, Full-stack developer hourly rates range from $61-80 per hour (on average), but freelancing rates will vary wildly depending on location, experience, and engagement duration. Interestingly, Full Stack Developers on Upwork cost $16–$35/hr. Another research from StackOverFlow shows an average salary is rounding $66,372.

Essential skills required as a full-stack developer

According to John Terra, Technical Content Editor at PC Connection, Inc.“It takes a lot of experience to become a full-stack developer. Some people might argue that you need a college degree in computer science or a related field. However, there are many developers who have become extremely successful without a four-year college education.”

Here are the skills or requirements to look for before hiring a Full-Stack developer:

  • Full-Stack developers should master the essentials of front-end technologies like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript. Experience or knowledge of third-party libraries like jQuery, LESS, Angular, and ReactJS is helpful too.
  • Full-Stack developers should be experienced at least one server-side programming language like Java, Python, Ruby, .Net, etc.
  • Knowledge of various DBMS technologies is another prerequisite for a Full-Stack developer. Knowledge of MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle, SQL Server and caching mechanisms like varnish, Memcached, Redis is a plus.
  • Full-Stack web developers should know the principle of basic prototype design and UI /UX design.
  • Exposure to handling Apache or Nginx servers is desirable. Additionally, a background in Linux helps tremendously.
  • Full-Stack developers should have experience in managing version control systems like Git helps to understand how to get the latest code, update parts of the code, make changes in other developers’ code without breaking things.
  • Knowledge of web services or API is also important for Full-Stack developers. Knowledge of REST and SOAP services is a plus.
  • Full-Stack developers should be able to: write quality unit tests; have a complete understanding of automated processes for testing, documenting, and deploying solutions at scale; a staunch eye for security concerns is important; knowledge of Algorithms and data structures.

Choosing the right site to hire full-stack developers

Hiring the best full-stack developers on the market isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. Navigating the nuances of assessing a full stack developer’s skills, needs, and style can seem impossible, even. That’s perfectly fine, too. There are plenty of sites that can help you.

If you lack the time and the resources to vet and interview full-stack web developers, you may want to consider a professional matching service like Toptal, Gigster, or Hired. If you’re looking for experienced and educated developers, then Toptal is likely your best bet.

If expediency is a priority for your software development, you may want to consider utilizing a large freelance marketplace. There is less of a commitment and a lower cost to doing business through marketplaces. If you’re on a tight budget, these sites can act as a wonderful alternative to premium marketplaces and services.

Companies can also find leads by tapping into large developer communities like Stack Overflow and GitHub. Talented full-stack developers often use these sites to stay connected with other developers and tech companies. Using their job boards can help you find dedicated full-stack developers.

Job boards, marketplaces, and matching services all have their uses. Which site will best serve you will depend on your specific situation.

Top 3 freelance talent platforms
Freelance PlatformTrustpilot scoreKey pointVettingGuaranteeTalent statusRate & Share
1Toptal4.8High-profile clientsTop 3% Talent. Rigorous VettingPay only if satisfiedFreelancersYes
2X-Team4.8High-performing, on-demand teams of developersYesN/AFreelancersYes
3Upwork3.9Large freelancer marketplaceAdditional Expert-Vetted programPayment protectionFreelancersYes

Ultimately, which sites you employ depends on a multitude of factors, such as:

  • How quickly you need to hire a developer (i.e. your timeline)
  • What is the state of your back-end development? Your front-end development?
  • How much experience you have hiring developers
  • The state of your tech stack: what types of relational databases are you employing, which back-end languages do you need help with, and what other coding tools do you have available
  • Whether or not you’re equipped to test technical skills
  • The type of web development project. Are you building an MVP or need a full-stack engineers to complete a complex project?
  • How many developers you need to bring on
  • What level of experience those developers need
  • Whether or not you’re open to remote workers
  • What your budget constraints are
  • Your understanding of the development process
  • How important quality is to full-stack development project(s)

Hiring Full-stack developers - FAQ

What skills are required for full stack developer?
Full stack developer skills include understanding the front-end interfaces, several development languages, their frameworks, database interactions, API calls, design capabilities, testing, and version control.
How much do freelance full stack developers make?

Rates will depend on skills, locations, and the time demands of the project. Based on data culled from their sites, Codementor reports web developers earn an average hourly range of $61-80. Ziprecruiter indicates $25-43. Hire top full-stack developers for your next project. 

What languages should a full stack developer know?

Full-stack developers need to know a mix of front-end, back-end, and database applications.

  • Front-end languages include HTML5, CSS, AngularJS, JavaScript, and React.
  • Important back-end technologies to know include PHP, Ruby on Rails, Python, Node, and Laravel.
  • Database technologies to know include SQL, Apache, NGINX, and MongoDB to name a few.
What does it mean to be full-stack?

Full-stack developers have a broad range of web development and engineering skills and can be delegated the project with the full confidence of the product manager and team. They know how to handle the full load of databases, servers, engineering and client needs. Learn more about full-stack developers.

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