How to Choose the Right Tech for Your Startup

When launching, developers struggle with the choice of a tech stack for startup project. The wrong choice can lead to many problems including loss of money, time, and project non-viability. Here are all the most important factors in choosing a technology stack.

Probably one of the most frequently asked questions on developer forums is how to choose the right development technology for the next project. Of course, there are a lot of ways of answering this question. In this article, we want to analyze the main features of the choice of tech development, as well as unobvious at first sight moments that are also important to pay attention to for developers.

Choosing the Right Tech Stack for Startup

Tech stack for startups is always going to be a hot topic. Startups are the ones who have to be pioneers because they do not have already developed technologies and materials to rely on. And then the team has to figure out which technology to choose for a particular project in the first place. Which technology is suitable for creating social networks, and which one would be best for creating Internet of Things projects, etc.

In fact, in addition to the technology itself, it is necessary to pay attention to the quality and priority indicators of the chosen programming language.

There are two types of requirements to the programming system: functional (what actions will be available to the user in the result) and non-functional (bandwidth, scalability, testing, whether it will be easy to find a developer for a particular task).

In theory, you can imagine one project written within a single language, but it is hard to imagine how maintainable this project will be.

When you are faced with the question of choosing technology for a startup, first of all, you should clearly understand how the system should behave and how you will develop it, what kind of performance you expect from this system.

No matter what technology you choose for your project, it will always be a compromise, when for the sake of one quality, you have to concede another one.

Writing Down the Requirements for a Development Technology Application

The choice of technology is influenced by the task at hand and the work environment: 

How important is it to you to have support capability? If you encounter a problem, how do you solve it? Are you ready to find solutions empirically, spend the whole day on Google search, or is it easier for you to enter a specialized community and ask your questions there? If the latter, then pay attention only to those development technologies which already have a solid base and community. 

How long will this system last? Are you going for a short-term project like a microsite or a landing page, or are you investing in something long-term and large, like a social network or a mobile game?

Did you already have experience with this technology? How aware you are of all the intricacies and peculiarities of a given programming language determines how quickly you will, essentially, cope with the project. If you haven’t worked with a particular system, are you willing to spend time on at least superficial training

What is your team like? Yes, the choice of technology also depends on the team. Whether you work alone or in a team, whether there are a lot of newcomers in the team, and what is their knowledge are really relevant.

What resources do you have? Actually, this point is related to the previous one, because it affects the developers’ skills, their knowledge, and their quantity. In addition, it is necessary to clearly understand the capabilities of the technical equipment and the financial security of the project.

The Importance of Selecting the Technology Stack in Software Development

Of course, the notion of technology stack includes not only a particular programming language but also a set of tools, specifications, frameworks, libraries, etc. Based on the final goal of the project, it is necessary to understand which of them will be useful and which will be unnecessary.

Any language implies a specific language environment. The more complex the project, the more tools must be involved in the development process.

Let’s imagine that you have the task to create a blog or a content site, then the technological stack may consist, for example, of a content management system on top of the server with Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database server, and programming language for working with CMS – PHP. Why the word “for example” is mentioned here? Because this technology is not final and in fact, developers can choose another, more convenient in a particular case.

LAMP is the world’s most popular tech stack used without any external software or data. However, besides it, there are stacks such as MEAN, MERN, MEVN, and even no-server ones.

So why do some projects choose certain technologies while others don’t? How to understand what parameters are important to consider first?

What Criteria Should You Use When Choosing Technology for a Startup

The first criterion is the functional nature of the stack

When you start developing a startup, first of all you formulate its specific goals, and then you choose a way to implement them. With the information you have, you can make the best choices that are right for your team and company.

If you’ve already decided whether it will be a cloud-based or hybrid application, you need to understand what its lifespan will be.

Then determine the volume and dynamism of the project, because traffic can be bouncing and constant, how often you will do updates.

Knowing these parameters, determine the available technology and infrastructure to be able to standardize or modify.

As an example, MEAN is better suited for small modern applications such as progressive web applications, cloud applications, or single-page applications. LAMP is better suited for large-scale applications that prioritize uptime and availability.

Also, a fun fact, no matter which stacks a developer chooses initially, dynamic changes may require switching to a different stack. Given this fact, it is necessary to select a team or be prepared to find a specialist on short notice.

Pricing and budget availability

Oddly enough, budget influences the choice of technology from the very beginning. A startup’s available funding can be either very small or obscenely large, but it is necessary to include the cost of the technology stack.

Hence whether some of the technology will be bought, or whether developers will focus on the open-source stack. By the way, free technology does not mean poor quality, and in some respects, open-source projects can benefit. But paid technologies also have an important advantage, and this advantage is round-the-clock service support.

In addition to the tools themselves, you should also weigh the developer’s salary, and it always depends on his skills, the popularity of technological specialization, and willingness to work on a specific project with certain conditions.

Already available skills in the team

When choosing a stack, it is better to rely on your own experience, knowledge, and skills. If there are none, we suggest to find developers for startup, otherwise, there are a lot of risks. With a hired team, there will already be some preferences for technology based on experience. If you are self-selecting technology, start with the one you feel comfortable with.

There are situations when you can shift the choice to the customer of the project. You need to list the pros and cons for this purpose. For example, with one technology you can launch a startup faster, because the team is familiar with it, while with another you will have to go a long way since the team must be trained or built from scratch, but it has advantages which the first one does not have. With an alternative, the customer can weigh for and against and make a decision.

An accessible ecosystem of each technology

The technology stack ecosystem is almost the most important point when choosing both a small library for small projects and a large framework. It is necessary to check the repository and how it is actively tracked by users. 

Keep track of how often releases are made, how quickly all the changes and suggestions enter the user experience. Keep track of whether there are open bugs and how quickly they are closed. 

The technology ecosystem should be lively and stable, with constant updates and well-documented.

The entry barrier 

How quickly you can grasp the technology you’ve chosen, what previous experience you or your team members already have with it. It can take a long time to re-train your team.

Flexibility and compatibility of development technologies

If you, as a startup, have not been affected by the legacy code problem, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible in the future. Examine how compatible the system can be for edits and changes in the future. Whether the technology chosen for the project can easily integrate with others. Bringing in new libraries should not be difficult.

Ability to solve pattern issues

The more the technology stack has a variety of modules and utilities for ready-made solutions, the better. When developing a startup, in any case, there will be a need to do something very quickly and preferably for free, or cheap.

Trending technology is good, but if you or your team are not willing to take risks, it is better to take a proven technology that has been around for a long time and is constantly evolving. For promising projects, it is better to take reliable technology, and for training and improving skills, you can use new products.

Securing the users

Developing a new product for business most often means working with future customer data. It is necessary to think through the security system in advance, so that the data would not leak into the network. Integration of any authorization, tracking, encryption tools must be at the highest level. You have to be sure of the tool you plan to integrate into the system.

Scaling the project

If the startup shoots better than it was supposed to at the initial stage, you may have to implement additional services and increase the workload. The architecture of the project must be uncomplicated and able to grow and scale in order to be installed effectively.

Community

Community is important for open source stacks because they don’t have 24/7 support. In case something doesn’t go according to plan, developers may need help.

Who is Qualified to Select and Apply Tech Stack

A solution architect should normally make all the architectural decisions. However, it is not unreasonable to be aware of the available technologies. What’s more, team leaders can also decide to rationally update the team’s skills in order to upgrade.

Without a thorough understanding of technology issues, you can lose control very quickly. Without someone in charge of these processes, the team will implement stacks based on self-interest, increasing security risk and complicating workflows and interactions between team members.

Often the stack abbreviation can tell a job candidate what kind of project the team will be doing. If you fall for one of these, hire bravely.

Conclusions

Each individual project is unique, and its functional requirements will be unique. You should be guided by the requirements of the project and the anticipated vector of development. Often the functional requirements do not determine the programming technology itself, but rather your experience, your environment, the organization of processes, goals, and timing of the project.

The development of a web project can be figuratively compared to the birth of a child. The processes and conditions must be closely intertwined to produce a viable output. However, launching is not the end of the matter. After its birth, the web project continues to grow and develop, requiring a concomitant change of conditions and service.

To create favorable conditions for development, developers must make the right choice among all the available technologies on the market and not make a superficial judgment. One should not grab onto the latest trends, but at the same time one should always be aware of events and changes, keep a balance of reliability, quality, and innovation.


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