Original question from Quora:

Is it possible today for a single engineer to scale an app to 1 million users?

My Answer:

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, it depends on the engineer.

Engineers aren’t widgets and their skills are specialized. Scaling an application to a million users is a very specialized kind of skill set. Not every developer has it. Even many senior developers don’t.

Part of what it takes to scale an application is a good understanding of your infrastructure and what bottlenecks you are going to have in your system. The other part is tooling, but tooling doesn’t make as much difference as developers think it does.

The other part of what it takes to scale an application is really a question of what kind of application you have. A content heavy app is different to scale than an online multiplayer game. So, that must be taken into consideration.

A lot of what scaling comes down to is thoughtfulness and experience. It isn’t even about having a lot of hardware or servers.

Scaling is a skill. You build it over time.


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