What is a front-end developer
I'm an old school developer. The first website I made dates back to 1995 when a friend and I built our school's first website for independent study credit.
The web has come a long way from those early days but with all the good has come to, some separation and arguments that never seem to end. The latest one seems to be about the role of a front-end developer and what is front-end development as a discipline.
The rest of the post will work on the following assumptions:
- CSS Knowledge should not be tied to frameworks or depend on forward-looking technologies
Over the years the job of creating web content has become more and more specialized. It's not enough to know the basics anymore but we've added piles of stuff that may or may not be strictly front end to the mix.
I think that the first thing we need to do as front end developers is to create a basic set of competencies that we all agree front-end developers should have... I know it's opening a can of works in wanting all to agree what are the core competencies for the front end but I think it essential that we all "play from the same playbook".
I did a search on Indeed.com for the words "front end developer" and was somewhat surprised at the specificity of what most of these jobs were looking for in a front end person and also how little some of it has to do with the crafting of a web application front-end.
I would also like to see common-sense and realistic expectations of experience based on how old and/or complex a given framework is? How do recruiters, and the people who tell HR what they need for a given position, expect to get quality applicants if they want a React developer with 7 years of experience (in a framework that has been publically available for 6)?
Where do we draw the line? #
But that begs two questions:
One of the comments in Chris' article that called my attention was Steven Davis':
But along with those questions comes concern about the community and how we're onboarding new people ass front-end developers and what do we expect from them.
How do we move forward as a community? #
In 2012 Rebeca Murphey wrote A baseline for front-end developers as a minimum of what people should know to work in front-end development at the time it was written.
I went back to the article and was surprised at how well it holds up 7 years later; the tools may have changed but the sentiment that we should all have a common base to start the conversation definitely has not.
We should all come to an agreement on what do we want the basics to be. What are the basics that someone should know for a front-end developer position?
I have opinions and have written about them elsewhere. But I'm one voice and one opinion would love to hear more about what other people think and how can we build a dialogue about this.
Links and resources #
- Shoptalk podcast How to be a front-end developer series: episodes 331 - 338
- The Great Divide
- What makes a good front-end developer?
- Is front-end development having an identity crisis?
- Job description tweet
- How Frontend Developers Can Help To Bridge The Gap Between Designers And Developers