Some thoughts about "The Great Divide"

I've read "The Great Divide", and it resonated with me. I also feel an evergrowing divide between Javascript engineers (people with a skillset revolving around Javascript) and UX engineers (people who are more interested in HTML, CSS, styling, accessibility and design).

CSS Tricks is a blog whose main audience is designers and UX engineers, so the article talks a lot about the second group, and references other blog posts from that "faction". Hovewer I agree: I am firmly in the first group, but I feel I should apply to Javascript Engineer positions, not to frontend developer positions.

Let's go back to the article. The main points of the article are: * There is a divide between these two skillsets, and both are getting bigger and more complex * People cannot feasibly learn both, so the term frontend developer should be replaced with more specific role terms * In the same way fullstack developers are not really fullstack, companies looking for frontend developers are not finding what they're looking for.

The divide between the two skillset is growing, and growing fast. As websites are getting more complex and become web applications, using the browser as their own platform, engineers created their own tools to overcome and keep this complexity at manageable levels. However, users are also mobile, and access the same applications from different devices: UX engineers must now create responsive designs, and use the new CSS tecniques and tools that browser developers create to help them.

People can't feasibly learn everything, but the industry expects them to: project managers and recruiters offer job offers for a generic role of frontend developer, where frontend is just the client-facing part of the application. It may have been an OK definition some time ago, but times have changed and full-blown applications are now there, in the client-facing part. New roles should be requested instead: Javascript engineers and UX engineers. People are already specializing, but the industry still looks for people that can do both, so they can be used interchangeably. Unfortunately, such people are quite rare.

The industry is doing the same error with the so-called full-stack developers. Brad Frost says that he translates that word to programmers who can do frontend code because they have to and it's easy. The reality is that it's getting harder and harder, and some people are better at either Javascript or HTML/CSS. There is this trend, among clients and project managers, to consider frontend development as easy because it's more artsy and cute. This attitude may make them think they can just allocate whatever junior dev/intern they can find because it's "easy" and "juniors should do the easy stuff". It is a wrong attitude -if not even a dangerous one!-, for the wrong reasons.

The article also talks about job descriptions, and how they should be more precise (no, not "vulnerable". please. let's not use this kind of emotional words where we don't need them). I want to add my own experience. Look at this list of requirements, coming from a real job offer on Linkedin from 2 years ago:

  • Passion and Experience in building large scale web applications
  • Expert knowledge of Javascript
  • Ideally knowledge of ReactJS
  • Knowledge of Angular / VueJS also useful
  • Experience in automation with Gulp

Now, I want to wonder the damn why the take-home was about "creating a small page starting from a reference screenshot". That's the other side of the problem. I can't write CSS for the life of me. Obviously, I tanked the interview. It's my fault, we agree, but why am I expected to write CSS when the job description does not even mention CSS?

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