re: Is front-end development having an identity crisis? VIEW POST


I wouldn't say exactly having an identity crisis, but the barrier to entry has certainly gone up. I'm sure when the web was still in its infancy, you could have a career with just HTML & CSS, but as more people get into it, the bigger competition gets, the more people evolve. Competition leads to innovation, right?

We're still doing the user interface bits of it all, but not only can we put together a design, we can also make it interactive - heck, we can make the whole thing run only on the front-end by only communicating with back-end API's for data exchange. There's some seriously cool stuff you can do as a front-end developer now that you couldn't back then. This isn't a bad thing. The job is ever-evolving and so should developers be.


I do agree with you and I am myself a big advocate of continual development and learning. The way I see it there is an opportunity to branch into either building really good interactive experiences, or you could branch into building the full-stack. So yes for sure you can't just stick to HTML and CSS (although perhaps this is more a web admin as opposed to a FED).

A recruiter recently told me that "React only really started picking up at the beginning of this year", this of course in relation to South Africa, but there seems to be an expectation to know React really well so it becomes difficult to get into that space.

To me the big thing is that we have to start calling things for what they are. I consider myself a full-stack developer but I am finding it hard to get into positions that are considered "front-end development" because of, as you mentioned, the barrier to entry. The crux of it is: let's not call it front-end development but let's call it by what it is (which could be web engineering, web developer, full-stack developer).

This might also be a reflection of the industry in my country where a lot of organisations are recruiting on an international standard whereas the industry itself has a lot yet to learn.

Thanks for reading bud!


I'm also a full-stack developer coming from years of PHP background and unfortunately there aren't many full-stack positions, so I have to pick between front-end or back-end (currently am at front-end). The problem with being full-stack is that full-stacks usually are (and I certainly am) a jack of all trades, master of none type of developers, so I'm always a step or two behind just pure front-end developers.

It's cool you mention React, which is something I just very recently started experimenting with to keep myself in the loop of things (So far, personally, prefer Vue.js).

I don't think one can treat our jobs as merely jobs, they are more like lifestyle choices, because in order to do what we do and keep up with the fast pace of change in our industry we can't just clock out at 5 and then not think about work - more often than not, we need to experiment with new stuff at home, if we can't at work, because otherwise we become obsolete and soon find ourselves in the unemployment line.

As far as title goes, if anybody asks, I'm a software engineer. Great post by the way, I love this topic.

You sound like someone I'd enjoy working with! Clear and succinct (and I happen to agree with all of it, including the quality of the OP).

To quote a Nicolas Cage skit; "That's high praise".

The full phrase is "A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one"

As a full-stack developer myself, I've found this to be very true. Sure, I might not know every front-end framework inside out, but I've got knowledge elsewhere that someone who's only ever focused on the front-end won't have.

Yes, but tell that to the job market. Apparently, at least in EU, it's very trendy to pay full-stacks less money than those who are specialized in either front-end or back-end only. It's unfortunate.

Because the businesses wanting "full stacks" are cheap and view thier tech as an overhead/commodity. For some reason people are willing to work for them. If I am building the back end I would laugh and walk off if you started going on about me touching the front end. It's like hiring a data scientist and then forcing them to do the data engineering work also. Rediculous and hoaky.

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