As a frontend developer, I've always found it difficult to draw the line between what is considered to be frontend and backend development. Apparently I'm not alone in this!
My first job in a digital agency involved me working with HTML, Sass, and Coffeescript to build websites that match as closely as possible to the designs provided by the design team. In addition to this, I would work with Ruby on Rails, which our custom CMS was built on, to pull through data into the views.
I had a great mentor in that job, who taught me so much about Sass and code organisation, which I'm still very passionate about today (I can't thank you enough Simon!). As a junior I was thrown in at the deep end, and for me it was the best way to learn.
In my mind, this was a frontend developer's role, and it felt clearly defined at the time.
Things have changed a lot since then, and now our frontends work with the CMS and C# Razor markup, as well as React and Vue when required. But it seems that since frontend frameworks have gained more popularity, the definition of what a frontend developer actually does has become even more blurry.
Other people can sometimes struggle to know which tasks are frontend and which are backend. Sometimes I feel as though people don't entirely realise the amount of work that is involved in frontend development.
We're in a sort of hybrid role that works between designers and backend developers to make sure your website looks awesome and performs well.
It also becomes difficult when recruiting new frontend developers. As a company, we pride ourselves on building websites that match our designs as closely as possible. People will literally tell me if an icon is a few pixels out. And I know what you're thinking, but that's not a bad thing. It has made me better at my job and the smallest changes like that can have a massive effect on the final product. Everyone in the company knows this. It's a team effort and it's constructive. No one takes it personally. Everybody cares deeply about what we're creating.
The questions I have for the dev community are:
- Does anyone else struggle with this, or is it just me? 😁
- As a frontend developer, what do you consider your role to be? How would you define it?
- Do you feel that the title 'frontend developer' is appropriate for the vast amount of skillsets it covers?
- Have you had similar experiences in terms of recruitment, and finding someone with the same expectations in the role?
I think it's an interesting discussion and I have heard of instances where frontend developers feel under-appreciated because people "don't really know what they do". Also for the sheer amount of skills they are expected to know, in comparison with backend development.
What are your thoughts on this?