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May 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm #170049
As a front-end developer I’ve felt the pain of my craft not being valued. CSS needs to be rewritten? Yeah right, management doesn’t care. I talked to another developer and it was the same deal. Their craft wasn’t valued. They had little say as to what should be done. Is this a pretty universal thing? What sucks about your job?May 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm #170064
I’m a freelancer and I would say that my craft is very valued. I’m primarily a front-end dev but I enjoy back-end technology and I do a fair bit of PHP and Python coding. I’m starting to get into NodeJS as well. I also do some dev ops stuff like configuring Linux VPS setups and stuff like that (Nginx/Apache configs, .htaccess stuff, light databasing work, system updates etc). That being said, in my experience… front end devs are way more valued. Why? People absolutely love eye candy, they always will and that will never change. Ever.
All of my clients care far less about what the site does or how it works. They pretty much only care about how it looks. Luckily, I’m pretty good at CSS and getting better at JS everyday.
Don’t feel undervalued. I think you’re just on a crappy team. Maybe it’s time to leave and go elsewhere.May 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm #170070
Yeah dude, I second @TheDoc (and myself I guess). I read stories like this on /r/webdev and some bosses just don’t get it. They think they are the talent, they are the brains, you are just a little code slave. Far from it. Without people like you… the company doesn’t even exist. Literally. No one can operate purely on a brick and mortar level anymore. Digital presence is so important that it’s the closest thing to a land grab this country has seen since the Homesteading Act.
I’d seriously suggest you start curating your resume or getting some freelance clients or both. There’s probably never been a better time to be a front-end dev. There’s an API/Framework for everything now. I see a HUGE shift away from native apps and into pure web/cloud solutions. Especially with new technologies like IBM’s elastic storage and Google Fiber providing OBSCENE amounts of bandwidth. And double-especially because of MASS fragmentation of the electronics industry. We now have Android, iOS, Windows Phones, Blackberry is trying to mount a comeback, Ubuntu is releasing a pure Linux phone and I’m sure there will be more to come. Plus, people are starting to build embedded Linux devices everywhere… which is the start of the “internet of things” and sensor sectors.
I think there will be a mass exodus from the App Store and Google Play to HTML5 + CSS + JS + Node/Python/PHP solutions. I think “write once, deploy everywhere” is just around the corner. Take your skills and go capitalize on that. It’s going to be a gold rush. You don’t need to be under-appreciated. The most valuable asset you have is your time. Don’t waste it on some d-bag.May 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm #170072
@Joe_Temp UPDATED: If you only did only the semantic structure, slicing and conforming the CSS with the design, and perhaps jQuery for some animation here and form validation there would you have the same opinion, basically pixel-pushing? Or is where you stand because of the fact that you’ve done more of the client side engineering part of things, like client-side applications? Seems like that’s where you are coming from, but I wanted to confirm this. Also have you ever been an employee? Did the value of your craft change when you started freelancing?
@TheDoc UPDATED: Are you freelancing as well? If so, what was the difference in perceived value between that and when you were an employee (if ever)? What types of skills are you putting into use? What takes up most of your time?May 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm #170075
I think @TheDoc is legitimately employed :)
I want to be clear that the VAST majority of what I do is front-end. Most of my clients already have back-end engineers that I coordinate with. I do my best to gain their respect… whether or not I do… who knows? But I will tell you this much: My front end bling is what sells. This is why they hire me.
That being said, I do most of my client side stuff on personal projects. I have a startup I’ve been working on for awhile… so that’s a nice change of pace in the evenings.
No. I’ve never been an employee of a web dev shop. As a matter of fact, I’ve largely been self-employed for the past few years and just this last year started freelancing as a developer. Before that I was doing other things on my own.
So… I can’t really speak to office dynamics. But, I’m pretty sure @TheDoc has a “proper” job and like he said… he gets respect.
I’d leave if I were you. It’s surprisingly easy to get clients.May 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm #170076
If you only did only the semantic structure, slicing
Maybe that’s why they don’t respect you… they’re still SLICING??! WTF?!
I didn’t open Photoshop for literally 3 months… so I canceled creative cloud. I probably would feel different because my clients give me a lot of freedom. Now, part of that is asserting yourself as the expert. But, I get to use WHATEVER frameworks I want, whatever text editor I want, whatever OS I want, whatever version control I want, etc. I get to design in-browser the way I want to and my designs always stick. I rarely do revamped designs.
So… I do have that level of creative freedom that makes it fun.May 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm #170079
@Joe_Temp Could you define the types of front-end work you’re doing? For someone who’s been employed for some time by the same company, it’s not that easy to just leave to many. You mentioned it’s surprisingly easy to get clients, what would you recommend for those that have that type of hesitation? There’s a lot of competition out there, anything you’d recommend to those that want to get out of a crappy company that’ll help them land a client?
@TheDoc That’s great! What kinds of work do you do? Apart from creating cross-browser compatible designs are there other things that you are tasked to do? You mentioned you left the freelance arena, what about the company made you stay? Was it more than just pushing you and giving you freedom? Did you know these things BEFORE being employed or AFTER?May 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm #170081
@JoshWhite What types of web companies are we talking about here? Interactive Agencies?
You mention looking for outliers that value the work? Any tips on what to look out for?May 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm #170084
So, I specialize in completely custom one-off designs. Like… someone comes to me and asks me to build a site from concept to production. Now, like I said, I usually have help from some back-end devs. However… on some projects it would be easier to do it all myself, as they usually only know PHP and for a particular project, Python might ABSOLUTELY be the way to go. Sometimes Node is the ticket. Sometimes PHP is the best! You get my drift.
Anyway, lately I’ve been developing a series of templates for a company who sells them to realtors. I do all the front-end, a team of other people handle all the PHP. That’s basically because they’re dealing with a legacy data structure and don’t want me ****ing it up.
Anyway, the thing that sets me apart is that I don’t use Bootstrap, I don’t adapt WordPress Themes, I don’t do any of that. I literally build from the ground up, starting with a white screen. This is time consuming and pretty expensive but if a client wants a totally custom look, that’s kind of what it takes.
I do everything short of writing a custom CMS. That would just be silly… even though I toyed with the idea.
Getting clients is easy. This is the second industry I’ve worked in, where I came in as a relative outsider and just made leaps and bounds relatively quick. That being said, I’ve been building sites in some capacity for 10 years. But only in the last 2 have I got paid to do it and in the last year alone have I begun to do it full time. I really don’t have any regrets and I really don’t think I’d want to work for a shop. No offense to those who do. It’s just really not in my makeup to work that way.May 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm #170090
@JoshWhite interesting insights! Have you seen any telltale warning signs that one’s getting into a crappy company?May 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm #170091
@JoshWhite is SO right. There is a HUNGER for good web devs out there. The problem is… there really aren’t that many. Now, I don’t know if I’m one of the greats. But… I’m passionate about what I do and I’m ALWAYS looking for things to learn/improve upon.
I think that right now, people are really looking for sleek UI, mobile-first development and SPEED. Speed is king. Things like Nginx, Node.js and Greensock are making a huge impact on speed. That and a super fast VPS setup. There’s an add-on service for you.
I’m trying to re-brand myself around speed right now. That and security. I hope to get my new portfolio site up soon and bill myself as THE GUY in my city for a fast and secure website. I want to help companies speed up customer interactions and reduce their attack surface via a move away from WordPress and the like. That’s my strategy. But… with how fast this industry moves, what it needs most is people willing to adapt. If that’s you… go out and do your own thing dude.
Sure, you’ll have to pay quarterly taxes and get your own health insurance… blah blah blah. You can also charge $100/hr if you’re awesome. Especially if you’re awesome at JS. Definitely $75/hr though.
This guy is a photographer. But… the video still applies. @alenabdula gave me this video and it was pretty informative… To the point that I think about it all the time. Here you go:May 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm #170094__Participant
any telltale warning signs that one’s getting into a crappy company?
Phrases like “pixel-perfect” come to mind. Look at the company’s portfolio. And of course, look at existing employees. At some point during the interview process, it should not be an issue to be introduced to people you might be working with and have a glance at their typical day (and how much they are enjoying it). I’m not advocating snap judgments, but, generally speaking, if something bothers you from the start it probably won’t get better.May 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm #170095
Have you seen any telltale warning signs that one’s getting into a crappy company?
I know you’re not asking me but… ANY manager who operates under the assumption that people need to work harder is not good at what they do. Bad managers try to squeeze more effort or exertion out of people. Good managers try to optimize internal processes save time/energy wherever possible. This is the real path to greater productivity for two reasons:
#1: The MANAGER is taking responsibility for the problem… which is what they get paid to do. Good leaders look inward, not outward.
#2: In economics, as a general rule, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, UNLESS there are inefficiencies in the market. If you think of a workplace as a productivity economy, there’s no magical way to get more effort out of someone. The true path to more stuff getting done is finding the inefficiencies. That’s the only way. A good boss operates under the assumption that everyone is working as hard as they can or as hard as the WILL.
So, bosses who spend way too much time talking about work ethic are bad at what they do and probably have a poor work ethic themselves. That’s why they’re hung up on it. They want YOU to bare some of their load.
Besides, lazy programmers are the best because they find really efficient ways of writing code, to reduce future work. This benefits everyone.May 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm #170097__Participant
Besides, lazy programmers are the best …
A good manager runs around the office making sure the programmers are happy.
And if someone asks you if you are a web ninja …
Agreed in general; but that sort of phrasing (“rockstar,” etc.) has been popularized enough that good people sometimes use it by mistake, or (especially if they haven’t been hiring in a long time) assume that you “have to” talk that way to attract modern-day devs. If you can’t find any real substance behind it, then look elsewhere. But I wouldn’t automatically disqualify a company because of poor wording choices.May 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm #170099
@traq Oh that’s true!!! I heard that one before. “We’re looking for a pixel-perfect design”. Brings back horrible flashbacks. That was when I had to support IE6. shivers down my spine
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