We all wish we were better at certain things. The latest poll here on CSS-Tricks asked you to pick just one:
If you had to just pick one of those that you most wish you were good at (and aren’t now), what would it be? Which are you the most envious of?
(The original poll said “jealous”, but the proper term is “envious” for what I meant. Thanks Tristan!)
Here are the results:
See the Pen highcharts barchart by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.
The winner, with 26% of the vote: Visual / Interaction Design. The biggest slice of voters wished they were better at this type of design. I feel you, that’s what I voted for too. I am the visual designer for several projects and I wish I could do them better justice. For years I’ve been wanting to level up in that, but it always ends up that my time is divided up such that I haven’t been able to give it the hours it needs. Visual design is such a vital component to the success of things, it’s no wonder we’re envious of it around here on a site dedicated to other areas.
The runner up, with 24% of the vote is similarly no surprise: Back End Development. I guess if we’re a bunch of front end developers around here, we’re most jealous of the the two other main components that make a website.
Third place was actually Front End Development with 16%, which I bet accounts for folks Googling things, landing on CSS-Tricks, and voting based on wishing they already knew what they were Googling =).
Server Management was at 7%. Database Administration was at 4%. So 11% of folks wish they were better at that low-level stuff that keeps websites running. I probably would have picked one of these as my runner up.
6% of people voted for Video / Audio Production. Perhaps I should have lumped photography in there too. The idea was complimentary artistic skills to web design, as they as used and very important to lots of websites.
Writing / Copywriting had 5%. I bet this would have been an interesting one to break down by years-in-industry as, just anecdotally, the more I hear people wishing for greater skill in this area the longer they are around. It’s almost certainly the strongest form of Marketing (also 5%). If you’ve heard of something/someone, it’s because writing.
Bringing up the rear was Management at 4%. This is something I’ve always wanted the opportunity to do, but haven’t yet had the chance. I suspect I’ll love it one day, but I’m not yet envious of management skill, as I haven’t started that journey.
And last place: Knowing / Practicing the Law at 3%.
Any final words on your skill envy? New poll tomorrow.
Trust me. If you love to code, and generally create things, you do NOT want to be in management. You would think that in management you would have more control over things, but the opposite is true.
You can’t control management above you. You probably can’t control corporate policy. And other than careful hiring – you really can’t even control those you are managing.
I was a pretty successful manager – and you couldn’t pay me enough money to go back into that role.
I think it come down to how you, and your company approaches the role of management. If you’re there to kill the fun or bring people down then it’s going to suck. If you’re there as an advocate for your team and stay really engaged with what your team is doing and the technologies out there, your role becomes very different. My company has a philosophy of “servant leadership” roles and I really respect all of our management team.
I have been in both roles too and it really depends on the company as a whole and how you view management.
I’ve known people who’ve been in management for over 20 years at some of the worst companies out there, it isn’t a good job.
I was a manager at start-ups and larger companies – one of which was an awesome company which let you have fun with your employees. Although the concept of “servant leadership” wasn’t overtly spoken, it was encouraged in practice.
If you hire carefully and you can trust the people under you to get the job done – then you are golden.
But if you somehow make a hiring mistake and bring in someone with a bad attitude – and it happens to the best of us – then it’s really not fun, no matter how management is perceived.
And if you do really love the technology and coding – you don’t get to do that anymore.
I’d definitely say I would have answered something not on the poll. I wish I knew more of the “tools of the trade” like css preprocessors, version control, project tracking software, ticketing systems, etc. I’m self taught and I’m so used to doing everything from scratch that taking the time to learn these tools always seems like more work than I have time for. I know they’d save me a lot of time in the end, but whenever I try to learn about them, it’s like falling into a rabbit hole of interconnected “stuff” that is needed or recommended to get the result I want or to fit it into my current workflow. Just switching to a new code editor can be overwhelming, and not understanding or using your tools to their full potential just hurts you in the end.
As a predominantly front-end guy, I’m most envious of the hardcore back-end programmers. I would love to know more data structures. I know my way around creating some nifty JS and DOM manipulation, but it doesn’t feel like nitty gritty programming.
The grass is always greener, it seems. I’m mostly a back-end developer and I always wish I knew how to design beautiful sites (like the web templates I tend to use). I feel like I know how to do things with CSS, but give me a blank page and I don’t know what to do. I always end up making a mostly blank page with a navbar on top.
without marketing our work value nothing
That doesn’t make me envious of it. Let the marketers do their thing while I write code. It’s why we can’t do it all alone as an organization
That of course depends on what audience you are doing your work for. For a developer audience well written code and documentation often is ‘marketing’ enough.
I wish I was better at law & management. LOL.
If you wish that, tech is not for you.
well, i’m the opposite i’m envious of the fron-end capabilities…
Because I am among all the others who voted, a visitor in your website, someone who wants to learn more in a specific area. This makes the results of the poll not an inside vieuw of average of the general population. As a result of that this poll shows only the percentages within a certain group of the total population. But this is maybe what you want?
Well, for any of you that answered “writing”, I’d be happy to take your work load there! I am also a Frontend Developer / Designer, but I do love to write (and edit)! I’ll ghost write all those blog posts that your company requires you to write on the regular…you know the ones still awaiting your attention.