Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Why is it to hard to find a front end developer? (medium.com/illyism)
10 points by steven2012 on Nov 11, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

I think this article is pretty on the money. We've been looking to hire front-end developers in senior positions all over Australia for the last few months... and it has been tough.

What we often find is that people do a CompSci undergrad then find work in .Net or Java — only to realise a few months later that they much prefer to work as a FED (front-end developer) and didn't even know it was an option. (front-end and back-end development are two very large and robust teams in my place of employment)

A bit part of that, as the author touches on, is that the skills required to be a good FED are varied (and not always specifically about programming). The root of the problem in Australia is that the front-end development position exists professionally but not academically.

Its difficult to find universities or courses which offer accreditation or certification in a front-end specific skill-set.

As a front end dev, I've noticed the steady increase in job offers. Most of us had the benefit of growing with the technology. Its why when you see a group of Front End Devs, you'll see a group of mostly early 30 somethings to 40 somethings, and not the usual crowd of young faces in other practices.

The biggest problem I see with Front End Development is the massive trove of tacit knowledge it takes. If you have a portfolio that goes more than a decade deep, a junior front end dev might run across a table based layout, or baffled by transparent gifs used to position. Or perhaps its a site made 7 years ago, and its locked on a 960 grid and the jr dev is throw by the "Clearfixes", used to modern frame works that magically clear floats by psuedo elements, and doesn't understand why her/his grid isn't working when she/he forgets to manually clear the floats. It could be even a site that is 5 years old, and relies on wurfl to do user agent detects the baffling usage of user agents at all to detect mobile.

Anyhow, that's just scraping the surface. My standing theory is Front End Development is only a few years away from being divided into more roles as the current bar for knowledge entry is getting to be almost unattainable.

I'd agree with your theory. Early this summer interviewing for 2 nearly identical positions I was told from one I was too technical, they want someone more design-focused; and I was too design focused, they want someone more technical from the other. Both positions are still open.

Assuming I didn't completely tank both interviews, I got the sense in feedback afterwards they both wanted a magical front end/back end/ designer dynamo and are holding out/hoping for that person to apply.

I think companies initially define a FED role they need, and then in interviews find everyone has slightly different but overlapping skillsets/specialties. Someone says 'hey wouldn't it be nice if we could find a dev that has all these" and spin their wheels endlessly searching for the unicorn rather than hire 2 complimentary people. Especially when they're already pushing their budget limits.

IMO, the biggest thing you want from a front-end developer that a back-end one is missing is HTML/CSS skills and design chops. If you can hire for that skill-set in particular, polyglot programmers can make the UIs come alive in a pretty efficient manner.

Already posted twice today. First here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10543668

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact