re: Career: Frontend vs Backend VIEW POST


I think that it is good that you are spending time considering your career the way you are. That being said the sign of great developers is building in the ability to make decisions as late as possible - when you have the most knowledge.

Whilst it is good to try and pick work that is exciting or that with that align with your ethics, you'll eventually find that most places have issues that you might eventually grow too weary of. It is good to keep and eye on your own wellbeing as well as that of the place/people you're working for.

I've been a 'full-stack' web developer for close to 15 years with some other stuff before that. The whole idea of being a frontend developer is reasonably new I think because the web has a lot of very poor developers and very poor development practices - as well as the startup mentality that comes with it. It is difficult to keep up and develop strong solutions on the front end because the deployment platform is still so varied! On the backend I get to make choices but on the frontend the choice is up to the consumer. This, I believe, has lead to a very immature area on the frontend.

App development suffered from this and continues to do so because it is such a new area with changing tools and languages. Even companies the size of Facebook suffered from terrible code structure and had deep structural issues in their mobile apps - amongst others.

Back to the point though ... I would just focus on being a good developer and learning the stuff that everybody should know. Patterns, refactoringings, transformations, SOLID, and so on - they're all extremely important especially in an immature area like front end development. These skills will almost never become unimportant and transitioning from a good Python/Ruby/.NET/whatever developer to front end might require some new, weird skills like CSS and webpack, etc, but what I've found when learning React and Redux for instance is that after a short while you'll be teaching the people that taught you.

React is pretty great but the patterns people used initially sucked hard because it was so new and noobs were jumping in to set the tone. Now you see patterns out there that have been established in other areas for decades. Ruby and Rails were much the same where the first 3-4 years were the wild west and then mature developers joined and the product was much better and set patterns that are still widely adopted and used. It's become quite stable. The frontend is still in too much flux to make good calls on what it will look like, but I think it is safe to say it'll be around a while.

So TLDR; keep focussing on core skills these will allow you to postpone choice until later. I don't think frontend is going away as it is sneaking into mobile apps now as well and for all the lamentations lately I don't see the web going away any time soon either.


thanks for your thoughts.

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