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Discussion on: Tell me an unpopular software opinion

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scott_yeatts profile image
Scott Yeatts • Edited on

This is semi-accurate. I'm specialized in front-end, but have built a TON on the backend.

HOWEVER, I don't look at a backend specialist and say "Anything you can do, I can do", I simply approach every conversation with humility and acceptance that there may be a better approach, and I can't possibly know everything there is to know about all aspects of code.

I'm not bad at backend. But I can realistically assess that while I might be able to architect a cutting-edge front-end with all the bells and whistles, I can simply do an adequate job on the backend. That said, I have had the experience of writing a breadth-first sorting algorithm for a backend implementation covering millions of nodes that completed in 5 minutes vs the previous 6 hours (written by a backend specialist who I would say is VERY good)... so I definitely wouldn't say I'm BAD at the backend...

As a community we need to embrace the fact that there are universal coding patterns that can be applied on the frontend and backend. While I might specialize in tools for the frontend, that doesn't prevent me from using those patterns in work on a backend.

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jsbeaulieu profile image
Jean-Sébastien Beaulieu

This is what I'd call "experience" though. How long have you been working in the field?

I do agree with you, though. People will have to come to terms with the fact that any decent web developer can learn most parts of the stack just fine with some effort and a tiny bit of interest.

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scott_yeatts profile image
Scott Yeatts

Define "working" ROFL (Kidding)

Getting paid? A little over 10 years now.

But writing web code? Let's just say I remember writing code at a time when CSS didn't exist.

And absolutely it takes experience. I would look sideways at someone calling themselves a "Full Stack Engineer" on the first day of their first job without some significant background information haha.

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jsbeaulieu profile image
Jean-Sébastien Beaulieu

I'm 3 years in, have worked on production environments maintaining and developing PHP/Node.js back-ends as well as React/Vue front-ends, and CI/CD infrastructures...

I'm still having a lot of trouble calling myself "full-stack". I'm way too junior to pretend I know both well enough.

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scott_yeatts profile image
Scott Yeatts • Edited on

First: Sounds pretty "Full Stack" to me. Second, make sure you have a specialty that you feel like is your "go-to" (Front-end, back-end... and even though "DevOps" is a mindset, it CAN be a specialty too).

If you've got that, but you wouldn't "little Bobby Tables" if you touched another piece of the stack, then you're full-stack.

You DO need a realistic assessment of your own skills. If you're mid-level in the front, but junior in the back, be honest about it and ask for mentorship and guidance from a senior backend engineer, but don't be afraid to pickup those stories either :D

xkcd.com/327/

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jsbeaulieu profile image
Jean-Sébastien Beaulieu

Pretty much the opposite situation for me! I'm primarily back-end, but learned JS, then React/Vue, then CSS out of sheer necessity, then realized I wasn't half as bad as I thought I was at it. I still suck at layout, especially when responsive, but I'm getting decent at scaling things in mostly sensical ways.

I'm probably getting to mid-level in back-end at this point, maybe? And I learned DevOps-y stuff by scaling up my team's growing architecture past their FTP and manual CRON jobs on a single VM.