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Published on 14 Dec 2020

Frontend — a trap of low entry threshold

Łukasz

This time: frontend evolution, the main difficulty in hiring experienced people, the real importance of frontend in projects, and what to look for in your future employes.

How the frontend has evolved, and why we think it is hard to find experienced people for a team?

In the previous text, I have focused on showing the path that we have taken in Bitnoise in terms of technologies oriented around the broadly understood frontend. Seemingly, this is a topic not worth exploring because it is mainly based on the past. Still, it shows perfectly how complex and dynamic the issue is, for example, the evolution of javascript frameworks in the last ten years. To consider further the topic of difficulties of recruitment in this area, it is worth reflecting why this is a seemingly easy part of creating projects, which is often tempting for people who want to enter the world of programmers.

Why is frontend seemingly easy for IT entry?

The IT industry is tempting. The media are shouting about the fact that it is a land flowing with milk and honey. The facts are as follows: unemployment in the industry is marginal, the workforce is overwhelmed, and the rates for software engineers are rising exponentially.

You rarely hear about problems or difficulties. The image created in the public space makes this industry a target for many people who initially did not associate their careers with IT. Programming schools, boot camps and all support programs for people who want to change the industry use it a lot. If you took a closer look at their offer — the science of the frontend prevails, why?

The frontend is comfortable, light and pleasant to associate. Theoretically, it does not require knowledge of design patterns, solid architecture, experience in projects, sensitivity to code quality or its performance.

The frontend is idealized. Some believe it is enough to learn the basics of HTML, CSS (and framework will do the rest), javascript and very quickly move to a widely recognized framework such as React or Angular because they are the knowledge currently needed on the market.

The ideal vision is sold to future programmers. A graphic designer transfers a solid and well-described project to be implemented. A competent project manager correctly defines tasks that the programmer turns into more or less successful code that magically works on all browsers, devices and does not require maintenance in the future. The reality is, unfortunately, different.

IT project requires a minimal dose of passion and curiosity. Regardless of the area in which the programmer moves. It cannot be taught or acquired — it is a trait either you have or haven’t. I’m not saying here that it’s impossible to become a reliable craftsman without a passion for exploring different areas of projects and focusing on a narrow specialization. I’m merely saying that it is easier for people who treat programming as a passion. It’s better to get into a project an enthusiast even from another industry than a boot camp person, without this spark of curiosity about various aspects of software development.

Why is frontend an essential part of projects?

The user interface has become a vital aspect of projects, often even more important than the perfectly designed and stable architecture on the server-side. It is it what decides whether users will come to the application, website, store or game.

Users will complain about annoying UI errors as often as about long application loading times or errors in business logic. We can no longer talk about an important, stable server part with a simple user interface — we have two equal layers, and both are crucial for the final reception of the project by end-users. Both areas require knowledge, experience and being an expert. It is not easy to enter from scratch in any of them.

Why is it worth having experienced people on board and what do we pay attention to while technical recruitment in Bitnoise?

We look for an extensive experience and thinking beyond the classic backend or frontend patterns. We focus on knowledge. We are looking for people for whom the quality, clean and readable code is essential. We are looking for people who are interested in more than their narrow specialization. Regardless of the area in which they work, we want their awareness of projects as a whole — from architecture, through databases, infrastructure, business logic to the user interface, to be as high as possible. It is the only way to ensure efficient cooperation for the teams and for the customers to provide a product that meets their expectations.

Our observation of the labour market.

What can you do if you are looking for a frontend developer for your team? Our best people are people who have gone from backend to frontend or vice versa. The wider the range of technologies and more experience with different areas, the greater the likelihood of understanding the software development methodology as a whole. Working with such people is easier and more efficient, and communication in teams is much more effective.

Next time: more advice for developers.

Are you a novice programmer, or are you thinking about changing the industry? Next time I will share some valuable advice for you, and it will not be another carbon copy, but practical advice related to my experience and dozens of technical talks.

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