JD: Web Developer

I really appreciate when people share their definitions of job descriptions within the web industry. I just finished reading this post, Why front-end developers are so important to the future of businesses on the web [Sep 24, 2009] by Paul Carvill, a web developer for the Guardian.

The article articulates the role and value of the front end web developer and spurns a debate of sorts in the comments (now closed) between the generalists and the specialists.

Will Peavey’s comment cuts close to the bone, (mine specifically!) when he says:

“I think being a front-end dev should be a prerequisite to doing IA/UX work. In my experience I’ve seen lots of IA/UX/Usability “experts” that come from art school or academic backgrounds, and attempt to design interfaces that look good as Photoshop mockups, but fail in the browser.”

Ah yes, I must confess to 4 years of art school, and only rudimentary and increasingly fading HTML/CSS skills.

I think the generalist/specialist debate really depends on the type of business you work in and the projects you work on. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last three years working in a great team of developers that includes a dedicated front end dev. We all bounce off each other’s specific skill sets and are constantly sharing and learning from one another.

I appreciate this article all the more as the front end dev is considering what he can do to broaden his skill set and shape his career. Not that he isn’t busy enough already.

Enough of me, read the article and shout your friendly front end dev a drink.

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