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 Iâ€™ve seen lots of IA/UX/Usability â€œexpertsâ€ 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 otherâ€™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 isnâ€™t busy enough already.
Enough of me, read the article and shout your friendly front end dev a drink.