Developers are so important

Of course I agree with this article: “Why front-end developers are so important to the future of businesses on the web” pleading for t-shaped webdevelopers being treated as such. Though that would seem like a fairly obvious point.

I take it as a given to only collaborate with people who have very broad skill sets and who are great at communication, though people who can do all of the things in this list are very rare:

  • up-to-date knowledge of available and emerging technologies
  • extensive experience of implementing de facto web standards and programming patterns
  • database configuration and data manipulation
  • implementation across multiple platforms and legacy software applications
  • provisioning for mobile devices
  • data aggregation
  • graphics sourcing and creation
  • search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • a thorough understanding of the aesthetics and parameters of designing for the web
  • Carvill goes on to lump most of the UX profession’s skills into this set which seems to me to be something of a hard sell because people with all of these skills are even rarer. I am one and I know a handful of them. Many of the people who can do this are either in startup life or working for themselves in some other way because their abilities do not easily fit into the conceptual cubicles offered by corporate life.

    Business relevance

    The web is the most important business asset any company will have and they’d better get ready for it. Outsourcing your issues is rarely the answer unless you’re willing to enter in a long term relationship with a firm and build the entire stack on open standards, so when the relationship sours it does not turn into a choke hold.

    Good businesses realise what an asset they have in their front-end web development team, and welcome their input into the product development process.

    If this is what good businesses do, —which I believe— how many good business do we have? Being good right now may not be the most important criterium, but how many businesses have a coherent vision on their web strategy to move forward to a better situation?

    The other thing that stood out to me was:

    Even better businesses have a User Experience team which encapsulates all those values, skills and judgements necessary to make great websites.

    If having a UX team is not a given in this day and age, then the article starts to make a lot more sense.


    Like Carvill says, knowing your value and receiving the recognition for that can be two widely different things. I very quickly got fed up with railing against existing infrastructures and arbitrary corporate structures. The way forward for me is making cool new stuff in ad-hoc collaborations with nice people for money and fame.

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