I have always felt a little lost when trying to determine my role in the web creation ecosystem, and how to define myself and my skills. Apparently I’m not alone. It’s not a cut a dried thing. I found a lot of things today resonated with some of my own thoughts on my career and what I do well, and some other items were added to my list of things I need to learn or better my skills in.
Some things that fall into the Front-End Development bucket that I’m doing well at:
- “I know how to solve problems using web technology.” I think this statement sums up what I do more than anything else and it’s one of the things I love the most. I’ve always enjoyed a good problem, even before I got into coding/development. I thrive when presented with a chance to accomplish something I haven’t done before, and don’t know how to do yet. It’s honestly how I learned design software as well.
- Constantly learning, and a willingness to re-invent myself regularly. I absorb an absurd amount of information on a regular basis, regarding web design and development. Books, blogs, Twitter, tutorials, Facebook groups, etc. I want to know what others are doing, what’s working, what’s not, how to improve my workflow and what new technologies I should be training myself in.
- I have more than an awareness of the server level/backend re: WordPress/PHP/MySQL.
- I have at least an awareness in several of the other areas which were mentioned as valuable.
Items added to my list of things to work on:
- Accessibility, this is something I know very little about, and appreciate the moral obligation that exists to include this as part of my skill set.
- SVG, an item that has been on my list to learn. I’m intrigued by it from a design perspective and a way of achieving a more “pixel perfect” design in a responsive setting.
- Being ok with not knowing everything. This is something I need to work on, and I was encouraged to realize that no one does it all. I need to stop feeling like I have to do it all well to be valuable.
Ultimately after listening to the panel, I feel even more confident at calling myself a Front End Developer than I ever have before. I’ve always been a designer first, and I currently have a personal goal to work towards doing more design than I’ve been able to do recently. Given that, I’ve questioned if I really “qualify” as a developer. I never set out to become one. It’s something I kind of fell into, driven by my love of problem solving, ability to learn new things quickly, a need that existed, and an attitude to do whatever it takes. It’s left me wondering if that’s enough to be official. From what I heard today, it sounds like those are the very things that make it official as much as knowing the specific technology. I felt more alike than different when listening today, and that feels good.