The Most Visible Job – Interview with our Front-End Team

June 18, 2021

Amongst the tight-knit communities of passionate engineers and tech enthusiasts you will often hear many, speak of the different guises that front-end engineers and developers wear, as well as the roles that they get to slip into, on a daily basis. Some even claim that they are more than just engineers, seeing as they stand at the intersection of art and logic and that the role itself rewards and punishes, like no other!

In order to find out why this role is one of the most visible and why so many tech enthusiasts are starting to develop front-end skills, we ask our own front-end team members a few questions.

André Senra - Senior Front-End Engineer
Stjepan Grego - Front-End Engineer
Wiktor Starczewski - Lead Front-End Engineer

Many members within your community fondly claim that working on the front-end is like working at the interface of art and logic, would you agree?

Yes, and that is one of the amazing things about this job. Sometimes you work on complex data preparation and business logic, and other times, you are creating beautiful animations and UI.

How would you describe the role? What skills have you developed whilst working in the role and how has the role changed?

As time goes by the frontend has started to be more complex! It is more focused on the “backend” and business logic, rather than the actual UI. 5+ years ago you had many front-end developers that only knew some basic JavaScript because their HTML/CSS proficiency was enough. Today, you can’t even build a simple SSR presentational website without being highly skilled in JavaScript. Take React, for example, a basic SSR website will have 90% code written in JavaScript, even CSS, and HTML with JSS and JSX. That’s why it’s important to be up-to-date with new technology and not lose motivation and eagerness to learn and improve.

What one piece of advice would you give to those that find UI programming hard?

Frontend development can surely be daunting at times, notably when starting in the field. On the flip side, solving complex problems will become a fun and rewarding process, as you progress. Making other peoples’ lives easier and seeing them appreciate your work is something that will keep you motivated and excited. Keep on learning and all the pieces will start to fall into place.

What separates a good front-end engineer/developer from the rest and why is lifelong learning of importance when working in this role?

Apart from being proficient in HTML/CSS/JS and staying in the loop with the ever-changing technology, a good front-end developer should be a team player with a strong willingness to share knowledge and accept constructive criticism. The job requires you to be critical, proactive, creative, and above all, to have exceptional communication skills and empathy.

With users normally being able to only report what they see, do you agree that being in a front-end role means that you get the short end of the stick more often than necessary?

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, yes, every problem manifests itself in the UI first, but to balance it out, every success does also. In the end, though, it’s a team effort.

When contributing to building visionary software, what front-end skill do you use most and what should anyone training with us focus on?

In terms of focus, understand every line of code you commit. If there’s no time right now, come back to it later, but always follow up. The drive to explore code and understand it is one of the top skills that one must work on.