Ask DN: Where are all the UI engineers?

over 7 years ago from Mattan Ingram,

  • Samanta Aquino, over 7 years ago

    Relevant story...

    A year ago I faced a huge career dilemma as a designer when I quit my job at a small software shop (we built sites and apps for clients). Over there I really enjoyed writing CSS w/Sass — huge fan of OOCSS/SMACSS/BEM, and democratizing and documenting the CSS code I was writing (design systems, FTW), but I really didn't enjoy doing any JS related implementation. We were all over Angular back then and I was seriously not interested.

    I wasn't sure what I was. All the positions I stumble upon for front-enders talked about being responsible for building applications using MVC based frameworks and whatnot. That wasn't me. I loved designing experiences, but I also enjoyed a small piece of the building part (the html/css part). Yet, I couldn't find a position that described my mixed set of skills… so I panicked about my future.

    It also hurt my confidence. When I measured myself against the requirements for these front-end positions, I felt like an amateurish developer. And when I looked at designer positions, I didn't have the case-study type of portfolio that would show I had a solid design process, so again I looked unskilled.

    So, I decided to stop being in the middle of the spectrum (designer vs front-ender) and chose a side. I'm now focused on design (research, testing, visual design) and don't really do coding for work, only for personal stuff.

    TL;DR... I don't think the industry has decided on who's job it is to care for CSS architecture in a product, so job posts aren't clear about it. Consequently, job seekers get the impression that there's no demand for this mixed set of skills and that might be causing a "drought".

    18 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, over 7 years ago

      Yes, this, thank you for writing this reply. This is exactly the feeling I went through. I'm fortunate to be working somewhere where I can focus on design and HTML/CSS but not worry too much about the React/Angular side (although I did learn a lot of JS in the process and do enjoy those frameworks), but now that I am leaving I am worried I will be going right back into this context you describe.

      It makes me sad I can't even find people to have conversations about CSS with in person, only online.

      3 points
    • Rafe GoldbergRafe Goldberg, over 7 years ago

      I don't think the industry has decided on who's job it is to care for CSS architecture in a product

      wow, very yes (at least in my experience); much unfortunate...

      0 points
    • Mark Forloop, over 7 years ago

      Just imagine the weight of this feeling for someone who's breaking into the industry.

      0 points