On the Front-end Happy Hour podcast Ryan Burgess, Jem Young, Mars Jullian from Netflix, Stacy London from Atlassian and Katie Sylor-Miller from Etsy discuss front-end culture. Thanks 👏🏻 to Stu recommending the podcast!
You can listen to the podcast over here
"Every single layer of the stack has increased in depth and complexity."
What does front-end culture mean to you in your companies?
- Admitting, that no matter where on the stack people's skillsets sit, we're all engineers. Have respect for each other and the work we do.
- Having engineers who are passionate about front-end, who care about it and can talk about it is a start.
Challenges we face when creating a front-end culture:
- Getting other engineers to recognise the work going into front-end and to respect that building UI and UX is a completely different skill set.
- What does full-stack even mean now? Every single layer of the stack has increased in depth and complexity.
- What even is front-end? Front of the front-end, back of the front-end. Where do you start?
What can we do to tackle these challenges?
- A 'Definition of Done' will help someone who isn't focused on front-end to see the amount of work goes into it. Especially when they need someone to help complete the tasks.
- Pick one subject to talk about to help educate. Building empathy. Empathy is built by experiencing the pain a consumer has to go through to use your website.
- Front-end should demonstrate the values of the company - if your company values inclusivity then your website should be inclusive, accessible and performant too.
- Having diversity of titles and roles will help you make a better product.
- Some companies such as Netflix use the 'UI Engineer' title over just 'Software Engineer'. This recognises the huge range in what a UI engineer can be.
- Etsy on the other-hand just use Software Engineer to level the playing field and to equalise pay between front-end and back-end engineers.
- Maybe we should all be Software Engineers but with a specialism.
- A valuable skillset often found in front-end engineers includes curiosity and empathy.
- Often the pressure to build a front-end culture comes out of design - designers feel the pain of users more often.
- Respect your back-end. Communicate with them. When showcasing call out their work which yours is built upon.