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The Evolution of Front End Engineers

I've been reading lots about future of jobs wrt AI, particularly on f/e dev.

Conclusion: the f/e engineer is dead, long live the f/e engineer.

I had to study as I need to plan ahead. One needs a five-year plan (acknowledging all jokes about accuracies of 5-year plans).

If you, like me, carry the primary responsibility for planning resource levels, skills etc for your tech company/ division, then you need to bone up on these trends too.

More than 50% of 2023 has passed and enough verbage has been spouted since the LLM/AI job apocalypse predictions hit us. After absorbing I've conclude that role will continue to evolve and ongoing upskilling is necessary.

But that's just a continuation of a decades-long trend. It's not as if there are any classic noughties "web developers" anymore.

We need to: make time for our staff to upskill, and ensure they do.

In other words: plus ca change...


Hi, I'm Alistair, like Grumpy CIO, this week grumpy about the reported death of the front end engineer. Well, the front end engineer is definitely dead. But long live the front end engineer. What nonsense this is I'm talking? Okay, I'm the CIO of a small business. And there's many people out there in sort of similar boats, or you're like a tech leader in some place, you report, report up to a division head about what kind of resources you're going to need for the future, how it's going to impact your ability to deliver on a roadmap. And there's all this stuff talking about how front engineers are dead. So maybe we'll get some headcount planning. I actually don't use this one it's from pigment, just to give people credit where credit's due and look, well, I thought it looked quite cool. So looking at it here. But I have to produce figures like this, and I've had to do so many times in the past. And you have to be aware of future trends going, as we're projecting out for a business, like a five year plan. How many of these types of resources are we going to need? And maybe who needs front front end engineers anyway? Well, not entirely true. Because what does it mean to be a front engineer? Well it used to be that a front engineer used to be able to do some HTML, CSS, a bit of JavaScript, that was about good enough to get you started, I could do that. Today. If I tried to code today, I've looked like the two Muppets on the screen now. Help me Help me Help me not going to work. Go back a bit further. And there were web developers who built these things called websites. I mean, nobody does that today, apart from maybe school project just because they feel like it. You used to be able to enter a developer with some of these much more junior positions available to you, and to be styling components. Speaking to one of our engineers, today, this is Fourth of July, Happy Independence Day, 2023 and talking about joining-in his career in 2018. Now, that's only five years ago. Now at the time, you still had to know something more than just what I just described, you also had to have some knowledge of some kind of JavaScript libraries, you know, maybe not even a little bit of React. But that would basically get your entry level role. That doesn't exist now. So the front end engineer role has already been progressing upwards and upwards and upwards ends in skill sets in this period of time. So we're not talking about the death of the front engineer, we're talking about the evolution of the front end engineer. There is a problem, if you look for junior front end development jobs, this is just one off indeed, in London, they do still exist. The pay is not going up, I would say there is you know inflationary pressures everywhere. It's not a job that's increasing. And I must say long before AI kills off these jobs, certainly in the UK or the US offshoring will have done so these jobs will change and evolve over time, there won't be the junior entry level that we have at the moment. And that does leave us with another problem about how do you enter this career, but save that for another post. But for now, front end engineers are here to stay productivity will continue to increase and go through the roof. If you think about it, does your roadmap just is it completely resourced and balanced? Do you have no resource contentions whatsoever? Or do you have more work to do of course, you have more work to do, than there are people that's not going to change, we'll just increase the productivity. But as we increase the productivity, the expectations will increase. Other companies will increase output, it will get higher and higher and higher. Front end engineers are definitely here to stay. And if you are a business leader, don't be coerced into reducing your front end development on thing on your budget on your plan because you just won't get anything done at all. All right. Thanks for watching. I'm Alistair the grumpy CIO of www.shipshape.pc. We are the venture capital search engine come to us to optimise your investor outreach. Find the investors that get what you're talking about. Thank you


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