Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About rbrtsmith

  • Rank
  • Birthday 11/16/1984

Users Experience

  • Experience
  • Area of Expertise
    Web Developer

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Manchester, UK
  • Interests
    CSS, JavaScript, Front-end Developent, and website performance.

Recent Profile Visitors

18,422 profile views
  1. Not worth worrying about at all. You have to accept that colours typography and so on will look slightly different given the array of environments the web operates in. As web developers we have far bigger fish to fry, especially when there's nothing at all you can do about these differences.
  2. Stuck in the noughties

    Do you just design them or code them as well? The stuff on Tuts plus is really good. A lot of transitions and elements are just CSS, you don't need a specific tutorial, you need to learn CSS fundamentals around transitions and animations. Parallax effects (Which are arguably best avoided) are just JavaScript measuring the scroll position and updating a CSS property on an image to shift it by a related number of pixels. There's all sorts of performance issues and it normally adds nothing to UX. To do all of this properly you need to learn CSS to a decent level along with JavaScript. Modern front-end has evolved massively from what could previously be described as just hacking at some code until it work over to complex architectures that require real engineering skills. If I were you and wanted to update my skillset I'd do a paid course on CodeSchool or Frontend masters covering front-end topics: HTML5, Accessibility, CSS & Sass, JavaScript, jQuery and native DOM, Git. This would allow you to make somewhat modern front-ends although you can go much, much further than this - which is one of the reasons why experienced front-end engineers are so well paid.
  3. That's totally fine depending on the project. Too many people over-engineer things just to look clever. There's all these cool frameworks and tools available in the front-end world but they should only be used if they solve actual problems. jQuery is fine for a brochure site with some basic interactions. Perhaps better still native DOM manipulation if you're not doing much traversing etc.
  4. Anybody that writes off front-end as easy has never really done proper front-end engineering. It's every bit as complex as the backend on a modern large scale web application. A LOT of the logic that was formerly executed in the backend is now done in the client, in many cases the backend is just a set of microservices doing a few very specific tasks that make more sense to be done on the server - typically data persistance. On the front-end we have to worry about performance, accessibility the DOM API / some framework that abstracts that. We write unit tests - which again are arguably more difficult than the server side. Unit testing UI in a sane manner is hard to get right. We have to ensure our software works and looks good on a huge array of devices with varying capabilities, add to that multiple operating systems and web browsers - it's a hostile environment to develop in. Compare that to a server where the program only needs to run in one place. This is not to say SS isn't complex, it most certainly can be. But the myth that server-side is where the real engineering happens is not at all true in modern web application development (We're not talking about WordPress sites with a bit of jQuery here...)
  5. Well done, this just goes to prove what can be achieved if you put in the effort! Keep on doing the same and you will see your income double, maybe even tripple over the next few years. Like yourself and BrowserBugs we've all come from similar employment dilemmas, mine was being stuck working at a McDonalds for 5 or so years not having much direction until I serendipitously fell into web development just over 6 years ago. Your next next steps once you're comfortable in the front-end space is to learn functional programming (This is where JavaScript becomes really powerful), a front-end framework like React, Automated testing (Unit testing with Jest), Webpack and npm scripts - these are a big enhancement over tools like Gulp. If you want any guidance going forward feel free to let me know. I'm more than happy to help those who seem motivated to learn! BTW I am also based in Manchester, as is a former member on here CityPaul. Plenty of opportunity here.
  6. This is a good example of somebody not having much time, but using whatever is available to make it happen. An amazing career like you can have as a web developer is not going to come for free. You're going to have to put in some hard graft to make it happen. In my case I was sick of working at a McDonalds. I just want to get my foot in the door because I can't get any work done at home.... If you want it badly enough you will find the time and place to get it done. You will make the necessary sacrifices. I sacrificed my social life and other hobbies I had for year.
  7. Getting that first job is hard because there's loads of people trying to get their foot in the door. If you can think you can get in without doing any or much work at home you are sadly mistaken. It's competitive and there's a lot of talented people coming though. That said there's a lot of web developers but few are actually good enough for more senior roles - how many web devs know how to unit test and do it well? Not a high %. So if you put in the effort to learn this stuff (It is not easy) you can make a lot of money as the market will be in your favour. For junior roles it is not in your favour so you're gonna have to make sure you stand out in order to get into the industry.
  8. What do you use?

    Now I'm a contractor I am also a one man band although I contract out at large corporations I still need my own machine - and my macbook is perfect for that. It can do everything a desktop can. I can attach screens, keyboard, mouse etc. Of course if you are a gamer and/or need serious image processing then a desktop is worth looking into. Like you say it depends on your needs.
  9. What do you use?

    I wouldn't bother with a desktop. My Macbook pro is more than powerful enough to do anything I'd need it to in the web dev world. It's portable, I can plug it into my array of screens, keyboard and mouse and use it at a desk like you would a conventional desktop. Portability beats any kind of customisation - and why would you need to customise. Web development doesn't require huge power that say video editing might. Portability wins out. I used to build and sell PCs back in the early 2000's but there's just no point now unless you have a very specific need. Interestingly my previous workplace- Sainsbury's and my current - Sky give all employees laptops rather than desktops. Same at BBC. There's a reason for this...
  10. What Jack said. Front and backend are equally challenging now. Doing them both to the industry standard like Jack said is rare, and even then at the big companies the best still typically specialise as the standard is even higher. You might get the odd principal engineer who is incredibly intelligent and has 10+ years of industry experience who does full stack, but they still rely heavily on specialists for complex problems in a given area. Like Jack says I think you are massively underestimating how complex things get. With dedication one can get their foot in the door (at a Junior level for an agency) for either backend, frontend or design in as little as 6 months. But compared to say somewhere like Sky or the BBC an average associate / junior developer is equivalent to senior developer at an agency. I was a lead in the agency world and then moved to Sainsbury's and I couldn't believe the increase in standard. I felt like a junior developer all over again. Same would probably happen if I moved from Sky to Facebook lol
  11. Career progression or money?

    33k and even 50k is very little too when compared to contracting - I much prefer contracting to feelancing as I can take long contracts (upto 2 years) for very high day rates and just focus on delivering software. Moving from permanent to contracting was one of the best career decisions I've made so far.
  12. Too Old?

    I'd go with either Treehouse or CodeSchool over udemy. If you are starting out I would advise against freelancing and try to gain experience working in the industry - this way you are just coding and not spending time looking for clients etc. The kind of work you'd land would typically be more challenging than your local hairdressers page for example - and you can learn from your more experienced colleagues. It's possible with dedication to land a job within 6-12 months of starting out given you are using good resources. Udemy is way to hit and miss. you would also want to find an area of development (front or backend) if you want to get into the industry fast - you can always learn the "other side" once you're in the door. While you are learning just do dummy projects forget about trying to find clients, you might make a bit of money on the side but they will dictate what the features should be rather than you putting in features that you want to learn more about. I learnt most quickly from repetition - do a tutorial and try to recreate what they built myself until it sticks. Going forwards beyond that you can either stick with being an employee - move into more senior roles or move into contracting as a developer - most contractors will make more ££ than freelancers unless the freelancer is working more as a consultant to large firms rather than building websites.
  13. Too Old?

    I started learning web development when I was 28. I've been enjoying my career as ever since. It's never too late. With regards to pay it depends how much time you have to dedicate to learning and improving. I've personally been able to double my income (on average) every year since I started my first job ~ 4 1/2 years ago. I suspect the law of diminishing returns will kick in now though haha.
  14. Feel like a jack of all trades

    Unfortunately this is a big problem in the way programming is taught at universities where every problem is solved by building a class hierarchy. Some problems benefit from these tightly coupled relationships, others benefit from a more mathematical (functional) approach. It's a totally different paradigm so you approach problems with a different perspective so can be challenging to learn if you come from a heavy OOP background. I know a number of ex Java devs who were pushed to learn FP and JavaScript as we use it so heavily at Sky and they love working this way now - although some have said they had to take a step back to try and change their mindset. The web and UI in particular benefit from having pure functions as we can then take time out of the equation - dealing with state over time adds a great deal of complexity so it's a massive win to not have to care about time.
  15. Feel like a jack of all trades

    I don't really have a boss as such contracting. I run my own company and while I contract out to Sky there's nothing stopping me contracting elsewhere too, I can leave without giving notice. Sky are my boss as much as your clients are your boss for the duration of the project - you are still working for them in return for money. Truly working for yourself is releasing a product that you market and sell - you don't have an hourly rate. As for functional languages I suggest you take a second look. Theres a reason all the big companies are going that way now: Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and so forth. JavaScript is described as the worlds most misunderstood language, Again I suggest you take another look. It's totally transformed in the last few years. Even before a lot of the flack came from a misunderstanding. Closures were popularised by JavaScript and have since moved into many other languages like Java, Python. Yes JavaScript influenced these languages! We now have features like Modules, Async functions, Arrow Lambdas you can even bring in static types.