For my first OneMonth homework assignment, I interviewed two folks who focus on front-end development. Since they knew each other, I conducted a group interview. Their insights were interesting, and I’ll through them below.

Both were subject-matter experts in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They’d also dabbled in other work, from some database work and mobile dev work to app development.

Developer #1 got her start by actually writing a macro in Excel; she was working in a job that had a ton of database entries. With a macro, she was able to automate many of her basic processes, and she realized that she wanted to utilize software for her own benefit. She took a couple of courses at her local community college while receiving her BA in finance. She quickly realized she wasn’t interested in finance. She quickly got a QA internship, started iterating on her own and didn’t even complete her coding classes.

Developer #2 is considerably more senior, and he got his start in a similar way. He took a coding class his freshman year in college and realized that he loved learning it; it reminded him of learning a new language.

Both agreed that alot of people who went into tech got their basics from a class, then dropped out. They constantly supplement their learning with research online and blogs, which they both found more useful than a classroom environment.

Developer #1 described UI, UX, front end, etc as a mish mash. Her title is currently UI developer; however, her job entails a creative design side as well as a testing side.

Developer #2 is currently a senior developer at a larger private firm (300+ employees) that focuses on voice technologies.

Both discussed the influence they have in projects as one of the reasons they love what they do. When a project is coming down the pipeline, both can have a huge influence on features while researching cool ways that peers and competitors are approaching it.

Developer #1 said that a UI developer can have a huge impact on a client. It is actually very easy to impress with something simple.

Developer #2 discussed some of the terms that have come up in class. He described a lot of development as seeing things early on. Both deal with comps or mocks frequently. They both agreed that they are often startled how different these concepts look when they’re brought to life and when they’re across platforms.

Developer #1 described her own team is very strong innovators; if they show client something better, they are usually amenable to input.

Developer #2 stated that there’s a lot lost in translation for the business side; it always helps his team when business teams are able to describe three competencies: what is the main purpose of the app, what are the core functionalities, and what is it actually doing.

Developer #1 said that a wireframe gives a front-end developer more insight and input when needed. Where she works, developers have a lot of power; it’s important to set reasonable expectations with clients so that they don’t overpay for features they don’t need.

Both agreed on the biggest piece of advice: don’t be intimidated. Ask the stupid questions and don’t be afraid to fail.