Specialisation is nothing new, and it is required across many roles in many industries, and the web industry is no exception, although one particular area of specialisation in our industry tends to get ignored or seen as “easy” or “not technical enough”. I am of course talking about HTML and CSS, and this opinion needs to change.
Last week there were a number of excellent and thoughtful posts and Twitter threads on this very topic.
In a conversation on Twitter, Una Kravets wrote:
Don’t think I would’ve been hired w/o JS, but lots of times companies don’t realize their need for HTML/CSS specialty till they have it
Full Stack Developer
The term “full-stack developer” implies that a developer is equally adept at both frontend code and backend code, but I’ve never in my personal experience witnessed anyone who truly fits that description.
But this is ok. I specialised.
Before I got into frontend at all, I was a C developer, working with speech recognition, although even then I was designing and building interfaces for users to interact with, they were just using speech. Back then HTML/CSS always interested me, even though it was still in its infancy as an industry. But I chose to specialise more in frontend work, and I moved into this industry, leaving speech recognition behind. I specialised.
Back then CSS was a lot simpler than it is today, but now it has become much more complicated, and having CSS specialists is no bad thing.
I am not one of these specialists, I am hesitant to use the new things that CSS has to offer, mainly due to browser compatibility issues. For example, I have only recently started to use Flexbox when building things, and I won’t use CSS Grid for a while. Perhaps I am too conservative, but I bide my time and let specialists work with these new things and I learn from them.
For me, HTML is more important, and this is what I choose to specialise in. Do I know everything that there is to know within HTML? No, of course not, but when I am unsure of how something might be marked up, I check, I ask others, read articles, and check the specification. I want to do it right, because if the HTML is semantically correct, then the chances of what I am building being more accessible increases, and that is something that has also become important to me.
As Belén wrote on Twitter:
And, above all, do respect the work of those who ARE specialized in coding HTML & CSS. They just chose a different language than you
Originally published at iandevlin.com.