Front-end development is engineering. What do you call the Designer/Developer?

I’ve been a hobbyist in this field for a very long time (90s) and never formally studied and fell way behind in the past several years–even though I do work on a front-end developer and teach it sometimes. However I realize I don’t really value the engineering focus of current front-end development. Back in the 90s you could just call it “web design”. The division of roles makes sense though. New developments in User Experience are very important. Separating those concerns from Front-End Development make sense.

Neither UX nor Front-End development focus on how to design creative solutions for the technology available. For example, where might a specialist in WebGL fall under? It’s not necessarily Front-End or UX–it would be Front-End but it’s not a relevant skill set for most. How about someone who can create a game-ified experience in WebAudio and HTML canvas? Or just an elaborate, animated, user interface? This doesn’t fall into the category of visual designer either as no one expects a visual designer to program.

MAYBE this falls under the purview of a Front-End Developer but I find that scenario awkward. I’ve worked in teams where the Front-End Developers/Engineers are not creative at all and the designers are not technical at all. If you have a designer trying to create a design for a technology they don’t understand, it becomes very messy.

I think back in the day there used to be room for a designer/technician of some kind. I know currently designers of any stripe are not in demand compared to engineers but I’m wondering if there’s a clear title that defines a designer/programmer. I ask because that’s how I’m trying to position myself professionally. Calling myself a Front-End Developer is just setting myself up for disappointment. I am a designer and programmer and I don’t know how to communicate that to most people as the combination of the two is confusing to many.

Software Developer/Engineer. Same with Frontend Development. Frontend Developer is just a specialization. If you’re a WebGL person, then you’re a WebGL Developer/Engineer or 3D Developer/Engineer. But it’s all still just a Software Developer. My Resume says Software Engineer.

Same with Designers.

The only line, which is a blurry line anyway, is between Designers and Developers. One is a programmer, one is a artist. Most Frontend Developers exist in between but usually tend either be more weighted towards artistic or programmer.

I think this is a good visualization.

I guess I’ve ignored the role of UI Developer because it excludes so much of what I try to do as a designer–it’s presumably very narrow. Also you’re suggesting that any skill set like WebGL and WebAudio would not be included in UI Developer? They are their own separate island perhaps? Okay. I wasn’t sure if some popular title existed that included all of that. There’s a fringe title for it: Creative Technologist. I know no one really recognizes that title.

So I think I understand your point. There may be no title for someone who works with animation, webgl, and audio for the web. There should be. But there isn’t. I don’t believe UI Developer includes those skills unless someone disagrees.

There are no separate titles for most computer related positions - there are not enough thousands of different words to use to properly describe them all.

Sure. I understand. I guess what I mean is that this combination of skills may not be popular in the business world enough to have earned a clarifying title. Which then suggests to me that professional opportunities with those skills are limited. Which I guess I knew. Just wanted to verify.

Just because 50 completely different jobs with computers share the exact same job title doesn’t mean that there is not a high demand for people with those skills. You need to read the job description and not just the title when working out what a particular job involves in order to distinguish it from the many other completely different jobs that share the same job title.

My concern isn’t about understanding job opportunities but understanding what title(s) to assign myself so that people can quickly assess my goals and skill sets. UX Designer is succinct. “WebGL, WebAudio, Animation” is a longer description that may not be clear to some. The crux of my question is how to promote myself and to use the correct titles. Based on this conversation there doesn’t seem to be a popular title that describes my skills. Which is fine.

I think you’re way too caught up on the actual titles. “UI Developer” in my diagram, is the exact same thing as “Frontend Developer”. Titles really don’t matter.

I suppose I could be too caught up in it. When I send out these resumes I just presumed the title at the top clarifies my skills and strengths but maybe it’s not a focus.

I imagine most employers would want to see a detailed skillset listed.

True, a Title that matched the skillset would be ideal, but as felgall pointed out, there are so many possible variations any title would necessarily need to be “general” more than fine-grained, all-inclusive and specific

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I guess “sub titles” might work to some extent.

For example, (pre merge)
ASCP - Medical Technologist
NCA - Clinical Laboratory Scientist - Chemistry, Clinical Laboratory Scientist - Hematology

The ASCP title was more general, while the NCA title indicated the area of focus.

Interesting idea. I should do that.

Yeah I don’t mean for these details to be that important. I’d rather just put down “artist and programmer” but I think we can admit that many HR people may ignore that. Having observed HR depts over the years, if some resumes don’t contain the right keywords, they’re out.

I think that visualization sums up everything nicely.

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