Who are you looking for? About web development specialists – for IT recruiters.

We’re staying in the web development area.

In this article, I’m going to go over the question of who is who. When you were looking for a potential candidate, you’ve probably noticed that they tend to call themselves different names. I hope that getting familiarized with the terms will help you understand better the candidate’s profile and thanks to that you’ll gain the confidence that you’re actually contacting the right person. Some misunderstandings on the subject resulted with labelling us as the ones who can’t tell the difference between candidates who use Java and those who are proficient in JavaScript.

Let the games begin.

Let’s have a look, those are probably the most common names we come across:

  • Frontend developer
  • JavaScript developer
  • Web developer
  • Web application developer
  • Web designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • UX Designer
  • UI Developer
  • Full stack developer

How can you tell a difference?

Let’s take a quick look at how web application development works.

The whole process starts with the collection of requirements. First of all we need to know what’s the purpose of the application, who are the target users and what are their expectations, what do they like, how are they going to use it etc. Next, we need to know what it should look like. At this stage, the initial concept is analyzed and development solutions are planned.

The next step is the design of the website, its appearance, the layout of individual elements is established, in short, the work is focused on the graphic aspect.

The time comes to create the application, so we have the coding stage. Specialists make sure that everything is in accordance with the graphic design, that the website opens on all browsers, that the waiting time for its launch is “user-friendly”, you know, we want it fast, faster … and what is also worth emphasizing, the website must work smoothly, must be fully functional for us.

It is then uploaded to the server. You have to take care of the backend. Then what? At the end of the day, it needs to be optimized to make it as useful as possible for us.

Okay, so that’s it, in a nutshell. Now, the following graphic (source), shows in a cool, simple way who is involved in each stage of the process.

Now briefly:

User Experience Designers – they make sure that users like the website, that they are satisfied when using it. They collect requirements, conduct research, analysis, statistics, based on which they are able to say what something should look like and why, what needs to be changed to be more than satisfying. UX has a more human aspect.

User Interface Developers – are responsible for how users interact with the website, deals with the content of the site, its layout, the arrangement of buttons, sliders, windows, images, etc. They make the website nice and functional. They work with UX Designer and developers.

Application developers – take care of functionality, coding. Their work is best reflected in the statement: I will make the site work, although I do not promise that it will be beautiful.

You may be involved in Web development through:

  • Frontend – most common job titles– frontend developer, JavaScript developer,
  • Backend – most commonly they are called backend developers. Probably we won’t see a name such as a web backend developer, however NodeJS developer might come up,
  • Frontend and backend – then we have full stack developers or web developers, web application developers.

A little tip! All this time we’ve been talking about creating websites. I wouldn’t like you to identify the UI developer or backend developer only with this area, because these specialists may have the same job names when they also make desktop or mobile applications. So you should analyze the technologies listed on the profiles, which are a hint if it is definitely a person dealing with web applications.

Short summary:

UX Designer —> research & design

UI Developer —> design & code

Application Developer —> code

Knowing the basic issues, i.e. the trio of languages – HTML, CSS, JS and the general job description you really can, in such a basic way, quickly find out who is who and if it is the specialist you are looking for. In addition, it is worthwhile to understand the content of the job offer, i.e. who it is actually addressed to.

So, when you’re browsing through the profiles of LinkedIn candidates, ask yourself some basic questions:

  • Are you sure this is the profile of the person who creates websites?
  • Does the specialist in question design more, i.e. uses HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Adobe illustrator to a large extent, and occasionally JavaScript, or maybe mainly codes?
  • Next, if they code, is it the frontend side and here mainly use of Java Script, and in sometimes HTML and CSS, or maybe backend (Java – Spring, .NET – ASP.NET, Python – Django, Ruby – Ruby on Rails and many others).

It is also worth noting that someone, who has made a lot of working and good looking websites, which he can boast about, is not necessarily able to make a web application, because the majority of websites of shops, companies, etc. has a common functionality covered in templates with a whole lot of plug-ins and designs. Efficiently operating such tools (e.g. wordpress, drupal) a person can quickly and effectively sell “making pages” without being able to code in the backend and not at all or barely in the frontend. You have to watch out for this when evaluating candidates by portfolio.

As we get to the bottom of it… the key to even better understanding of the profile of a web development candidate is knowledge of the various other technologies. And about that soon…

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