Hiring a web front-end engineer and a rant

Update 3/28/06: Still looking… not for a web designer but a web front-end engineer. Jemery does a good job of describing the distrinction. No doubt about it, this is a hot skill set that is extremely hard to find!

I’m hiring a front-end web developer (contract or FTE) for either on-site or remote work. This is not a web designer or graphics designer job but rather a technical front-end developer, someone with crazy XHTML/CSS/Javascript skills that can work in our JSPX environment. If you or someone you know fits the bill and is looking, leave a link to their portfolio site as a comment here or drop an email to the address in the job posting. GreatSchools is a great place to work and we get a ton of traffic so your work will be seen by several million people per month!


Here’s a tip if you’re considering applying, the first thing I’ll do is go to your portfolio website and do a view source. Save us both time and only apply if your portfolio website W3C validates XHTML and shows proper usage and understanding of CSS. While I’ll eventually look at the work you did for other companies, I generally take it for granted that you did your portfolio site by yourself so it weighs more heavily than anything else! Having a blog is also a good thing, it’ll show me that you have enough enthusiasm for the work you do to take the initiative to write about it!

Of the 40 or so portfolio websites I’ve visited today, only 1 person’s validated and demonstrated proper usage of XHTML and CSS. Please, is the bar really that low? Disprove my pessimism and leave a link to your kick-ass validating XHTML portfolio site (or a friends) as a comment here, even if you’re not looking I’d like to see some better examples than I’ve seen today!


Related reading: Applying for a job HOWTO

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6 Responses to Hiring a web front-end engineer and a rant

  1. I’d balk at requiring XHTML for a personal site. There are all sorts of problems with serving XHTML, so it’s only really a good idea to use it if you’ve got to process the site in some way as XML. Otherwise, HTML4 is probably more correct.

    (see also: http://www.hixie.ch/advocacy/xhtml )

    Also with portfolio sites, you often run into the “the cobbler’s children are barefoot” problem. I remember when I worked for a mostly web-design firm, improving our own site was always on that “we really need to do it, but we’re snowed under with paid work” list. We just sent prospective customers links to sites we’d developed for other customers, and nervously coughed about our own site. 🙂

  2. Todd Huss says:

    Charles, I’d be happy if even a few of the sites I looked at validated at all, HTML 4 or XHTML. The bottom line is most personal portfolio sites are full of invalid HTML, display no understanding of proper CSS, and in my opinion there’s just no excuse for it from people who produce HTML for a living. I’ve phone interviewed a bunch of candidates and so far the only 2 that were worth interviewing in person had sites that validate so I think it’s a pretty good benchmark.

  3. Chuck Cheeze says:

    Ouch, sounds right up my alley but unfortunately I fall in the boat of most-past-sites not validating. Luckily I am currently rebuilding my design firm site (http://www.webinception.com) and so far it validates as I am in process with building it. I’ve been working with a private comapny for a few years now so my chops have been on thier intranet for getting up on valid coding, thus I wouldn’t have much to show anyway. Good luck witht he search…

  4. htmlvalidator says:

    Nice rant. Your next page (Enhancements to SubModal) doesn’t validate.

  5. Todd Huss says:

    htmlvalidator, thanks for catching that, I’ve fixed it. I still maintain that a front end developers portfolio site should show off their skills of which one of those should be writing validating HTML or XHTML. If I’m looking for a designer to create full page photoshop comps then I’m looking for artistic skills so I don’t care if their site validates, but if I’m looking for a front-end developer to take comps and implement them in XHTML, CSS, and Javascript then I struggle to believe anyone would defend that person having a non-validating portfolio site.

  6. crich says:

    Sounds like the guy your looking for is already going to have a good job!

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