The Full-stack Developer Panic

Confession: the term scares me. Personally, it inflicts instant panic.

Let the panic begin

I’m one of those developers who feel that I don’t seem to fit in one category or label. Professionally, I am called a front-end web developer but I can also design templates and posters in Photoshop. I’m a developer who designs and codes. HTML + CSS + Photoshop + WordPress is my area. I can also work with Joomla and had spent almost 4 years with Liferay Portal. These became my specialized set of technologies just because my work required these of me. I stopped trying to figure out the job description ages ago.

These days, it’s not enough. I know this for a fact and feel it heavily now that I have moved to a new country, starting over, and had been looking for work. 5 months and 2 interviews in, I still don’t have a full-time job (hurray for freelancing!). The first interview ended with the employer wanting someone who have more design experience and the more recent one wanted a very technical developer with various programming skills. I’m neither. However, I know I can code well and I can create graphics like this one below –

Panic button

According to an article in Sitepoint – here’s the list of skills a “competitive web developer” needs to have in order to be successful in the present state of the industry –

  • HTML, CSS, Javascript
  • A backend language
  • Version control
  • Command line usage
  • Node/Ruby Tooling
  • Preprocessors
  • Client Side MVC frameworks
  • Popular tools and frameworks like Angular, Laravel, Rails, etc.
  • An understanding of database systems
  • An understanding of server environments
  • Website deployment strategies
  • How to create and use a REST API
  • Responsive web development
  • Accessibility
  • Code testing

Kaboom. For my role as front-end web developer in my previous work, I never really  had to worry about most of the things on this list. I do however, understand how important JavaScript is and I had been pushing myself on that direction with jQuery. I use GIT, I use the command line, I understand Java, PHP, and database though I do not write programs with them, I can modify their code to fit requirements and solve the issue. I understand the concepts of MVC, agile, responsive web design, mobile apps but have no full-on websites as sample works to show, just plugins/pages here and there. I also manage my own websites in my own VPS, use Cpanel and WHM. But as you can see, it’s not enough. There’s Sass, LESS, Grails, Bootstrap, Foundation, Node.js, Angular.js, UI/UX design – and a whole lots to learn. Whew.

 

The wish list

As an employment counselor once told me, it’s just a wish list really.  It’s a list of things an employer wishes you have but most probably not expect to have all of it. This explanation actually made me feel a bit calmer. I have lost count of how many job postings I have read and the skills now required for my current job title makes me feel really old and obsolete. I’ve had that illogical thought for quite a while now – being obsolete. But I can’t accept that it’s too late for me. When the panic ensues again and I go get my hands on any tutorial and online courses to try to keep up.

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Stop Facebook Videos Auto Play

If you’re getting annoyed with videos posted on Facebook playing automatically like me, here’s how you can stop this once and for all – 1. Go to your Facebook Settings   2. Go to Videos options found at the bottom of the list of options 3. Change the Auto-play Videos setting to Off.   ..and you’re Read More

When I grow up…

When we were kids, we get asked what we wanted to be or who we wanted to be like when we grow up. Personally, I can’t remember what the heck I said when I was asked that. Growing up, we were raised by a single mom on minimum wage working 6 days a week with overtime so all I could think of then was school, graduate, and get a job to earn money to buy food. I wanted a refrigerator stocked with pizza and ice cream, and my mom never needing to work ever again.

In recent years, I have explored other fields of interest and among them is history. I hated the subject in school because we were made to memorize so many dates, people’s names, and important places that now I barely remember. This interest in history was because of the rich, dramatic, and grand stories of England. The royals, the palaces, the wars. It’s fascinating to me that I choose to watch documentaries. So, heaven bless the BBC. This also came from my love of [classic] books and period films. I think I’ve seen all the Jane Austen movies and remakes and drama series and their remakes.

To answer the question,  I think would have loved to be like Dr. Lucy Worsley. (Her website is www.lucyworsley.com) She’s an English historian, TV presenter on history, author, and the Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. She heads the organization that manages the royal palaces that are unoccupied or not being used by the royal family. The beautiful, historic buildings are privately cared for; meaning they do not receive any support from the state or the royal family and only from visitors, donors, and volunteers. This part amazes me. The Tower of London, Hampton Court, the Kew Palace – all independent. Dr. Worsley’s office for one is in the Hampton Court Palace.  (See, I just geeked out right there). Kudos to the British public and to all the tourists out there for their support, I hope to be one of you in this lifetime.

Her smart, well-researched, witty, and interesting documentaries are well-worth the watch. I don’t watch TV much (except if Arsenal has a match) and only watch via YouTube. It’s my afternoon tv soap opera. For me, history is about the good stories and not memorizing the dates and people’s names. It’s more about what happened to that person on that time in that place and understanding the reasons why.

(Video source: 5×15 Stories YouTube Channel)

(Video source: BBC YouTube Channel)

With the risk of sounding fairly odd, I had an amusing fangirl moment when she, Dr. Lucy Worsley herself,  “favorited”  my tweet about her. Well, she might have an assistant managing this, but whatever. It was nice and it made me smile. Read More

RIP Oh Captain, my Captain

Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite movies so as shockingly unbelievable as it is, rest in peace, Robin Williams. Read More

Create a dropdown using a list <ul>

We’ve all been there – that moment when you see your wonderful layout ending up with fugly default browser styling. If only all browsers would adopt the same styling for our dear HTML elements and let us add sparkles and colors. Ok, maybe not sparkles but at least style that darn dropdown. And please don’t get me started on mobile.

For one project I worked on, the only option I had was to not use <select> for the dropdown but style a list <ul> instead and make it look like the styled dropdown the client wanted – Dropdown Select Design This is the dropdown code using a <select> as we all know –

	<select>
		<option>Gummi Bears</option>
		<option>Tiramisu</option>
		<option>Carrot Cake</option>
		<option>Chocolate</option>
		<option>Jelly Beans</option>
		<option>Cotton Candy</option>
		<option>Marzipan</option>
		<option>Lollipop</option>
		<option>Fruitcake</option>
		<option>Donut</option>
	</select> 

First, let’s break down what are the parts of this module we’re creating. This will help us figure out what we’re dealing with as were transforming a simple list to a <select> dropdown and then adding some nice styling.

 

A simple list:

Select your favorite

  • Gummi Bears
  • Tiramisu
  • Carrot Cake
  • Chocolate
  • Jelly Beans
  • Cotton Candy
  • Marzipan
  • Lollipop
  • Fruitcake
  • Donut

The code:

    Select your favorite
	<ul>
		<li>Gummi Bears</li>
		<li>Tiramisu</li>
		<li>Carrot Cake</li>
		<li>Chocolate</li>
		<li>Jelly Beans</li>
		<li>Cotton Candy</li>
		<li>Marzipan</li>
		<li>Lollipop</li>
		<li>Fruitcake</li>
		<li>Donut</li>
	</ul>

 

We should be able to transform the above code to a dropdown with the following parts: dropdown guide

  1. Container
    • Our dropdown needs to be in a container where we can control the position of the  contents of a dropdown which we’ll set as …
  2. Trigger
    • This is the part of the dropdown that you click to show the list options available
  3. List options
    • The contents of the dropdown are the options available with the <select>

 

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