Web Developer, what art thou?

A few weeks back couple of my friends announced that they started a co-operative together called Analog. A highly talented group of guys who create web sites that will knock your socks off, and then some. The name is quite interesting, especially the meaning, to me Analog means personality, warmth, simple yet sturdy, tough yet soft, exactly what a company should strive for. I wish them all the best and good fortune.

One of the Analog guys, Andrei Zmievski wrote a very inspiring blog post about the journey the co-op went on, from idea to reality. There was one point in the post which caught my attention, where Andrei talks about claiming back simple, honest phrases like web sites and web developer. As Andrei puts it

They are precise and descriptive despite having been shunned or dismissed by people in favor of things like web application, front-end/back-end engineer, and other seemingly sexier nomenclature meant to sound more important.

Simple, yet a good point none the less. But lets not dismiss a completely valid term such as front-end engineer just yet.

Now what is a web developer then? For me it is a person works with anything web related, be it on the front-end, back-end or in-between. If we compared it against another profession — Lets take teachers, saying “I’m a teacher” is very general and broad but a teacher can also say “I’m a high school English teacher” to further clarify their role. To me, the same thing applies to web developers, it is the umbrella role where front-end/back-end engineer and similar roles are subsets of. It is true that there are people out there making up roles such as “Social Media Expert” and other non-sense roles, only to sound more appealing and important.

I applaud Andrei for attempting to make web developer once again a commonly used phrase, and I feel like I can proudly say “I’m a web developer!” but I also feel like we shouldn’t dismiss valid job titles within the web developer umbrella, but leading with web developer whenever we can is a great idea. I might be a bit bias on the subject since I recently wrote about Designers versus Developers for phpadvent where I touch on what front-end engineers are, the role they play among designers and developers (web developers even).

Simple and pure is good when applied correctly. I can see where Andrei is coming from if we factor in the Iceland trip he mentions in his blog post, which I incidentally was on as well. There were a lot of moments during the trip where clarity and amazement dawned on us over the beautiful scenery we saw, yet at the same time it was simple — I can see the appeal of bringing that into business, to take us back to the basics and claim back simple phrases/approaches — Clearly something they are striving for at Analog.

And with that I will leave you all with a picture of the most profound moment of the trip along with the tweets we sent out at the time. A big turning point in all of our lives.

Midnight Sun in Stykkishólmur, Iceland

Photo by Chris Shiflett, taken the summer 2009, 2am, Iceland.

Reset my spirit underneath the midnight sun at Stykkishólmur. Feeling refreshed and renewed.

— Chris Shiflett

To echo @shiflett, watching tonight’s sunset in Stykkishólmur was the point of reset and restart in my life.

— Andrei Zmievski

The sunset outside of my old home town was amazing. Tranquility. Makes you think. I will be making changes in my life.

— Helgi Þormar Þorbjörnsson

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