On becoming a Web-first dev

By: Luc May 7 2023 6 minutes read.
The author is available for employment.

Should you or your company interested, please check out my resume

for further contact information.

Remote positions only.

Update as of 2023/12: This article is dated and reflects my feelings around back-end development with .NET at that time. Today, I am open to work using .NET 6+.

Disclaimer: To any .NET/Azure developer, if you love the technology, keep using it. This article just reflects my personal interests and experiences. I have nothing against the ecosystem.

The truth is I always been a Web developer, but overtime my role has fluctuated and I ended up classified as a “.NET developer”.

It all began in 2015, when I got my first job as a PHP web developer. I hacked my way through a big codebase that used a mixture of PHP, jQuery and a lot of vanilla JavaScript.

I got used to the web, and more specificilly to build patches and find crazy workarounds to problems. At that time, web development was pain, you had to support Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. We didn’t have fancy transpilers (at least in this team we didn’t used them).

Want to add a feature? In this codebase? Good luck! Because touching the code for the module “X” will probably affect the module “Y” that didnt had anything in common (in the business sense), but the code vas very coupled.

I got introduced to the .NET framework back-end, and naturally I showed more interest on it, the language was typed that meant not crazy undefined errors, the code was not that tidy but it was much better than the one we had on the front-end.

I liked it, and I chosed to move forward with it.

Note: PHP can be great today, and I am sure that at that time, it was possible to build something good! But the impression I got was bad because of the poor codebase.

Time moved on, I focused on the back-end for a while. Learned Entity framework, Design patterns and how to build everything in a Java-esque Object oriented way.

Later in my career I got introduced to React, and gosh did I loved it. Everything started to make sense a lot on the front-end, we could build tiny parts that composed a Page, and those pages composed the whole app!

Note: I am working for an outsourcing company.

I was working on this team, and I was having a blast building user interfaces and interactibility on the client. I got a lot of pride on some of the features we shipped too!.

The back-end tasks started to look like chores and I started avoiding them as I was not feeling motivated enough to do them (compared to front-end).

This got even better when I learned about TypeScript on my free time, this just clicked everything for me. All my C# knowledge transfered very well to complement my TypeScript.

At work, I still had the “.NET developer” title, but I always called myself a “Full-stack developer”.

The client project ended. I was assigned to R&D which is basically a mixture between free-time to learn and internal projects, still working for this company, and they were looking for a new client to give me a project. I used that free time to complete a TypeScript course.

Job interviews, all “Back-end” and “.NET” interviews, I was not ready.

Note: When you work for an outsourcing company there is a limit you can be without a client assigned, and when you are assigned to R&D, you will have to face job interviews at some point.

I got a new assigment, it was good, but didn’t had front-end, it did had legacy HTML for e-mail, I got to play around with HTML table elements. (didn’t enjoyed it but I got the job done)

That assigment ended too.

I went back to R&D, this time I got assigned as front-end developer for a internal project, I meet another web developer, I started talking to him and we did a lot of pair-programming.

We work with a Next front-end using TypeScript, and we are gonna use Node for the backend API.

I loved it, I felt “at home” again.

Another “.NET developer” interview was scheduled for me, there was no mention of front-end technologies, I could not handle the situation any more.

I called my community leader (kinda like a couch, for carreer development): “I want to stop being a .NET developer, and continue my career as Web developer.”, he agreed.

Note: this company divides developer into “communities”, for example “C# and .NET developers”, “Java developers” and “Web developers”. The later being mostly front-end, but they also had some Node/Next in their stack.

I got in contact with the Web community manager, I showed him a lot of projects from my Github, the source code of my website, and some side projects. He was happy with my knowledge and the fact that I used TypeScript correctly and avoided using any.

I felt happy, I was no longer tied to .NET or Microsoft technologies any more.

I am still working on this project. At home I am learning more and more about Next, and also having fun with other frameworks like “Nuxt” and “Sveltekit”.

My love for back-end code isn’t gone, I learned about serveless infraestructure and the edge runtime.

I hope you liked my story, and If you happen to be stuck on one role that you don’t like, take this as a motivation to at least talk to someone about it.

Be well.

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