Lost in the dev world

I worked for money only 4 months in 2020.

First because of lockdown, then because my mission ended and my employer could not find a new one (well they found some, but the client cancelled at the last moment).

I've been waiting since July and as I explained in my 2020 restrospective, this free time allowed me to move forward on the personal side, as well as building my own tools, writing a lot" and renovating my apartment.

But on the profesionnal side, I'm in a dead end.

I don't fit in the definition of frontend developer, which now seems to mean backend developer in the browser for over-complex technical stacks in JavaScript.
— Me, Earlier this year

Then I discovered Sara Soueidan great 'hire me' page. I was relieved to see that the role I try to explain to others is called Design Engineer. People like me do exist after all!

But wait, are design engineers that needed?

But I quickly realized that my employer's clients (and probably the vast majority of companies that are not startups) have no idea that people like us exist. Those companies started hiring UX designers 3 years ago. They just discovered design systems. And when they agree to make one, it's always to make the current designs fit inside it instead of starting over and ask the good questions.

Yes, they sometimes care about accessibility, but not that much. That's a public posture, how can you be against accessibility? When they have a designer, he might see a design system as a constraint and blocks its adoption (been there, saw that).

You may think "What's the problem, can't you just change jobs?!" and you are right! I tried and did around ten jobs interviews mostly with modern startups or companies. But for two teams in need of someone like me there was eight graphql perverts trying to corner me into a role I didn't want to play.

As for the remaining teams, they considered they could need me, but not now. They see design engineering as a cost, not as a benefit. I suppose they will only consider it when everything is a mess and they want to start over.

To escape this situation, I thought about freelancing. Maybe design engineering is better suited for freelancers as you start projects or fix them, then leave it to in-house developers?

I've considered it seriously, looked into it, and decided it wasn't for me (yet). You see, France's digital world (even the infamous FrenchTech) is not only late in technologies and development practices, it's also super late at paying bills (and very, very insistant at lowering rates).

I've heard horror stories about 12 to 24 months late payments. So most freelancers I know try to avoid working with French companies now, and focus on US clients.

I think I don't have the mental fortitude to deal with this or build a new US based network.

It's not the code, it's the environment

So salaried employment is my only solution!

I've had a proprosition to become a teacher for a bootcamp. Considering I wrote a massive HTML guide, CSS good practices and methodologies as well as an analysis about the JavaScript ecosystem and keeps a page about alternative frameworks, I might be a good fit.

I should probably apply. But I enjoy coding HTML, CSS and JavaScript sooooo much.

I just don't enjoy the environment in which I do it anymore. Rich but cheap companies, change aware managers, agile methodologies as a justification for bad project management, massive technical debt piloting the roadmap. I'm fed up. All of this makes me want to give back my keyboard and call it a day.

What blocks from doing it (and accepting this teaching job) is an absurd feeling that it would mean giving up and I'm not desperate enough to give up yet.

So if you are not a cheap, organisational change aware, yolo agile, Javascript evangelical tech bro spirit company and need a design engineer, feel free to contact me using the links below.

I'd love to hear that you exist.

Initially published: January 25th, 2021
Generated: March 13th, 2022