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Front-End Architect

At last year’s CSS Dev Conf, one of the more outstanding presentations I saw was Micah Godbolt’s “Raising a Banner for the Front-End Architect.” It was a powerful and motivational piece that aimed to bring recognition to the fact that front end development is development, and that as a discipline, front end development is every bit as nuanced and challenging as any other aspect of development. Even before the talk had ended, I changed my Twitter profile to include “Front-End Architect,” not as a job title, but more as a complete description of my role on our team at RP3 Agency.

Today, “Front-End Architect” officially became my job title. After recent and long-standing bouts of self-doubt (am I too old? am I too female? am I too front-end focused to be considered a “real” developer?), I see this redefinition of my position as something of a validation that front-end architecture is as vital to the process of bringing a website to life as the application or system architecture.

Development is not limited to Java, or PHP, or Node.js. Despite the options in a Stack Overflow survey, specializing in Sass and CSS is just as crucial to the development of a successful website as any other part of it. Even if what you code can only be executed in a browser and not on a linux server, without it websites would be nothing, would look like nothing, and the whole web would still look like this.

I’m also, by terms of skillsets, a full-stack developer. I not only code in Sass and front-end JavaScript, but in PHP building WordPress themes and plugins. But throughout my career, my heart has been in the code that has made it to the browser—HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—and while I’m stronger in some sides of that triangle than I am in the other, it’s still a complete, complex, and challenging discipline that has languished in its own imposter syndrome for far too long.

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