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  • Episode 103

Most front end work is solving common problems with fundamental skills

In today’s episode, I talk about how most programming is actually pretty mundane.


Hello, hello, hello. This is the Vanilla JavaScript Podcast. I’m Chris Ferdinandi. Thanks so much for joining me.

Today, I’m talking about how most of what programming is, it’s actually pretty mundane. Let’s dig in.

So one of the most reassuring and surprising things that I learned early in my career is that a majority of the people that you look up to in this industry are self-taught and don’t have a CS degree.

And I found that really surprising because so much of the conference talks that happen are around people who seem to know a lot of really deep stuff about how computers work and a lot of the interview process is around things like algorithms and solving these really weirdly complex problems.

So the thing that really struck me was that just because a vocal minority of developers at those big tech companies all have PhDs in computer science doesn’t actually mean that the typical developer does.

And to be honest, most tech interviews evaluate people on things that have absolutely nothing to do with what we actually do every day. Most front-end work is really just solving common and repeatable problems using fundamental skills. And so from my perspective, what that means is that the skills that really matter for a developer aren’t being able to memorize all these complex algorithms or have this deep computer science modeling thing going on in your head.

It’s being able to break problems down into smaller parts and look up solutions to those smaller problems effectively. Anything else is just noise.

And any interview process that focuses more on the algorithmic stuff and less on the actual tasks of your job is a fundamentally flawed interview process.

So anyways, that’s it for today.

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