Okay I might be talking out of turn here or might not know what I am talking about really as I have not done much research on this, but is there still going to be a future for Front End development or Back End development?
I am studying full stack development as i would like to one day break away from the corporate world and have my own thing developing websites. But now with WordPress or even Wix anyone can now design and get there own websites up with all the bells and whistles. So will there still be a need for developers moving into that direction? OR am i wrong in thinking this, is there more to what we do then what Wordpress/Wix can do?
There have been tools like Wix or Wordpress since the 90’s. The thing is that they’re simplistic, it’s the difference between a human being and a toy (not that websites built with these tools are less worthy or anything like that, they just have less distinction, less security and less performance, usually), you can always tell the difference and you will never want that for most kinds of businesses. Most blogs do want these types of tools, however.
It’s not a competition, the type of client that wants a website built like wordpress or wix isn’t the type of client that wants to buy a custom-made website. If the product you’re offering is better (security, design, performance, etc…), they will want your work. As i mentioned, this dichotomy always existed, website building tools vs programmers, and it will probably continue to exist for a very long time.
Yeah, of course Wix and Wordpress will take some of the low hanging fruit of easy sites and people that don’t want to stand out. Those services will keep getting better and better and will take more and more. But keep in mind that the market for web sites will also be expanding. Which will expand faster? It’s hard to tell. My hunch is that Wix and WP will expand slightly faster than the market expands, but not by much.
Of course, this also means that there will be jobs for people to work with those services. Some people will be content to have a cookie cutter site in the beginning, but once cash starts rolling in and they expand they’ll want (or need) to migrate to something custom. Or some guy who sells gloves on the internet doesn’t want to spend the time learning Wix so he hires you to come in and finish it. Plus there are lots of potential for programmers to make custom themes and apps. And since we are getting ways to write phone apps with html/css/JS, there is a whole new market opening up.
I have a friend that writes/arranges big band jazz charts for a living. There is a guy out there (He Who Shall Not Be Named - if you’re in the field, you know his name and you spit every time you hear it to prevent him from taking your soul) that sells absolutely horrible charts for dirt cheap. Even if you discount him, there are a lot of crappy arrangements being sold out there that are either low quality or just plain uninspired. My friend just laughs. I ask him why it doesn’t bother him and he says, “Most of them eventually realize that those arrangements are either crap or sound like every one else’s. I basically make a living fixing those charts. Usually I have to start from scratch. It keeps me in business.”
That’s kind of how I look at it.
I felt this way for a long time…at first everyone wanted me to design a site for them but then as wix and such got more popular, they were like shoot, I can do it myself, free even… but at least I could still design for them…but nope, with all the new apps out that can whip up graphics fast (and also free) my customer base pretty much dwindled to zero. Well, I did have the occasional person offer to throw me work…for the generous price of exposure. Um. No.
In all that, along the way, from every angle people were telling me my skills just arent marketable anymore because of all the tools, free tools avail to do the same thing. and for years that made me so incredibly sad…like jeez, no this is what I want to do, I cant be totally useless…can i?! tears!
BUT …this recently came to me, and I kick myself for not realizing this sooner…the people who are happy with free website builders and graphic apps are not my market. They dont want…or even need a custom site. Their website is low down on their list of priorities…all they know is, they should probably have one, now they do, done and done. Its not important to them. That is not my market…besides, I dont just want to make a nice looking website, I want to actually create, develop, be a part of something innovative.
Having said all that, in the past year there has been a shift…a lot more people are asking me to help them with their wix site because they want to do something but cant figure out how. They are now realizing the limitations and want my help. Ive even had a friend tell me I could make money helping people customize thier wix because she and a lot of people find it too complicated but I have never looked into how wix works, and never will… Unless they hire me as a developer. Then I might consider it. LOL
I agree with what others have already stated, the people choosing to use these tools are not the market we are or should be aiming for. I think it’s like saying there is no need to cook anymore because we can just grab some fast food.(And yes I know people like that ) But the reality is that their selection is poor and the quality is low. You can do so much more then what they present you. Fullstack developers are like professional cooks and those tools are like fast food “cooks”. They really are just on totally different leves.
Just thought I would point out that Wordpress is not some low end website builder.
These are just a few. There are many big business that want Wordpress, and using it is not something that “[others]can always tell the difference”. Besides, most websites on Wordpress are made with custom themes and plugins built by people like us. Wordpress helps manage content for people, it does not necessarily create content.
There’s an important distinction to be made here. Wix et al. deliver web pages. Web developers build web apps. The certifications you get here qualify you for much more than tweaking some CSS or make a single, static page for “Sgt. Tony’s Pizza Cafe”. Small businesses with a small-business web budget can find a niece or nephew to build a quick WordPress page with a dinner menu and a link to Yelp. That’s not your competition.
Web applications do stuff. Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and even the 4-15% of the internet that’s ahem quite naughty all require much more than just static HTML can provide. Client code needs to request, receive, parse, process, and display data that comes from the backend, which itself is doing a lot. Web programming is programming, and this is only going to get more involved as WebAssembly finally crawls out of the primordial ooze. Web code is increasingly coming to the desktop and mobile, as well. Wix could, theoretically, churn out Electron or React Native apps, but they’d be limited in scope and licensing would be complicated.
Don’t forget the irony in all of this - Wix and WordPress are web applications. They require programmers to write, maintain, and contribute to.
Thank you all your your input and I agree with all of your answers.
How then do you market yourself to those companies, what do you look for to say well you should rather go this route than a Wordpress? (what do you look for?)
No experience with this yet, so my thinking is pretty simplistic here…
Id just avoid companies whose focus is on just wanting someone to maintain their WP site, or companies who only do WP themes etc. Honestly, theres nothing wrong with WP at all in my opinion, but if thats not the path you want to be on, dont apply to those companies. WP is just one tool / platform…not the end all or even the most popular.
I think its a matter of shifting your perspective from only thinking about web design for a single end user, to a broader scope that includes the various web technologies out there that developers are needed for to create and maintain.
I seduce them with a fan dance.
But your job isn’t to convince anyone of anything. There are about a bajillion unfilled web developer positions, so you’ll be taking one of them.
Wordpress or Wix have limitations and thats why people will always need developers to develop their site. THE END
Like others have said, things like WYSIWYGs do a simple enough job, but for real security, serious design and for a proper high-end website, front end, back end, and full stack developers will be needed. That market will exist for quite some time, because of one thing I think holds true: Many non-developers and non-technical people don’t want to spend the time trying to learn how to do certain things, and just want it done. A lot of such people also don’t want to pay for it, but on the other side of the coin there will be those who will pay for it because they need a good website.
Don’t lose heart.
i think the line between frontend and backend will start to blur (even more than now). If you think about it, in hardware engineering, there was an additional layer called firmware. or you can simulate hardware with VHDL programming.
as more tools become available, you should have more backend guys touching frontend and vice versa.
I think there is always be a future for Front-end and Back-end development, because even though such services like WordPress, Wix etc. provide a really platform for building a website to those who aren’t familiar with programming language, it will never be as good as creating a website from scratch. I found this article https://www.cleveroad.com/blog/cost-to-build-a-website and it says, for example, that back-end is the heart of your website that makes all the main features work. So I doubt that Front/Back End development will ever be unnecessary.
Small companys will use stuff like wordpress. Big companys need full control of their management and will use a different CMS like Episerver or Umbraco. Wordpress is very limited. But I think lot of backend stuff will move online like Firebase, so you can just use frontend for everything after that, like using React or Vue and have Firebase manage all your authentication etc.