Having doubts about programming - would love to hear from someone in the industry

I’m in my second year of a Bachelor of Information Technology (bachelor degrees are 3 years in duration where I live, not 4). I’m really enjoying it, including the subjects in programming (primarily Java, some Python, also SQL if that counts). I have also learned a lot of C on the side because I like the efficiency of it.
I have recently on request written a native Android app in Kotlin. The app works well, it’s light, fast, and it hasn’t crashed while internal testers were playing with it, but I thought I was going to chew my own foot off with boredom and frustration writing the front end code.

I have nothing but admiration for people who can design and code a wonderful GUI. I am very bad at that; I have more of a mindset where I like taking things apart to see what makes them tick and see if I can make them tick more smoothly. How they look doesn’t bother me so much.

My experience with the Android app is worrying me. I realise not all developer jobs are front end jobs but in job searches it appears a lot are and I don’t know how many jobs that just say “developer” are primarily front end, given how important the front end is.
Are there jobs in programming open to graduates that have more to do with creative math than graphic design/implementation?

It’s important to remember that a lot of developers who work on the frontent are totally shit at design (including me). It’s true that a lot of the industry wants full stack developers, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots of developers who rarely, if ever, touch front end code. Even on teams of full stack developers, I’ve seen people manage to avoid touching the frontend. (Interestingly, I haven’t seen frontend developers as dedicated to avoiding the backend as backend developers avoiding the fontend.)


Thanks for the reply :slight_smile:
Re your comment about back end devs avoiding the front more than the other way around - I can see that. I think being good at front end is a real gift! Even if there is no design involved, implementing it requires a different way of seeing things, I reckon. My app was very basic in design, but just having to go back and fiddle with the padding around the buttons and checkboxes was infuriating compared to figuring out how to save eSignatures to a database. Horses for courses!

Speaking from my own experience who has been a software engineer at a small company for over 6.5 years (creating web applications, console applications, DB code, you name it), I have more of an affinity for back-end work than I do front-end. But, I’ve really templatized my front-end work to make it more accessible to me, and to my newest developer team member. So, if you are able to get into a role into a small company, and you are among the first to create a system, try to templatize it from the beginning.

I have heard of larger companies splitting up their engineering work into various roles, so I believe you can successfully go for pure back-end type jobs that might more fit your needs.

All of that is to say if that you are very unhappy with the front-end aspect of crafting UIs, I would go ahead and only apply at companies with at least 100+ employees.


I’m from a design background and I’m a developer, worked in several jobs, done an awful lot of frontend (though working primarily backend now). But I very rarely meet other developers who have any design skills to speak of, it’s IME rare. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Frontend does require a set of common skills, but those common skills don’t generally involve any design (whether that is a good thing or not :man_shrugging:t3:).

As an aside, and bearing in mind I’m very interested in the design side, when people ask for examples of well-designed applications/sites, this is normally my go-to example:

It’s not pretty. It’s just works. It’s very well designed.


Yes. Very much so, it’s incredibly useful.


The other option I have is to not go for a developer job at all. IT is a broader degree than Computer Science. I am keeping my options open - cybersecurity is something I’m pretty passionate about.

I’ll definitely keep thinking about it

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