Weeknotes #4

This week felt much like a continuation of the last, what with the first half spent in bed fending off a virus. I also reached a point of reflection regarding my job search, which I can now furnish with the relevant names.

I finally got confirmation from Nationwide Building Society that I wouldn’t be progressing to the next stage after a phone interview with them several weeks ago. Given the bureaucracy experienced during the application process and the questions asked during the call, I had lost interest anyway. Last week I interviewed for a role at the Royal Academy of the Arts, but on Friday learnt that I was the runner-up applicant. This is a great shame; I couldn’t have wished to work for nicer people or a more interesting organisation. The role seemed perfectly aligned with my particular set of skills, too. In my last weeknote I mentioned that I was scheduled to have another interview this week before the vacancy was recinded. Well, that was for FutureGov, another role suited to my hybrid abilities.

So, back to square one. As I begin a new search, some unwelcome patterns are emerging. So far I’ve been drawn towards developer-orientated roles; working with HTML, CSS and JavaScript (in that order) to implement designs and ensure products are accessible and performant. However, it seems such work no longer exists. People talk about full-stack development, but nearly every job I’ve seen containing the words ‘front-end’ has React as a requirement. The gatekeeping is real. Do I need to return to my natural home of interaction design, banished to the land of drawing rectangles in Sketch? Or is it just the case that my broad skillset is poorly suited to large, product-orientated organisations that are more siloed? Part of me also wonders how suppressed the job market is at the moment, what with the continuing uncertainly/imminent catastrophe that is Brexit. This right-wing fever dream has been affecting my mental health in a real and sustained way for over two years; Government sanctioned anxiety.

Thankfully, a few things cheered me up, not least Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family. I’ve never been a fan of Dyer’s, but since his reincarnation as a national treasure and Brexit truth sayer, he’s become far easier to watch. An earlier appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? revealed him to be a descendent of Edward III, and in this two-part series Dyer learns more about his ancestors, often by dressing up and reenacting aspects of their lives. Entertaining and informative, you might say this show is a modern interpretation of Reithian values.

Yesterday being Groundhog Day, I binged on Russian Doll, Netflix’s latest comedy about a woman in New York who is repeatedly reliving the last hours of her life, at least until she can find a way to break the loop. I typically avoid American series. Stretched over 20+ episodes, they can feel overly drawn out — The Good Place being one recent example. That this series is just eight episodes long meant the story maintained a good pace before reaching a satisfying conclusion.

Finally, I received two very interesting e-mails resulting from my previous weeknotes. I don’t have comments enabled on this site, but do send me a message if anything resonates.

Digest

Noteworthy articles I’ve read over the last seven days:

  • NPM Uninstall Facebook

    Sharing Andy’s disgust of Facebook, its products and the people behind them, I’m happy to support his project which seeks to underline how much influence they exert via open source projects. Easy to dismiss of course, but as Jamais Cascio once wrote:

    Software, like all technologies, is inherently political… code inevitably reflects the choices, biases, and desires of its creators.

    I think we need to think carefully about the biases and choices that may be reflected in the code bases of these projects.

  • How do you figure?

    Like Chris, I also got the memo that an image enclosed within a <figure> element with an accompanying <figcaption> didn’t need alternative text. But it’s not true! Scott O’Hara details the correct approach.

  • HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points

    I’ve been enjoying the deliberate and thoughtful articles published over the last few months regarding what it means to be a front-end developer in 2019, of which Rachel’s is the latest addition:

    If we make it so that you have to understand programming to even start, then we take something open and enabling, and place it back in the hands of those who are already privileged. I have plenty of fight left in me to stand up against that.

    I’m privileged, yet even I’m starting to feel shut out and alienated. As my job search will attest, an entire swathe of my profession is being diminished by the apparent needs of programmers, engineers and the business models that support them. Frustrating on a personal level, but also infuriating when you consider how such gatekeeping is limiting welcome attempts to diversify our industry.