What do you actually do? Tech job titles | Big Tech on Point Podcast

Hi everyone. I’m Johno welcome to another episode of big tech on point #btop this episode, we’re talking about what do you actually do? We’re gonna explain some job titles.

I know this is something that causes a huge amount of frustration and confusion for people about what all of these people that have something to do with websites or apps or something. What these job titles roughly mean? I can’t cover all of them. This isn’t like a , a standardized industry where we have, you know, a registered nurse does a job and a ward sister does a job. It’s not like that . It is much more fluid, but I’m gonna try and cover some of them off really, really quickly it in hopefully 10 minutes or less. But if you’ve seen my episodes, you’ll note that I really struggle with that 10 minute rule , but we are trying, okay.

So we’re gonna start off with IT support. This is the person who you call when I can’t get my computer to turn on. And the one that says, if you try to turn it off and on again, like it’s an episode of the it crowd, okay? That is your it support. They help you with this really Eric level of stuff.

Moving on, we have tech support. Tech support will support you in a really specific thing. So it might be the HP tech support line and they will help you anything to do with your HP printer and figure out what specialized help you need. You’ll find tech support with most companies, they support the thing they built , but they don’t support anything else. And that is different to IT support cause they will support whatever is in front of the user, usually ish, or they will signpost you to go and get the support that you need when the next bit gets a little bit complicated.

And I’m sorry, there’s really two main fields of development in most , uh , especially in web environments. And what I mean by web environments is you can access it through your browser. That is the front end and the back end . I’ll wait a second for you to laugh because I’ve been told that apparently it’s quite funny when we start talking about the front end of stuff, and I do need to go off on a little bit of a tangent here because when you talk to people that aren’t technical, but help you manage websites, they’ll often talk about the front end of your website. The bit you can see in the back end , the admin in panel, that’s not the correct terminology, that’s the website and the admin panel.

So we’re not talking about that, but a front and developer in as simple terms, as possible deal with the things that you can see and interact with on a website. So the stuff that when you load up safari or Chrome or up or Firefox or Explorer or edge or whatever it is you’re using on whatever device it is you’re using. So their jobs have , have got more complicated. As mobile has become more prevalent. These people will deal with all of the things to do with what you can see, what happens on your device, your laptop, your computer, your tablet, your phone, your whatever.

Then you have backend developers and backend developers work on things that happen on the server itself. Okay? So if something affects own a select subsection of users, people that are using Firefox on windows 10 or whatever, that’s usually an issue for front end developers. If it affects everyone is probably an issue for backend developers sweeping generalization, but we’re gonna try and go with that.

Okay. If it happens on the server, it’s the backend. If it happens on the phone, on the app, on the website, on the, whatever this front end generally. So front end developer works on things on the back or on the front side on things that you can hold in touch. Backend developer works on things that are on servers. You also get what’s called a full stack developer. That just means they do both. So you then might find yourself with a language or vendor developers. So you might have heard of terms like a WordPress developer. That means they build everything, but all within WordPress and usually with some sort of specialty speciality in there somewhere, or a allow avail developer or a symphony developer, and these are all different kind of vendors that sit on top of languages. Generally, all developers will be working with a language maybe PHP or JavaScript or Java, Java and JavaScript are not the same thing. Uh , the .net stack, which would be sort of cb.net , asp.net and so on their windows technologies. And we fall into a couple of camps , but generally speaking, we can sort of agree, ish, that Linux stuff is one camp windows stuff is another, a PHP Java node . They all sit and run on kind of not node so much, but they sit on and usually we’ll run on Linux servers, ASP do net . And so on. We’ll sit on windows servers. You don’t really need to know it. It’s just a handy little Tippit to know that they’re kind of like, it’s kind like Manchester United Manchester city. They don’t really, it’s not , they don’t like each other so much like a bunch of tech nerds. Aren’t gonna go and beat themselves up over whether or not they chose windows or Linux, but they’re not gonna like think the same. They’re like two different rival gangs. And that’s how I want you to kind of remember it.

So they’re moving onto the more sort of web developer jobs with web designers and they designed things and web developers, and often these two are sort of changeable and it really depends on do they design things in illustrate or Photoshop or some sort of graphic tool and present it to you and then go and build it or have someone else build it as a design. Sometimes you’ll find that a web designer or web design developer will do that bit design it, pitch it to you, all of that stuff. And then they’ll go and code it as well. But they probably can’t also do the backend. Don’t tend to find someone does design front and backend development. It’s quite a lot of skills if they do. They’re a very good generalist, but won’t have the same level of skill that someone who only does frontend development would do. And as with all things, that’s the kind of trade off you’re looking at is, well, if they’re a full stack developer, they’re probably not particularly specialized in either . And , and full stack. Developers will often talk about themselves in like a percentage or ratio. So they’ll say, oh , you know, 70% front and 30% backend. And that just gives you an idea as to where their skill sets .

We then have UI designers, which is a little bit different from being a web designer, because essentially this is where a server side developer has said to them. I need you to build me a UI or user interface for what UI stands for and that UI, I need it to search through your friends list and you need to be able to select up to 10 of them so that you can send them an invite to like a page or whatever it’s. And the UI designer will go and find a way to use UI elements like dropdowns or buttons or check boxes or whatever different typography and stuff to make that appealing for the user versus a UX developer or UX designer, sorry.

A UX designer kind of does UI design, but they also do web design and they might look into accessibility and stuff as well. And UX is a very, very broad, almost specialized role , this talking about user experience. And that will cover everything from lead conversion to customer experience, which is obviously a big industry customer experience is one thing. User experience is specific to the platform you’re using on, but it’s essentially the customer’s experience and that can be affected by anything, including the page speed . So they might make recommendations around page load times and in reducing the amount that the user has to download. And that will all be encapsulated within user experience.

We then have programmers and developers, and it doesn’t, they’re quite often prefixed or suffix with stuff. So you might be a senior backend developer or junior frontend developer or anything like that. But generally speaking, a programmer or a developer writes code , that’s their primary purpose. That is their job. They write the code that is different generally to an engineer. So a software engineer or a systems engineer who solves problems usually by writing code, but it’s a fundamentally different mindset and different place where you start from, as an engineer, you are given usually some kind of a business problem or something that needs improving and you come up with a solution for it. And that’s kind of a key word there solution. They come up for a solution to a problem. They don’t code the thing they were asked to necessarily, but they go and solve a problem.

And then we move on from engineers to architects and architects, again, come with various prefixes and self fixes . There might be a cloud architect that might be a systems architect, but what an architect does is they look more strategically at the whole overview of what’s going on and they may or may not also be an engineer and a developer and so on. So forth, depending on the size of the team they’re in, but the architect will look at it more strategically. They’ll think about what the future aspirations for this thing are. They’ll think about how we going to make sure that we don’t came with vendors, which is something that I talked about in one of my episodes. And they will kind of look at a much higher level.

Now, sometimes your architect will also do frontline coding. Sometimes they won’t depends on the size of the team, depends on the environment they’re in time constraints and everything else as a general rule , architecture and engineering or architecture from engineering is kind of a career step just as a general rule .

So you kind of go from development where you write the code that someone tells you to you become an engineer where you solve the problems that the business has presented to you and potentially you then ask developers to help you because you’ve decided how this thing needs to be fixed or solved. And as an architect, you then generally will say, right , we’ve got, I know these systems all gonna talk to travel like this, and these servers are gonna work like this, and this is how this layout’s gonna work to make sure we can cope with however many users we’re supposed to have or whatever that thing is. And that will kind of tie in with your server guys and your server guys, generally, they don’t have <laugh> , they might be called server engineers. They might be given any number of names, but you generally have server guys and the server guys, or girls they will look after the servers themselves.

Okay. So they’re not really that worried about the code. They’re not really that worried about anything except servers, which stay online for a good proportion of the times and 99.9 or 99.9 , nine or 99.9, nine , nine or 99.99 , nine , 9% of the time. Or they have a really good failover and stuff like that. And that will be kind of infrastructure or server or a team with that kind of name. And that is their job.

So there’s all these different roles in smaller environments. They may well be covered by the same person who does full stack development, kind of based on the businesses problems and also sort , sort of plans for the future. And also looks after the servers, or you might be in a much bigger environment where you’ve got a team of infrastructure specialists that deal with all of your different servers and low balances and firewalls and all kinds of stuff like that. A team of front end developers, or maybe multiple teams of front end developers or full stack or backend developers, but this is kind of their general roles and what those roles mean as simply as possible.

And just finally to touch on app developers. Sometimes they might be an Android app developer, which means they build apps for Android. They might be an iOS developer, which means they build apps for well iPhones and iPads and Macs maybe. And sometimes they’ll be hybrid app developers, which means they use some kind of a middle a technology. That means they build one app and that can deploy to Android and Apple, which a lot of businesses go for. Cause it means you’ve only got the one thing to look after that.

I think summarizes some of the job titles and hopefully demystifies what these job titles actually mean. Remember, developers will not fix your mouse or your printer for you. I’m Johno the Coder, @johnothecoder #btop. This is big tech on point and hopefully I’ve just demystified job titles a little bit for you . See you next time.

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