Boring intro; exciting annoucement

At the beginning of 2011, I’ve been appointed to hire somebody to fill a front-end developer position. I had to assess their technical knowledge and to give a hiring recommendation. All followed by training them to the needed level of expertise.

Preparing for the task at hand I researched tests and training material for front-end developers. Nothing. That was bizarre but I didn’t make much of it at the time.

We’ve read hundreds of resumes and selected about 25 participants for the technical interview. This process took us more than five months and only two candidates received my seal of approval.

Don’t think the test was hard! This was an ongoing discussion with my colleagues during the recruitment process. I decided not to make it easier that it is since I was the one responsible of fixing bugs in the new code; and that on top of my normal work.

After the inefficient hiring process was over and we’ve found what we’ve been looking for, we got to the training part. I had 2 months of 2 hours per day to get someone from interview-level to holy-moly-I-am-responsible-of-dozens-of-thousands-of-css-code-lines-level expertise. It may sound like plenty of time but it all distills to mostly a 80 hour window to make an impact. Seeing how poorly all the candidates presented themselves, my skepticism was at its highest.

This is when I’ve realized how small the market for front-end developers really is. I believe this is the case because there is no proper documentation online for this job. I am not talking about slicing a brochure site, but handling an enterprise level web application’s markup and css.

So, I woke up early, and while enjoying a cup of tea I’ve busted my brains and came up with a list of things that a qualified front-end developer must know. I had an outline. It was brilliant and following it made the training a success.

Actually I am so happy of how my plan turned out that—after this long, boring intro I can get to the meaty part of the story—I’ve decided to write a book. I don’t want to throw all my work and gathered resources away as I am sure it will help others.

The book will be distributed as HTML, of course, and will be creative commons licensed. That means it will be free and available for derivative work so that anybody can improve it. I plan on releasing the first chapters in January 2012 and finishing it by spring 2012.

For me it’s monumental task. The vast majority of people I look up to are brilliant with words and so I started blogging to improve the way I express myself in writing. But to write book? Even though it is mostly technical, I don’t know if I am ready. All I know is that there is a need for it and, for me at least, it will be one hell of a ride.