Back to all posts

Stop expecting tools, start expecting understanding

In my role at the academy, I speak to a lot of companies about their needs for new developer staff. With the current big trend towards front-end applications and JavaScript frameworks, I’m seeing that companies are increasingly making skills with specific frameworks a requirement within their job ads. I will always, always advise against that.
Here’s why.
A developer with an understanding of vanilla JavaScript – who has dabbled with a few of the most popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks – will be able to pick up new frameworks and libraries with ease.
Companies expecting years of experience with React / Angular / [insert your favourite framework here] are entirely missing the point. Would you rather hire a developer who can only write React, or someone with a real depth of understanding of JavaScript who can pick up any framework?
Unfortunately there are far too many developers in the industry today who were ‘brought up’ on a particular tool or framework, rather than understanding the fundamentals of a language before picking up its tools. As an industry we need to start encouraging training organisations to focus on vanilla languages when teaching beginners, not on shiny new tools.
At Mayden Academy we’re determined to ensure that our graduates are set up for long term careers, not for skills that will plug short term gaps in the job market for now. Sure, we teach tools and frameworks too, but we don’t touch them until our students have a solid understanding of the technologies behind them.
Hiring people who have experience in specific tools / frameworks is no a bad thing. But don’t make it a requirement for your junior level positions. If you’re making specific tools or frameworks a requirement for a junior position, I’d suggest you take a good look at the position you are trying to fill. Is it really a junior developer you need?
Invest in junior developers by recruiting people who understand vanilla technologies, and then teaching them your particular toolset. My guess is that this will vastly increase your potential hiring pool.