Disclaimer: This article is highly opinionated on the role of a front-end developer. Although I have a decade of experience as a frontend developer and a few years as a manager, please keep in mind that these views are still my personal opinions. Also, you may feel like perfectly capable of doing both roles, if that is the case, you are my hero (and there will always be an open spot for you in my teams!).
Front-end developers are like pizza toppings - some people like them all mixed together, while others prefer them separated. As long as you don't put pineapple on it. (Yes, I am Italian, and I consider pineapple on pizza a crime).
Let's pretend, for the sake of this article, that pineapple is fine. In the world of web development, there are two distinct types of front-end developers, and they're as different as parma ham and pineapple.
While this distinction may not be readily apparent to those who are not well-versed in the intricacies of front-end development or to hiring managers, it is crucial to recognize that front-end developers are not a monolithic group. In fact, they often possess unique specializations and skills that set them apart from one another, much like the contrasting flavours of parma ham and pineapple. It is a common misconception to assume that a front-end developer is just a front-end developer, without any particular areas of expertise or focus. This oversimplification can lead to misunderstandings and mismatches in expectations, which ultimately hinders the effectiveness of both the developers and the teams they work with.
Then there are the "old school" front-end developers. They're like the Michelangelos of web development, focusing on the aesthetics of a website. They use HTML, CSS, and other technologies to create beautiful and accessible interfaces that cater to a wide range of users. They're like the chefs of web development, adding just the right amount of seasoning to make the website look and feel amazing. They also focus on animations and user interaction.
Not only will identifying and defining the type of front-end developer your company needs to benefit your organization, but it will also increase the likelihood of having a satisfied employee. As I consistently advocate in every workplace: happy employees lead to better products.