There’s a pretty good article about job titles in the current ColdFusion Developer’s Journal:
Are the Job Titles “Web Designer” and “Web Developer” Too General? – There are a lot of professions that have emerged from the web: designers, developers, strategists, search engine optimists, information architects, usability and accessibility consultants, the list goes on… Today, I’d like to talk about the first two. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the titles should be considered harmful by any means, rather we have just outgrown our job titles!
My favorite part is where the author, at his most recent job, gave himself the title “Front End Engineer”, because it seemed to fit what he was doing. As it happens, just yesterday Nat (Papovich, Lead Architect here) and I were having a discussion about how, with the recent evolution of rich applications in the Web development realm, it’s time for a more-or-less official title of UI Developer. There’s no doubt now that the proliferation of development tools/languages/frameworks/etc. that are solely focused on producing better UIs means that there’s a whole lot more programming that happens just in the UI layer of an application. Just taking one tool as an example–Flex–requires proficiency in a range of skills, including OO development (ideally, but not required), CSS, Actionscript, MXML, and more.
In our development practice, we certainly see this playing out. We typically have several developers working solely on the UI layer, be it AJAX (in its million different forms), Flex, etc.
On a related note, I recently read about the new workflow integrations between Flex and design tools, which is a great thing. What I find interesting about the “UI Developer” role is that, on average, I think it entails developers learning better graphic design, usability, and other “designer” skills more so than it entails designers learning to program. But that’s a side note to the whole story. The bottom line is, the fact that we have Front End Engineers, or even the possibility of them, is great for users, and it’s another sign of the maturing of the Web as a platform for business computing.