I'll start off by giving a bit of context, we are a small company in the UK and we consist of 2 directors, one whom project manages and one who deals with finance and networking. We also have a BDM and then there is me and the lead developer.

I am an apprentice in my first year at the company doing an Apprenticeship in Software Development. My background is entirely in software development and I am not a huge fan of front end work. I do know basic front end and javascript as that is a staple for a lot of work.

Now with the problem, due to the size of the company, I have found that at the start I had quite a bit of back end work with a little front end working on existing projects. Now that they trust me more they have been giving me my own projects just to get more money in the bank, the problem with this is they so far have been either 100% front end or the majority front end and a small amount of back end work. I didnt really do this course for front end work as that is not where I would like my career to go. The lead developer does very little front end work. My impression is that due to the director who deals with new projects being fairly non - techy, she may not realise the issue.

I am unsure on how to accurately convey my feelings without stepping out of my place as just an apprentice. They also may not like the fact that this could cost them money from projects and from my impression, things are fairly tight.

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    Is an 'apprenticeship' a permanent position - or is it like an internship which ends in a few months? – morsor Feb 6 '18 at 14:26
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    My one is 2 years with potential for a full job afterwards. Essentially its like a junior role in a company with one day at uni / college a week. I get paid but below minimum wage. At the end of it I will get ~ 4 professional software development qualifications as well as the apprenticeship itself which is equivalent to a foundation degree. – Kyle Wardle Feb 6 '18 at 14:47
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    The smaller the company, the more general roles tend to become. In order to specialize, you probably need to join a large corporation. On top of this, since you are junior, you will probably to some degree end up doing the stuff seniors avoid. – morsor Feb 6 '18 at 15:14
  • Just be glad you do not have to fetch the coffee and swipe the floor half of your day, like a lot of apprentices do have to in other professions. First, learn all aspects of your trade, then decide where you want to specialize! – Daniel Feb 6 '18 at 16:14
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Based on what I see in the market regarding developers, the roles that are strictly back or front end are going away.

The trend now, and I don't see this changing anytime soon, is for Full Stack Developers. This is a neat little buzz word that simply means if something needs to be done related to development, a full stack developer can do it.

I would suggest you take the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the Front End technology. Being just a small part of the stack from a career perspective is not a good move IMO.

Learn as much as you can about all areas ( the full stack ) of development and you will find opportunities are more plentiful for you.

As to your question, you need to get comfortable asking for what you want. You could say something like "[INSERT MANAGERS NAME HERE], I am finding most of the work I am doing these days to be mainly front end. While I don't mind doing it, I also want to stay up to speed on the other aspects as well. Can we split up the front end work?" By using this type of approach, you expressing you desire, without stating your unwilling to do front end work.

Note: I am not, intentionally, mentioning a particular stack in this answer. There are many of those and its beyond the scope of this question to recommend any.

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  • My problem is not so much front end in general, its more extended front end development. I am happy to do full stack but as of recent is has been predominantly front end which I personally find stressful due to the fact I am not incredibly creative in that sense. – Kyle Wardle Feb 6 '18 at 14:52
  • Its not my favorite part either @KyleWardle and I find it comes and goes in cycles. – Neo Feb 6 '18 at 14:54
  • @MisterPositive Do you recommend any tutorials on getting more confident with front end? More specifically html + css and the variations of that as I have done a fair bit of javascript and am fine with that. – Kyle Wardle Feb 6 '18 at 15:02
  • @KyleWardle Plural Sight – Neo Feb 6 '18 at 15:03
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    I could say that I disagree with your assertion that back/front-end developer roles are going away (although it probably depends where you're looking), but more than that I disagree with the implication that claims or discussion about market trends, or advice on which skills to learn or jobs to take, fits on this site (regardless of what the question was). – Bernhard Barker Feb 6 '18 at 17:23

Embracing "full stack" development is an expectation of your job as a software developer. Express your concerns, reach out to get the training you need, but don't complain about it. Look at it as an opportunity to become a skilled developer in the modern context.

Developers who say they are "back end" or "front end" are quickly becoming dinosaurs.

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    This does not answer the question. – Neo Feb 6 '18 at 15:03
  • See my comment on MisterPositive's post: "I do not believe this answers the question. Regardless of whether or not this is good career advice, the OP states "I am unsure on how to accurately convey my feelings", so the question is on how to talk to the managers." – Axel Persinger Feb 6 '18 at 15:06
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    @AxelPersinger Hey, I fixed my answer sir!! ;-) – Neo Feb 6 '18 at 15:07
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    When the question asks: should I turn right or turn left? Sometimes, going straight ahead is an answer. Our site is not just for the asker of the question. We are answering questions for the people who could have the same or similar problems. Being a "full stack" developer is certainly an option. This is an answer. – scaaahu Feb 7 '18 at 4:13

As with most things, talk with your manager, and state your preference for back-end work. This may be a simple oversight on her part, or really not understanding what is "front-end" vs. "back-end" is.

I would not flat-out reject learning it/doing it though, that's not how employment works and will not make a good impression on them. In your life, regardless of any job, there will be plenty of things you are going to be asked to do in that you do not like to do, or don't prefer to do. Get used to it, it's some of these different things that you are forced to do that you find out you really enjoy and may even eventually lead to career growth.

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