I was hired a while ago, as a front-end developer. For most of the time (around 70-80%), my employer assigns to me work related to Javascript, but targeting native or hybrid applications (Cordova/Phonegap or React-Native) instead of the web. Initially, I expected that it was a temporary need for inherited projects, but apparently, there is no other native developer in the company, and I have to fill that need. In addition, multiple new projects will require native applications, and according to my supervisor, they will be assigned to me.

  1. I am concerned for various reasons, as I don't feel like I have advanced significantly in front-end development over the past months. In addition, it morally feels dishonest on the company's part, as it advertised a different position, and even interviewed loosely related skills.

  2. I am not sure that my worries are reasonable, since maybe it is a reasonably close field and experience has serious overlap (I have failed to see that).

In these native applications, I do not have a backend/API to talk to, nor do I have access to service workers, which I consider crucial knowledge for my future career. A lot of OS intricacies are present, that are abstracted or not necessary when building a PWA or a simple single page application (like the need for native plugins, and knowledge of iOS' and android's build systems for troubleshooting). Finally, debugging even a hybrid app, is different from a website.

Am I justified to think that native development is not aligned enough with PWAs and modern Single Page Applications? Should I be worried that my career is path is decided by someone other than myself?

P.S. I should add that I was asked by my supervisor, if this is something that I'm willing to work on, when he realised that I was hired for a different skillset and lack experience in mobile development. I replied that I welcome the opportunity to learn new stuff, but I don't feel as competent in this field as in front-end.

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    What is your goal with this question? Do you want to find a new job? Do you want to ask your supervisor for different assignments? Do you want someone on this site to tell you "no, you're being unreasonable!"? – Brandin Dec 5 '18 at 6:05
  • Welcome new user. Sure, just ask for more money since you're doing as much more difficult job. – Fattie Dec 5 '18 at 10:49
  • I see you're talking about hybrid apps like they would limit your career... but it's quite the opposite these days, actually. – Cris Dec 5 '18 at 12:58

You have an opportunity to expand your stack and get paid more (when asking for a raise wink wink) because of the extended responsibilities you are being given. If you are worried about your skillset not exactly being up to par, you might ask for training or at least being allowed to dedicate time for self-training if the company does not already have resources.

If you are worried about this derailing you from doing front-end development and hurting your career, it is pretty much the opposite. A wider stack will help you with future jobs and also help you build a taller stack in one-page applications and other primarily front-end areas by allowing you to incorporate other technologies. Having a narrow skill set you are dedicating all of your time is not an advantage, it is a disadvantage.

Also think of the time you are spending with your main stack in terms of return on investment. You can invest only so much time before you are already caught up to times and spending hours upon hours on really niche areas that are not worth the time you are putting in, at least at your current level. Why not put those hours to potentially more rewarding skills?

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The skills that you're obtaining are very marketable, and will certainly not do you any harm in terms of future employment opportunities. If the work otherwise is interesting, and challenging, I think it might be worthwhile to persist with it for a while at least.

You may find you enjoy this type of work, and will then have the option of pursuing native app development as well as web work in the future. It's always good to have options.

If however you really would like to be doing more SPA work, you could raise this during your next review. If you're a good developer, they will most likely try to be accommodating.

Employers, from my experience, take comfort in knowing they have broadly skilled employees. It gives them confidence that they can handle changing markets etc.

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