I'm applying for a job at a large web agency. It is a senior role, focus is front-end, but there is an element of back-end PHP too. Anyway, I've had the preliminary interview and they've now requested some code samples to demonstrate my capabilities and expertise. They've provided the criteria and I'm kind of spinning out now.

The criteria includes:

  • Semantic HTML
  • CSS and custom crafting of UI and component architecture (ideally without a CSS framework)
  • Design & QA - good sense of design aesthetic in the context of a website
  • JavaScript (ideally without jQuery)
  • React
  • PHP (recommended, but not required)
  • Accessibility (nice to have)

I might have some code snippets from work I've done in the past, but nothing that feels very strong.

For a few of items, I have an old portfolio site built as a SPA using AngularJS. It needs a modern touch, so I thought I could just refactor it using React. I can polish it up, make sure it's semantic html, add accessibility attributes. But then it uses Bootstrap as a CSS framework. The criteria says ideally I'd not be using a framework. I've got some nice animations courtesy of Greensock too. Am I meant to create a whole UI framework here? I'm also used to using SASS. It feels like having to climb a steep mountain instead of walking along a flat road!

I just wonder what other devs might think of this request and how they might approach it.

  • I upvoted Dan's answer. My suggestions aren't enough for a separate answer. From your description, it seems that they want to know that you understand CSS without a "crutch" like bootstrap or tailwind. It might be worth asking if SASS is acceptable to them? Perhaps for answers about specific best frontend tech to get a good job at this company go to SO or the UX sites. END PART 2
    – DogBoy37
    Commented Apr 20 at 18:17
  • - PART 2 Purely a guess, but a strong understanding of things like FLEXBOX and GRID and the ability to make responsive components like cards with nice transformations using only CSS is what they are after. Things that are simple, load fast, and can look nice. Accessibility is required for screen readers. Javascript and PHP to post forms and to load dynamic content. React is for rolling their own components (yes, I am stating the obvious on this one). Do they want a demo that works on Cellphone (various sizes), Tablet (various sizes) and Desktop/Laptop (various sizes)? That is the skill.
    – DogBoy37
    Commented Apr 20 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


That's really not answerable in general. You'd need to ask the company.

It depends what they're most interested in seeing: Your proficiency with their tech stack, or general ability. Hello world examples written for the request better address the former, a more complex demo - even in an different and older stack - can be a better show case for the latter.

  • Thanks. I did not include all the info, hoping for brevity, but they say "we require technical submissions to review your capabilities and expertise". Also "Each submission should be a singular component, application or build" and "We ask for samples to be able to demonstrate what you can do - it could be past, current or something you build from scratch on your own". I think they are looking for both tbh - multiple demos to demonstrate abilities and proficiency with respective tech stacks.
    – Yorick
    Commented Apr 22 at 13:03

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