0

I've been a contract front-end developer in London for over a year now but I spent 9 months with the same company so I've not worked in that many different places. How often are font-end developers expected to bring their own laptops and know how to set development environments up?

At all my previous jobs I have been provided with a desktop set up with the development environment. However for this job I was told the weekend before I started to bring my own laptop with various things set up (GIT, NodeJS, Grunt, etc). I've needed a lot of help setting this up which has caused my conflict with my manager who expected me to be able to do this myself. Is this a fair demand?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Thomas Owens, Telastyn, IDrinkandIKnowThings, user8365 Oct 22 '14 at 17:07

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. Questions that address only a specific company or position are of limited use to future visitors. Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals. For more information, click here." – gnat, Community
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    "How often are font-end developers expected to bring their own laptops and know how to set development environments up?" Are you looking for a number? How does knowing that number change anything about the fact that this particular job requires you to bring your own laptop? – Vietnhi Phuvan Oct 22 '14 at 14:52
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace as described in the help center – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 22 '14 at 16:55
  • He may interpret your inability to set these up as not knowing how to use them. Are you expected to design the structure and usage of the Repository or do you just need to install Git? – user8365 Oct 22 '14 at 17:10
  • 3
    @JeffO What would you say about a candidate, if a candidate for one of your developer positions can't install a git client? I'd be very disturbed. – Vietnhi Phuvan Oct 22 '14 at 17:21
  • This may sound harsh, but you're not a developer if you can't set up your dev environment. Take a weekend off to learn the basics of git, npm and Grunt and your life will be easier. It's not that hard. – René Roth Feb 23 '17 at 12:57
6

I would argue that most companies would expect a contractor to have their own equipment. You are self-employed and part of the reason you are paid more as a contractor than an employee is that you have to cover costs that an employee wouldn't, ie: laptop, software licenses (for example if you use InteliJ you would pick up the cost of this).

However for this job I was told the weekend before I started to bring my own laptop with various things set up (GIT, NodeJS, Grunt, etc). I've needed a lot of help setting this up which has caused my conflict with my manager who expected me to be able to do this myself. Is this a fair demand?

If your CV states that you have experience with these technologies then it's not an unreasonable request in my opinion.

  • 2
    At the very least, if you want to work as a contractor rather than a regular employee, the onus is on you to find out exactly what your potential client wants and needs before you sign a contract to supply said wants and needs! – Carson63000 Oct 22 '14 at 23:48
1

No, I don't think this is a fair demand. They're not hiring you to setup environments, so why should they expect you to know how to do this?

On the other hand, it is useful to know - you're going to have to work with your manager to get you nice and setup so that the rest of the contract goes smoothly.

As to if you are served by caring about fairness - you shouldn't be looking at it like that. Look at this as just an irritating obstacle and make sure you do your best to get along with the new manager. Whether this is fair or ethical or whatever isn't going to help you if you have to work with someone, and this is (hopefully) just an irritating initial hiccup.

Just show the manager you're eager to work, stress that this kind of nonsense is one off and everybody hates setting up environments, and then get on with the job.

Unless there is something further going on here, you can only really "suck it up" to get on with what they're paying you for.

  • 2
    I fundamentally disagree with this. A developer (regardless of focus) should absolutely know how to setup the environment they claim experience in. If NodeJS or whatever is on their resume then I absolutely expect that they can get it up and running. I've fired several contractors on day one when they couldn't follow incredibly simple directions on how to connect to our source control server; one that they claimed "experience" with and is embedded in their IDE. – NotMe Oct 23 '14 at 18:01
  • You've misread what I wrote. I didn't say anything about claiming experience in stuff. You've also misread what the OP wrote, because he didn't mention that either. However, you're also wrong. You aren't hiring developers to connect to the source control, you're hiring developers to develop. If you want people to be sitting around connecting to source control, or installing IDEs - a once in a contract role, incidentally - then you should hire someone to do that, like a sysops or whatever they are. I'm not saying it isn't an important role, just not what developers should be doing. – bharal Oct 23 '14 at 19:23
  • 2
    I hire professionals that know the tools of their craft. If they use a thing, they should be able to set that thing up. The OP says he's a front end developer. He implies he knows how to use NodeJS. He should take it upon himself to learn how to get it set up. How could he possibly be effective in figuring out what's wrong with his NodeJS stuff if he doesn't even understand how to install it? By contracting he has labelled himself a computer programming professional. If he can't install his basic tools then there's no hope here. – NotMe Oct 23 '14 at 19:28
  • No, why are you spending, say, 150 pounds an hour on a developer and then making him do rudimentary work? Why not also ask him to QA the work too, while you're at it? Would you ask a trader on a desk to know how to "install windows", or whatever trade software you have? Would you ask the secretary to know how to "install a phone system"? There is a vast, vast gulf between using a tool - say a jackhammer- and building a tool - say, a jackhammer. Knowing one is not dependent on knowing the other. – bharal Oct 23 '14 at 20:05
  • 2
    If I hired a web developer, a network admin, a systems architect or any number of other related positions that didn't know how the internet works then I should be fired for incompetence. Heck, I should be able to hand each of those people parts for a machine, a copy of Windows Server and point them to a network jack and they should be able to have a functioning web server running in short order. – NotMe Oct 23 '14 at 20:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.