This is a warning to young budding web developers going into the field of web development. The business of web development is never really talked about. We talk about the technology a lot, but the business itself is left alone for fear of… what? I don’t know really.
The first thing that took me by surprise upon my entry, three years ago, into the “Digital Agency” world was the fact that some people that work with the web don’t use it very much. There are quantities of web developers that don’t have websites, don’t maintain personal projects, and don’t partake in the vibrant community.
This was a massive shock to my system because I, being naive and passionate, thought that everyone else in this industry would have at least a spark of a passion for this stuff or at least an interest which materialises in more than doing it, begrudgingly, from 9 to 5.
This isn’t a universal truth, of course, but what I’ve discovered is that those lacking in passion tend to gravitate towards either agency or non-web corporate roles. These individuals tend to know their niche’s technologies but only as well as they absolutely have to. They’re fine copying and pasting as long as it makes the boss or client happy. There are no gurus in the passion voids.
The entire process is ugly to begin with. Getting hired. If you can, you must make every effort to avoid dealing with recruitment agencies. I won’t cast any judgement on the validity of the recruitment industry as a whole, but I will say this: their motive is to fill the role. They rarely give a damn about passion, fulfilment or your desire to have a positive effect on the world while leading a good life. They couldn’t give a shit. They want the commission. They want to sell you to the client. You’re their whore.
If you want to float between vacuous advertising projects, where the sole objective is to maximise market share and profit for the end-client regardless of ethical inclinations, then you’ll probably be fine. You should stop reading and ring a recruiter now! If, on the other hand, you care, then you will want to take the time to find a better role, where the employer’s passions are in-line with yours.
I am not trying to generalise here. There are some, no doubt, awesome digital agencies that care passionately about the technologies they work with. This is why this must all be judged on a case-by-case basis.
Just beware of the passion voids. If you’ve an ounce of interest in what you do, you’ll want to steer well clear of them, lest your soul be forsaken to the clutches of vapid monotony.