A few years back, I visited Italy and noticed an interesting phenomena: most of the waiters that served us were middle aged man. Some even senior citizens. This is very different than the situation in most western countries I visited, where waiters are mostly young, usually around 25 years old. In most cases, being a waiter is a temp job, on your way to getting a better job. Many people do it while studying to get their degree or while seeking for a "real" job. But not in Italy. In Italy, a waiter is a proper job. It is a career. It is something you do because you choose to do it, not because you have no other alternatives.
How many web rockstars do you know? I don't know that many. I sure know a lot of Java, .Net, PHP and Python rockstars, but not many web rockstars. One could argue that this is a relatively new art. But I don't think that's the problem. For some reason (more on that below), the web developers became the waiters of the software world. There are many young people doing that, students, novice developers all sharing one common aspiration: to get out of the "front-end ghetto" and become a "true developer" on the server side.
Those people are willing to work for less, which drives the prices down. This gives strong incentive for people to "move on". Many managers who need those skills think that they can just get the job done for very little. Naturally, the payment comes later. The website stops working in certain browsers, especially on the bosses' new iPad. It takes forever to load. Each modification breaks 10 other pages. The marketing people want to refresh the look and feel for the upcoming holiday season and the job ends somewhere in mid January.
My message to novice web developers is: don't run away. Love your work. Master your skills. Don't settle for mediocracy and become a true web rockstar.
My message to server side developers: respect you colleagues. If you really want to test your skills, let's see you putting up an interactive web-app. I dare you. It is a challenge, perhaps even a bigger one than coding a couple more beans on the server. Be honest, it is possible that you don't like doing web development because it is just too hard (no cushy IDE, cross-browser quirks, etc.).
My message to managers: cheapskates always pay twice. Always. Get the right people for the job and be willing to pay for quality. Get these amazing web rockstars to be part of your team and not just freelancers, thus creating a differentiator for your company.
One final note: we're hiring! if you are a web rockstar, or even a young web developer who wants to become a web rockstar, you live in Israel, and you're looking for a new project, drop me a line. I'm looking for you and I have a project that could take your career to a whole new level.
Image under CC attribution from Flickr