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Talking Angular with Proctor + Stevenson’s Head of Front End Dev

07 Jun 13:00 by Tony Allen

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It’s no secret that Angular has become one of the most popular software development instruments in use today. Introduced by Google in 2009, Angular received a warm welcome from the development community across the globe. To get the inside scoop on Angular, we caught up with Ross Gratton, Head of Front End Development for our client, leading marketing communications agency Proctor + Stevenson. Here’s what we discussed...

Ross, can you tell us more about your role at Proctor + Stevenson?

Of course. I’ve been here for five years, and the agency has evolved considerably in that time. We started by specialising in Full-Stack, PHP and Front End, but as new technology emerged, we noticed the skill set of Front End grow more and more complex. As a result, we required a specific concentration in Front End to be able to deliver what our top-brand clients were demanding.

Due to this transition, I moved into a Front End lead role where I guided Front End and built a team around those technologies. This led to a split team, with specialists both in Back End and Front End. Having a dedicated Front End team might not be the norm for our industry, but it’s proved hugely successful for us.

When did you first become aware of Angular?

Probably around four years ago when it was still AngularJS. We were doing a lot of work in jQuery and other JavaScript libraries, and projects were being delivered using a combination of languages. When AngularJS arrived on the scene, it brought all concerns into one library and took away what I refer to as the ‘Wild West’ of the JavaScript library. Initially, AngularJS wasn’t the best fit for some projects, and there wasn’t a real demand for it from clients; however, the rise of apps quickly changed things. With users increasingly demanding real-time feedback and interactions from the apps they use, AngularJS presented as the only viable library that was up to the task.

With AngularJS now legacy, we’re working with the latest iteration of Angular for our work with decoupled microservice applications. We’re so pleased that our clients are excited about the possibilities this forward-thinking architecture brings.

Is there a shortage of Angular specialists in the market right now?

We’ve found recruiting Angular talent a challenge as experts in this field are extremely thin on the ground right now. We’re looking for people who are proficient in Angular, but as it’s such a new development, we’re faced with the option of hiring someone who’s self-taught and looking to land their first role in Angular or someone who’s actively using it now, but may not be looking for a new role.

Do you have any advice for those considering a career in Angular?

Due to the relatively small Angular talent pool, the goods news is that you can get to a reasonable skill level quickly to be in with a chance of landing a role. Anyone who has a fundamental understanding of development can get to grips with Angular - the hardest part is understanding the new concepts and the abstract mechanisms that make it up. Buzzwords you need to get your head around if you’re new to Angular include reactive programming, components and model view controller methodology. If you can get a handle on this, you’ll be able to pick up some of these frameworks.

What are your predictions for the future of Angular?

We’re currently in a bit of an Angular bubble, and the skills shortages mean professionals in this field are enjoying lucrative salaries. Front End is the place to get involved right now, but as with any movement in development, the demand will cool as it becomes more of an industry standard and people move on to new systems.

Now for the big question: React or Angular?

This is a big talking point in our sphere, and the question for a lot of developers remains whether to specialise in React or Angular. Despite what people say, it’s up for debate as to whether React is the more popular choice, although due to Silicon Valley preferring React, a lot of people are opting for it. However, there is an abundance of jobs available for both and one certainly isn’t superior to another. I’d recommend you to choose the one that’s the best fit for you and your style of working.

For more information on roles in Angular or for career advice and vacancies in the technology space, you can connect to the Henry Nicholas team today.