Unicorn hunting

A recent conversation reported by a colleague:

Colleague: Could you show me how to add this coding?
Web Developer:  No
Colleague:  Why not?
Web Developer: Job security

Not to smear the many brilliant, hard-working developers out there, but the adage about “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind.

In the early days of the web, companies were completely dependent on developers to code their web pages.  It was quasi-magical and such folks the the local wizards. Now everyone has their own wand in the form of content management systems.

Although the CMS has become commonplace, marketers continue to hunt for wizards. Job descriptions for “Web Content Editor” often include requirements for HTML, CSS and Javascript coders. According to many hiring manager, this is the equivalent of hunting for a unicorn.

Web Developer and Content Editor/Strategist are two separate jobs complementing each other — part of a web team including a project manager, designer, copywriter, social media specialist and more. Trying to combine the two is akin to finding an IT person who writes good copy.

Sure, multi-skilled workers are a necessary part of any web operation. Writers shoot video, content editors know marketing personas, everyone needs to understand SEO and other analytics.  But the ability to use a quality CMS makes advanced coding skills more than a little obsolete for content specialists.

Knowledge of coding “secrets” doesn’t mean job security anymore.


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