The Sputnik Front End Developer Candidate Guide

1. Introducing Ourselves

This section provides further details for prospective Front End Developers at Sputnik to help you identify whether you have the skills we’re looking for.

We’ve provided some examples of work that reflects the skills we need and a guide on what we’d like to see in the portfolio samples you provide in support of your application.

If you think we’re a good match, we’d love to hear from you.

2. About Sputnik

We are an “innovation and digital engineering agency”.

“Digital engineering” references the great code we produce.

As well as really solid back end code, we’re committed to making sure our websites and applications present as well as they can in the browser.

We need our front end developers to have an obsessive eye for detail, and the skills and experience to know how to build highly optimised pages.

We typically work with larger organisations, such as GoCompare, Fluent Money and Swinton Insurance.

Our clients are looking for bespoke, optimised and Accessible HTML, CSS and Javascript.

  • GoCompare
  • Swinton Insurance
  • MyFluent
  • MyVoucherCodes

3a. Hand coded HTML & CSS

A great deal of thought goes in to our discovery and UX processes. These in turn inform the designers, who painstakingly define every element and ensure padding, margins and borders are consistent.

We rely on our front end developers to ensure that the users experience in the browser is exactly as we’d planned.

We believe the only way to do achieve a perfect result is by hand coding the elements.

Bootstrap might be fine for rapid prototyping, but our designs invariably demand breaking outside of the grid and the introduction of more break points. In the end, the efficiency HTML frameworks offer simply don’t transfer to our projects.

Approaches that interest us

  • Semantic and Accessible HTML
  • Fully tested across browsers and devices
  • Coding efficient CSS, being mindful of selectors and specificity
  • Attention to detail in padding, spacing and margins
  • Loading only the files you need on a page

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • Off the shelf / theme based designs
  • Reliance on CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap or Tailwind

3b. Highly Performant Sites

Approaches that interest us

  • Be able to create sites that load fast for all users across all devices.
  • Know how to produce LCP and FCP numbers that exceed client expectations.
  • Be able to work together with a team to produce minified assets, critical CSS, lay loaded content and next generation images
  • Minimal use of dependencies for better control of page speed
  • Knowledge of an experience in delivering core web vitals
  • Be up to date on the latest site performance techniques

Approaches that probably don’t interest us

  • Reliance on bloated frameworks, plugins and add-ons
  • Lack of consideration for and use of render blocking assets

3c. Attention to Detail

Approaches that interest us

  • Pixel perfect layouts that match the designs provided
  • Consistent spacing, padding and margins

Approaches that probably won’t interest us

  • Basic deployment of pattern library / theme elements
  • Placeholders and pointless facts, figures and graphs

4. Letting Us Know If You're Interested

If it bugs you when a pixel is out of place, we’d love to hear from you.

We’d like your application to demonstrate that you understand what we’re looking for, and be supported by specific projects from your portfolio.

We’ll think better of your application if you;

  • Provide us with links to a small number of hand coded responsive website built to a high standard.
  • Share code through a code repository
  • Demonstrate an understanding (or at least an appreciation of) modern coding practices.
  • Let us know the breadth of your skills (can you also code, animate micro-UI or create video)

We’re less likely to be impressed if you;

  • Provide portfolio examples using off-the-shelf WordPress themes.
  • Provide websites that use BootStrap or other HTML frameworks.
  • Send us Zip files via email, Dropbox or WeTransfer.

Showing Us What You Can Do

We’d like to get an understanding of the skills and experience you’ve developed so far in your career.

The more you can share with us here, the better an understanding we can get of where you might fit in the team.

Even for junior front end developers, we would need you to be able to code responsive web templates from Photoshop, XD or Figma without using a framework such as Bootstrap. If you’re not yet able to do this we won’t be able to offer you a position.

Depending on the level of Front End Developer you’re interested in, we would like to see;

  • Three live responsive websites that you have built from original artwork files. We will be looking at these to see PageSpeed optimisation, W3C compliance and pixel perfect layout across a range of browsers and devices.
  • A code repository demonstrating your file organisation, use of CSS pre-compilers and ability to work with modern dev ops procedures.
  • How you handle online forms, including styling and form validation.
  • Your use of javascript.
  • Your experience in front end frameworks such as React, Ember or Angular.

Links to three hand coded responsive websites that you have built

Links to any Micro-UI or CodePen examples that you have created

Links to animations, videos or anything else that you may think might be of interest.