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Complete hiring guide for Gatsby developers
Plan out your goals to conduct the hiring process for a Gatsby developer without any hassle. Effective planning during all stages will save you time and money without unpredicted risks. With our help, you’ll assess and match only with the best Gatsby candidates.
Gatsby was created by Kyle Matthews in collaboration with Sam Bhagwat and released in 2015. In just a few seconds, and through a global edge network, Gatsby allows for simple building and deploying of a website (but this website can be static or server-side). With this framework, developers can develop anything faster and refer to any data source or CMS for content sourcing much easier and quicker.
Regarding the popularity and usage of Gatsby, it is a valued framework because its demand is high. Of all 58.743 respondents in Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey), as well as official statistics for Flutter developers – thousands have responded as using this framework regularly in their work.
Basic requirements and skills of a Gatsby developer
There are several basic requirements to be considered for the job of a Gatsby developer. The minimum qualifications and skills are:
- Degree in Computer Science, IT, or Engineering
- A minimum of 3 years experience with Gatsby
- Understand the basics and core principles of React.js
- Great expertise in the Gatsby framework
- Proficient in Node.js and GraphQL
And tools to be exceptionally familiar with:
- Gatsby Command Line Interface
- Visual Studio Code
Also, good to know well:
- Experience with JSON web tokens (mechanisms for authorization)
- Good knowledge of DOM manipulation
- Solid expertise with some React libraries (React Router and React Hook Form or similar)
Job responsibilities of a Gatsby developer
A Gatsby developer has several tasks they will be responsible to do regularly: Rami Sweyri, a Fullstack developer with extensive Gatsby experience at Proxify, said:
“The Gatsby developer’s main responsibility is to build and maintain Gatsby websites, create custom plugins when needed, and collaborate well with the other developers and designers. They should also debug and deploy websites ready for production. They should regularly keep up with Gatsby updates and best practices and provide good technical support to an open-source community.”Rami Sweyri
- Create and develop responsive and interactive web apps and websites
- Migrate websites from a CMS to a newer platform as needed
- Focus on accessibility and performance in what they develop
- Use REST APIs to make web apps even more dynamic and improved
- Update static sites
Required soft skills
The great Gatsby developer will display excellent technical knowledge, expertise, and soft skills. Soft skills are equally necessary for overall professionalism and capability.
First, the developer must be proficient in English and have excellent conversational skills. When the developer knows when to speak and listen, this is a plus that puts him ahead of the rest.
Notice the tone and overall conversational tone around the interview conversation. Is the developer curious about the job position and your company? Did they research your business or need to determine what you discussed during the interview?
If the developer didn’t bother to look up your business or take interest enough to ask you questions now, despite their excellent technical skills, they might not be the very best, ideal candidate for the job. A person who isn’t curious about their progress opportunities will probably be stingy with their curiosity and progressiveness in the workplace too.
Next, they need to be well-prepared and on time. So, punctuality for the interview will tell you a lot about their sense of responsibility and how much they value time. If you’re interviewing them virtually, their room must be well-lit, neat, organized, and presentable, and they should use good quality equipment when presenting themselves. In the end, details like this tell you a lot about how professional the candidate is toward the overall interview and how they want to be perceived.
The developer must fit in with the workplace culture, meaning an open and friendly attitude goes a long way. Even if the developer is used to working alone most of the time, there are frequent situations where they’ll need to collaborate and communicate well with others. Pay attention to whether the developer is happy to help out a coworker or if they generally are happy to participate in the conversation.
Last but not least, their mindset has to be problem-solving oriented, with clear critical thinking. If the developer is curious, they’d want to get to the root of a challenge by searching for solutions. That’s why curiosity and proactive behavior are vital here as well.
Required technical skills
For a Gatsby developer to do a great job, they must fulfill specific requirements regarding technical skills. Rami iterated the must-knows as best as possible to work with Gatsby:
How to differentiate between a good and a great Gatsby developer
There will be more candidates that might suit the role well, but there will always be that one or a few (out of many) that stand out with more and better skills and experience.
“A great Gatsby developer has all the technical skills required but also understands the Gatsby ecosystem perfectly. Their knowledge of the concepts of React.js must be excellent, as well as their proficiency in GraphQL. They master the Gatsby plugin ecosystem and have good knowledge of accessibility, SEO, and headless CMS within this context. And, of course, their portfolio is broad and strong, showcasing excellent previous experience.”Rami Sweyri
Ticking off all the requirements is already the majority of conditions fulfilled, but there is more to the assessment for a good, in-depth evaluation of the developer’s expertise. Rami adds:
“When hiring a Gatsby developer, you should focus on the candidates with a great understanding of React.js and GraphQL foremost, but they should also provide a portfolio with websites they’ve built as well. They must be good communicators and listeners and showcase curiosity to stay up-to-date with Gatsby’s novelties because this framework evolves constantly.”Rami Sweyri
Other roles that a Gatsby developer could fill well
A Gatsby developer can also fit other roles besides mastering Gatsby independently. For Gatsby developers, other possible employment opportunities are:
Frontend – Gatsby developers can suit this position nicely because frontend developers are also encouraged to learn Gatsby for their work, where possible. This is good for simple and easy website creation, without code writing from scratch, and for placing more emphasis on the website design.
UI developer – Gatsby developers would be excellent in this role because UI development correlates to React.js (which is also the most preferred and popular framework for UI developing processes).
Interview questions to assess a Gatsby developer
To get a better understanding of the technical knowledge of a Gatsby developer, before hiring, we recommend using several assessment questions:
1. Describe the main features of Gatsby.
Expected answer: Gatsby is a preferred framework for developers and businesses because it offers exceptionally stable and high security and is robust. Because it is a static site generator and provides fast performance, this saves time and money in the long run.
Its components are reusable, it includes the latest updates in tools, and there is webpack bundling too. The speed is immaculate, images are very responsive, and the styling is just as excellent. And the ecosystem has a wide variety of plugins.
2. Elaborate on the basics of working with Gatsby.
Expected answer: After the environment's setup, we create and then deploy the Gatsby website, and here we utilize Gatsby Cloud. Then, we can use and style the React.js components with the CSS Modules. Next, we’re adding various features and plugins (out of the many Gatsby offers), and then we will do data querying through GraphQL.
Also, we transform data to MDX, then go to page creation directly and programmatically from data – for this, we rely on the Gatsby File System Route API. Next, we gather the dynamic images and add them from the data with the help of the GatsbyImage component.
3. Explain more about the connection between Gatsby and React.js
Expected answer: When we use React with Gatsby, there are several advantages. Generally, frontend developers iterate on React.js websites more easily through Gatsby because they efficiently use solutions for the following:
Page and route creation – With Gatsby, we use an incredibly intuitive interface when creating the pages and routes; here also, internationalization is included.
Data pulling – With the help of plugins and GraphQL, we efficiently work with data from various sources (headless CMS and traditional CMS).
Website hosting and serving – We can use a CDN (like Netlify) to host the static file output of Gatsby on it. This is done without problems and complexities, such as high database and app server costs for hosting maintenance.
Enhancing performance – Due to the loading of static files in Gatsby, every Gatsby website is speedy, always.
4. Explain Gatsby CLI commands and the CLI usage.
Expected answer: There are 8 CLI commands in Gatsby.
Develop – When the Gatsby site is installed, we start the development server in the project root directory.
New – CLI here runs the interactive shell before the Gatsby website is created.
Plugin – Running any command related to the plugins of Gatsby.
Build – When at the Gatsby website root, this command compiles the app and makes it deployment-ready.
Serve – For the site’s production build when ready for testing. This occurs at the Gatsby site root.
Clean – This is for the cache wiping out and cleaning (.cache folder), but it applies to public directories too. It also occures at the Gatsby website root.
Repl – With the context of the Gatsby environment, we can quickly get Node.js REPL (read-evaluate-print-loop)
Info – We need easy access to helpful environment information during bug reporting. This occurs at the Gatsby website root.
For using Gatsby CLI, there are two ways to go about this:
To run a command from npx directly, we use the syntax npx gatsby new to execute commands.
Or, global installing with the help of npm install –g gatsby–cli where we use the syntax gatsby new to execute commands.
5. Elaborate on the source plugin and transformer plugin.
Expected answer: We use the source plugin to connect data with the Gatsby.js build process. This is usually external and occasionally internal too. And Gatsby site data may come from various sources, such as databases, CMSs, APIs, local files, etc.
The transformer plugin is a plugin that will take input to transform it, partially or as a whole.
6. Describe the useStaticQuery.
Expected answer: The useStaticQuery represents a hook in Gatsby that uses a React Hook for querying a layer of GraphQL data, but just at build time. The GraphQL query is always accurately parsed, evaluated, and finally injected in a component, and this way, all your React components retrieve data back successfully.
7. Describe the Gatsby Cloud.
Expected answer: Gatsby Cloud builds, previews, and deploys Gatsby websites in realtime. The infrastructure is so well-optimized that it makes the build time last just seconds and quickly prepares all updates for production. The previews are collaborative and complete with each merge and each pull request.
8. Elaborate on the Gatsby plugins.
Expected answer: The plugins in Gatsby are the Node.js packages, which in turn, apply Gatsby APIs. To install these plugins, the most common way is installation through the npm registry. The ‘use cases’ of these plugins are mostly hooking into lifecycle methods and data sourcing. Before using the Gatsby plugins, a prerequisite is a Gatsby website.
After installation of the plugin, we do plugin configuration. In this part here, we can opt for various config options. For example, if extra configuration options are needed for the plugin, instead of a string named as the plugin, we add a configuration object to the plugins.
9. Explain the route-creating in Gatsby.
Expected answer: There are three ways to do route-creating in Gatsby.
- In the src/pages, we can create React components.
- We create client-only routes and pages from GraphQL programmatically when using the File System Route API.
- In the website’s gatsby-node.js, we implement the API createPages. Here also createPages can be executed with the plugins.
10. Elaborate on client-side vs. server-side routing.
Expected answer: These two are different approaches when we need to handle navigation for web apps.
With server-side routing, we send requests directly to the server for every page change separately. The server renders and returns the correct HTML for every separate page.
The default approach is client-side routing, but the same can be done with server-side rendering when we need server-side routing.
11. Elaborate on layout components in Gatsby.
Expected answer: If we have website sections that we would like to see shared on multiple pages, we use layout components. A layout component with a footer and header is commonly seen in Gatsby websites. Another common thing along with the layouts is a navigation menu and a sidebar.
12. Explain how to access Environment Variables when in a browser.
Expected answer: Only in the Node.js code can we access environment variables as a default rule. We cannot access these variables in the browser due to privacy measures and information security. But, when we have a browser variable that we want to expose, its name must be prefaced by using GATSBY_
This way, APT_KEY will not be available in the browser code, and GATSBY_API_URL will be available.
13. Elaborate on the Gatsby image plugin.
Expected answer: With the Gatsby image plugin, we can add nice, responsive images to a website without compromising the high performance. Gatsby handles all the complex parts of working with various-sized images efficiently.
First, we need to install these packages:
- npm install
Next, once we install these, we need to add them to the gatsby-config.js
Also, it is crucial to use the latest version updates to the plugins, or to update already installed plugins to the newest version.
14. Describe the Gatsby Build.
Expected answer: gatsby-build is a command in Gatsby that we run when the website looks great, but we do some minor finishing touches. This command enables production-ready optimizations to our website (like the packaging of the data, code, and config).
This command will also create HTML static pages, later “rehydrated” in a React.js app.
15. Explain about debugging Gatsby websites.
Expected answer: To successfully debug a Gatsby website, we can use browser-provided tools for debugging or IDE tools. Alternatively, we can use Redux DevTools or React Developer Tools. Another option is also the console.log statements of the code when outputting the information for debugging.
16. Describe serverless functions and their roles in projects.
Expected answer: The serverless functions are one way for code execution on demand. This is without special management of the server infrastructure. In Gatsby, these functions are used for tasks otherwise impossible to do with static site generation (handling form submissions or external API integration).
The serverless functions in Gatsby are written with Node.js and then deployed to a cloud provider like Netify Functions or AWS Lambda. If we want to use these functions for a Gatsby project, we must import the function to the code, then trigger it in response to user action (like form submitting). The function performs the needed tasks and then goes to the user to return the response.
17. Describe the integration of third-party API with Gatsby.
Expected answer: If we need to integrate third-party API with Gatsby, first, we need to use a specific plugin compatible with the API we would use. Then, we configure the plugin of the Gatsby engagement and use it for data fetching from the API. Also, we need to create GraphQL queries that would use the returned data from the API. Lastly, we could use the built-in components from Gatsby or create our own React components for data displaying on the website.
Why do you need to hire a Gatsby developer?
There are several reasons why you need to hire a Gatsby developer. It’s beneficial for the overall business, the developer, and their work, ultimately contributing to overall work success and completed goals.
This is how the following benefits are utilized and implemented by a good Gatsby developer:
A lot of work is done with much less code
Gatsby as a framework is excellent because it enables developers to create high-performance and fast websites. Because it is React-based, all apps will be blazing-fast too.
It is open-source and free
Gatsby is a free to use, open-source framework, meaning the developer can always create native-like apps without lengthy waiting times.
Incredibly simple to use
Because Gatsby is easy to use, the developer will not have any issues around it during their work, and the work will be done faster and more efficiently. Developers that use more or less the same React declarative components also make great use of Gatsby. The usage of GraphQL also simplifies working with query data too.
Web performance will be highly optimized
Gatsby is the ideal framework to create fast apps because it’s built on WebPack, a popular tool for web performance.
Fewer costs for infrastructure and server-load
Building a dynamic single-page app has never been easier than now with Gatsby. This framework uses any GraphQL endpoint or REST API to serve data. With this, there is also a minimal server load and costs too.
It supports more languages for web app development
The content written in markdown, React.js, and Gatsby supports HTML.
What do you get when you use Gatsby for your business?
Once you implement Gatsby in the development processes of your business, you’ll quickly see what benefits it brings.
A slow website frustrates anyone, even for just a few seconds. But, when using Gatsby, you get a double faster performance. The developer creates a source code, and Gatsby handles the Webpack configuration. It will also prefetch resources available, resulting in a much faster website.
Because of the gzip compression, Gatsby makes pages super fast. If you want a website that will load very fast on a mobile device, Gatsby is the right choice.
Excellent security should never be overlooked. To prevent cyber-attacks and hacking, Gatsby is a great choice. Being a static site generator, Gatsby is secure in that nothing sensitive will be published – the developer will just publish what is static and won’t publish anything from the dependencies, database, or user information.
Lower cost than a classic CMS
With traditional CMS, a must-use is the mail servers, databases, hosting, cache solutions, updates in CMS, and more. But, Gatsby’s architecture is serverless, so it entitles a lower cost regarding servers. The CMS usage with Gatsby is headless, meaning the content presentation and content are separate.
Content is king, and SEO is the core of the content. When you have a fast and well-optimized SEO website, Google turns to your favor too. If you need to rebuild a website to optimize it for SEO fully, the SEO traffic and conversion rates increase.
To ensure that your content is always highly ranked on the result pages of search engines, the developer will use Gatsby to generate sitemaps and utilize the out-of-the-box SEO-friendly URLs too.
Developers like working with Gatsby because of its functionality and practicality. It is flexible and has a good, simple plugin system for website building.
Better website optimization
With the many plugins of Gatsby, any website can be optimized well. It’s also much easier for the developers to compile the code to a static file type.
Any website made through Gatsby is user-friendly and ranks well on search engines, with much higher traffic.
Developers like working with Gatsby because it is easy to maintain. The websites are easy to update through the plugins, and frontend (UI) developers can save a lot of time when building a website.
Better integration of npm
npm and Gatsby integration are smooth and simple, like installing the npm repository packages. This way, developers efficiently use the third-party plugins as needed.
“Using Gatsby in your business comes with many benefits, including great performant websites with good flexibility and scalability. The community is large and supportive of the Gatsby developers, and the technology is cutting-edge and modern. For better-performance websites, scalability, and developer productivity, Gatsby is a great choice.”Rami Sweyri
Popular brand names that rely on using Gatsby
Many big brands trust Gatsby in their work. Here are just several out of many more:
- National Geographic
- Little Caesars
- KFC Global
- University of Bristol
Different industries and applications of Gatsby
Gatsby is incredibly versatile for various industries because of its benefits for development. Rami explained where it is most widely used:
“As a versatile framework, Gatsby is mostly popular with e-commerce, marketing sites, content-rich sites, tech and software, progressive web apps, non-profits, education, and media & entertainment, among many others.”Rami Sweyri
Possible challenges when hiring a Gatsby developer
As with all hiring processes, several expected challenges might occur while searching for the best Gatsby candidate.
Not a too widespread technology
Gatsby is still not too widespread, despite all of the great benefits it brings. But, this makes the candidate pool more challenging to handle because this is, in a way, a scarce skill to hire too. Compared to other frameworks, only a few Gatsby developers can list this in their resumé as confidently mastering it.
A small number of highly qualified candidates
When there aren’t many candidates, the hiring process will move much slower, and engagements will halt for some time.
Large pool of unqualified candidates
As mentioned above, this is not a too widespread framework still. There is a chance that many developers will have this in their resumé but will be unqualified for it or below-average in their expertise with Gatsby, which also slows down the hiring process.
High recruitment costs and a lot of waiting
With the long waiting, and the interviewing of many candidates (probably not so qualified), recruitment costs will rise. The more the engagements get stalled without a Gatsby developer, and the more time is spent on lengthy recruitment processes, the higher the overall cost will be.
Competitors’ offers and salaries
Another likely scenario is the competitors that might offer more than you can. They might offer more perks and benefits, a higher salary, and considering that Gatsby is not too widespread, the qualified candidates may choose to go where they’d receive more compensation.
Be well-prepared ahead of the hiring because it entitles more than just directly starting an interview with a coding assignment. Risking a project with unqualified candidates is not an option, but planning for every possible hiring challenge is necessary. If you want super-fast websites that stand out, invest your efforts and resources only into the best Gatsby professionals without settling for less.
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