Pace of Change

Has any other career field seen as much change as web development — especially the kind of open-source front-end web development the cool kids are doing?

Many of the in-demand tools, such as Angular, didn’t even exist a few years ago. (And it’s still changing — in the time it took to type that sentence, Angular was made obsolete by Angular 2.)

So what does this mean for front-end web developers like me?

It means an absolute ****-ton of new stuff to learn.

In this video, at 8’49”, one of the Digital Ocean folks, Joel Califa, presents an abridged list of some of these things: https://youtu.be/N470hsHKXNc?t=8m49s

As he mentions, the list really is much longer — what about Ionic, Cordova, JasmineJade, SASS (not the old syntax, but the new one)/LESS, TypeScript, etc., etc., etc.?

It also means a kind of identity crisis. I’ve considered myself to be one of the rare, hybrid, “purple unicorn” web designer-developer types he described in the first part of the video.  In 2009, I went to Midlands Tech to study both coding (Java, SQLJavaScript, HTML, CSS) and the Adobe Creative Suite Tools (PhotoShop, DreamWeaver, Flash, etc.). . . . Yep, Flash.

. . . . However, since then I have worked for two years in a LAMP shop and then another two in an enterprise .NET shop.  I’ve coded and deployed a native Android app, and have configured my own Linux VPSs from scratch.  My interests lately have been in exploring full-stack web development using Mongo, Angular 2 (and React), Express, and Node – the so-called “MEAN” and “MERN” stacks. . . .

. . . . So am I still a “front-end” web developer?  My web certificate was in “web design”, but am I really a “designer” anymore?

Thankfully, he does give some solid steps for prioritizing a learning path and saving some sanity (apologies for the potty mouth).

There comes a point, too, where one has to not worry about titles and labels. . . .  (Years ago, I tried to explain/sell myself as someone with the “T-shaped” skill set mentioned in the video, and no recruiter or hiring manager had any idea what I was talking about.)

. . . .But, rather, just get to the business of building elegant, useful digital things that live on the Internet. . . .

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