It’s hard to believe that this blog has posts that are now ten years old. That also means that I’ve been working in web development for 10 years! Back in 2013, I transitioned from working in site reliability engineering to working in frontend engineering. I spent most of the prior year ramping up on web technologies during a leave of absence from work that I was lucky to get, and in 2013 I started working in the field. That’s when the “real” learning — the learning-on-the-job phase — started.
So what have I learned in the past 10 years of working in this field, and maintaining my (infrequent) web dev blogging?
Blogging and Note Taking Pays off
Writing short blog posts (or notes somewhere at a minimum) on how you were able to troubleshoot and resolve a particular web dev issue is useful. These help your future self when you inevitably encounter that same issue later on. They also help people like you who are facing the same problem and are desperately searching the web for a solution. For example, I have a short blog post from 2014 (yes, a whopping nine years ago from now!) on how to handle PHP errors that can crop up when including SVG files. That post still gets frequent views today!
Tech Changes but the Underpinnings Remain
The fundamental web technologies remain though, and if you're able to get comfortable with those, I've found you'll be able to pick up new web technologies and tools fairly quickly.
Soon after I had gotten decent at jQuery, AngularJS was the hotness. I learned Angular (v1) at my first web development job and quickly saw how that road was paved with footguns. While the 2-way data binding was magical, it was so easy to end up with global state everywhere!
map() , loops, object destructuring, and other ES6 features were still very useful knowledge to have.
These were fairly different libraries, but with some time learning and experimenting, I was able to ramp up on them and really enjoyed using them in turn.
Your career interests may change too, and that's expected. "Don't die wondering!" is something I like to remind myself when considering a pivot. I went from frontend engineering in a giant tech company, to frontend engineering in a media startup, to frontend engineering in a product-turned-ecommerce startup, to design systems engineering at a fintech startup, to my current role as a design technologist at an enterprise software company. Changing roles like this, either by transferring within a company or by switching companies completely, is how you find out what you really like and really don't like.
User Needs Remain Unchanged
Featured image by Lan Gao via Unsplash