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Keeping Up To Date As A Web Developer

9 May, 2018 Zack Warren Development

The World (Wide Web) is Your Oyster

Web development is such a bizarre industry. It’s almost unlike any other. You can pick it up at any time in your life, study as much or as little as you want to and become as good or mediocre as you desire — all from the comfort of your own home. All of the information you could ever dream about is available to you online and mostly for free. This isn’t the case with the majority of careers. Imagine learning open heart surgery from a YouTube video. How about building space-faring rocket engines from a garage, in your spare time. That’s probably not going to happen. But a Web Software Engineer? You can start today… if you feel like it.

A Forever Student

The biggest difference is in the ongoing education. Web development seems to change almost daily. I remember when I first started, I would think “Man, I can’t wait until I’m done training so I can finally be a developer”. I can now laugh heartily at myself, for how stupid that actually sounds. There is no end. There is no graduation. You are always learning. There could be new framework, a new standard or a new buzzword. Someone made a better version of “that”. Then somebody else came along and forked “that” to make “this” (There’s a Javascript joke here somewhere). With all of this new stuff, it’s very easy to fall behind. Luckily, the Internet gives you all the tools you need to stay on top of it.

My Favorite Resources

Reddit

Reddit, for the most part, is a great place where you can be part of a community regarding just about any topic you can think of. I frequent a few particular sub-Reddits to learn about all the new and exciting things in the web-dev world.

…just to name a few.

Github

Github is a service that provides code repositories — a place to keep your precious portfolio site, or the source code for your Instagram killer. I’ll regularly use Github to view the source code for plugins or packages other people have written that I’d like to incorporate into my projects. Viewing the trending repositories on Github is a great way to see what other people are using. You can “star” repositories on Github if you think they provide something useful, and the more stars a repository accumulates, the higher it grows in the trending list.

Stack Overflow

There’s a saying I like that roughly goes “Never memorize something that you can look up”. This is especially true in web development. You’ll never memorize how to do everything. You just need to remember that you CAN do it. The “how” is only a Google search away. Most often, when you search for something development related, you’ll get a list of results that point you to Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is a forum where you can ask a question, and people who are knowledgable on the topic will give their answers. Other users can vote on which answers are most helpful, and the original poster can choose the best one. It’s a pretty safe bet that your question is not unique, and that someone else has come across the same thing. All you have to do is search for it.

Podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts… like A LOT. They span a variety of subjects from sports to TV, all the way to web development. It’s incredible how many there are and how specific they get. If you’ve never listened to a podcast, I’d suggest trying one out. You’d be surprised how easy it is to just sit back and listen, as well as how much you can really take away from the conversation.

Codepen

Coding is like being married. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to just sit down and hash it out. It might not make sense to open up your code editor and fire up your build process just to figure out why your CSS animation isn’t working properly. Codepen gives you a sandbox to write out your code and test things, right from your browser. And it doesn’t even have to be a problem. Maybe you just want to try something out, or get better a particular aspect of coding. Codepen is the answer!

If You’re Not First, Your Last

Web development is really fun and exciting. It can give you an immense feeling of accomplishment, and other times it can make you feel incredibly dumb. It all comes down to attitude. Do you want to be the best, and hone your skills? If so, you’ll have no problem and you probably didn’t need to read this article. If you’re having trouble keeping up, I hope I was able to provide you with some things you can start doing to be a better developer.

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