What's The Most Important Thing A Web Developer Should Know?
It's 2022. Looking at the Internet is like looking at an analog of the Big Bang. In the first few moments of our universe, entropy was low, things were simple, and structures were homogeneous. Then the explosion proceeded. Entropy increased, and things got more scattered, chaotic, and heterogeneous. The Web has been like that. Things started off pretty simple and comprehensible. Then everyone showed up and made a mess of it.
How Things Were In Olden Tymes
Most of the developers on the Solspace team are seasoned veterans. We all remember the early days of the internet. We remember what bizarre things we had to do to get a website to look like the design.
In olden times, one person could do everything needed to conceive of, build, and launch a website. This one person could create the design. They could write the code to render the design in a browser. They could code for Internet Explorer as well as Netscape. They could FTP directly into the server. They could upload the website files. They could point the domain name at the server and inform the client that the website was live.
How Things Are Now
Nowadays, except for the simplest hobby websites, a team of people is needed for web development. Stability has increased. Security has increased. Reliability has increased. Flexibility has increased. Speed has increased. There have been so many improvements in web development that it boggles the mind. But that only happened because expertise proliferated. There's an expert for every aspect of web development now. And there has to be.
The number of web tools and technologies has vastly proliferated as well. For each of these advances, an equal expert is needed. One web developer can't know everything anymore. Instead, one web developer must know many other web developers.
Go Deeper With Your Expertise And Broader With Your Rolodex
It's been clear for several years now that diving deeper into specialized areas of expertise is both lucrative and essential for career survival. But all of the same website problems still exist and they must still be solved to have successful digital properties. So it's also essential that web developers expand their social networks.
Clients will ask, 'Can you do this?' Your answer nowadays is, 'no, but I know someone who can.'
Keep Your Adversaries Close And Your Humble Adversaries Closer
Web developers need other web developers. And they especially need the web developers that make them better. The people that make you better are often the people who are comfortable being adversarial with you. We should confront one another more often about the dumb habits we have. "Why are you doing it that way?" is what I seem to hear every day on my team. This is good. It means we have a healthy relationship with being devil's advocates. What's even better is when our fellow developers are humble adversaries. "Convince me. I don't believe you. But I also don't know if I know best."
Collegial: This is the way to be in 2022.