Web Developer Or Designer Growing Pains
If you asked me about a year ago what my favorite blogs were, I would give you the same answers that most of you would give. Lately, and by that I mean about 6 months or so, maybe a little longer, I’ve been feeling like none of them are writing about anything that I need anymore. I’m not going to mention any names because I respect what they gave me. What do I mean by ‘need’ though? That feeling of “Holy CRAP that is awesome.” I don’t know if the caliber of writing has gone down on those blogs, or if I’ve just grown beyond what they are doing. Only one major blog has kept up with where I am at and what I want to see, and that is net.tutsplus.com. Everyone else seems to be posting the same fluff pieces about things plumbers can teach us. I want tutorials about some bad-ass CSS3 techniques that no one has thought of. Or the video tutorial series I’m watching on net.tuts about starting Ruby.
I started to actually wonder if this is typical? Do other web developers go through this stage? I get a lot of respect at work from certain colleagues because they know the amount of outside work I put into learning stuff. There are times though where I want to show people something that either they don’t care about or aren’t ready for. Sass has been one of them. I can’t convince anyone to try it out, either because they are learning their own things or they don’t see the point.
I want to do more!
I think I am at an in between moment in my career. One where I know how to do more that what my job lets me do yet I still love what I do and where I am at. To make this more clear though, I’m working on our corporate redesign, and for once I am given the straight psd files and told to build. That happens all the time on custom built websites and templates, but NOT on corporate. I don’t know if my manager trusts what I can do more or what, but this time he didn’t start the build at all. Pure heaven for me. One, because I am very particular (like most of us are) on how I build things, and two it is hard to build on top of what someone else has down when their style is very different. That is the back story and it sounds great right? Yes…and no.
I was about an hour into what I was doing today on this build when I realized a feeling that kept creeping up on me. Writing plain CSS/3 was tedious. I’m talking irritating the crap out of me. How can that be when I actually love it so much? Because I f’ing love Sass. I could have written the same styles with about half the amount of Sass, and about a third faster. You know that saying ignorance is bliss? I felt almost like I was in the Matrix. I almost laughed at myself, too. For just the time I was working on this build I thought “Please just let me not know what I know.” If that happened, everything would have been 100% awesome. I was building a nice design from the ground up…my way. But typing out CSS like the commoner was like watching a mile long turtle race. I kept thinking to myself “Dammit, if I could write a mixin for this or just have a few variables…I’ll settle for four of them…this would be so much better!”
Now you know what my problem is. I’m not a pro at Sass or jQuery or anything else I have learned in the past year, but I am far enough ahead that doing things the same old way is starting to bother me. Which brings me back to my question. Is this a normal thing in a web developer’s career? Have you gone through it? Because it really is a growing pain. I feel that there is so much more I could do to make things better or easier, but can’t for several reasons. One of which is, no one else is really ready for the type of things I would bring to the table.
I’m not tooting my own horn
Don’t think I am bragging either. Trust me when I say there are times where I feel like a COMPLETE idiot. I hate reading articles thinking there must be thousands of developers sooooo beyond me. If it were not for a couple of guys I work with giving me the verbal pat on the back once in a while, I would almost be depressed with my knowledge. Of course this is the same feeling that keeps me inspired to learn.
I am also sad that the same blogs I loved a year ago are being almost ignored. I am reading more articles written by unknown bloggers lately. I miss going to the top popular blogs and going “Crap that is awesome. Hey guys did you read that?” I get that still, but not from those same blogs, which means not a lot of people are reading the same things I am. I keep watch just in case, but it is rare when I get that same awesome feeling from them. I look forward to getting out of this middle stage and into the next, but part of me looks back to about a year (maybe a year and a half) ago as a golden age that has passed. I guess I just have to look ahead and make a new one.