The Self Taught Developer

I was never really taught front end development.

When I first started at the University in the early 2000’s, front end development was never truly a focus for Computer Science majors.  Our focus was back end web development using languages such as Java and the up and coming C#. Of course we knew the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; however, web development per se seemed to fall within the area of ‘graphic design’.

Today the front end landscape is completely different. Between then and now, I and many others like myself began to assume more of a front end development role. We were mostly self-taught, either at home, on our own or at work as we introduced through trial and error to newer technologies and techniques. Browsers and the systems they ran on became more powerful. Websites themselves became more prolific and eventually more mobile. This in turn shifted the development focus from powerful functionality accomplished on the back end to the actual usability of such features on the front end. The web has been moving toward a much more interactive and responsive experience.

As I previously mentioned, I was never really taught front end development. But such is the nature of our industry. Sure, college courses lay down a solid foundation of development skills and know how. Yet, the true education is in the discovery, analysis, and implementation of new technologies to meet the current and future needs of the clients and companies we work with. After all of these years I still continue to teach myself front end development. As an example, only recently did I just come to know what the JavaScript prototype is and what it can be used for.

It is true that developers care about relevance in a way as a matter of self-preservation. But if developers are not relevant, by the same argument, what they then develop is not relevant either. That is to say, the self interest in relevancy is not self-serving, but it is for the benefit of the world at large. We are concerned with becoming better at what we do, because in turn, the world becomes better at what it does.

“If things don’t change, they stay the same” – Anon