Life Lessons and Web Development Resources
In 6th grade we were supposed to give a presentation. I have absolutely no recollection of what the assignment was, and sadly I don't remember anyones presentation. What I remember is giving a talk about HTML and CSS, and how I thought it was the coolest shit in the world. I'm 100% sure it went over 99% of the kids heads in that room, the teacher's too. I was fascinated by computers and the Internet in general, and poking around in that space was a dream. You can tell that I had a lot of friends.
That was around 1998. There was probably a lot of dev resources out there, but not like there are today. My mom worked for a software company, and I interviewed the devs and grabbed some information out of an HTML or websites for dummies book and put that magical presentation together. Then I think I found computer games and forgot about all that stuff, for awhile.
It's now years later than when I was prowling around on a 56k connection, probably just about to defrag my Windows machine. Now I help lead development teams to victory, casting spells of array filters and collecting immutable object runes, combating the evil Scope Creep and usually just making that button a lighter shade of blue.
I'd be nowhere close to where I'm at today without the help of mentors and people that believed in me. They were only part of the equation. As I have dived into the developer journey, there a few pieces that have aided in my success. One of those things is not college (no fancy-pants degree here). One of those things is obsession, but I can't give that away! I can just suggest that you follow your heart. You're the one that's gonna have to do it.
There and Back Again
I ran cross country in high school for about a semester. It was a summer, and one full season, and I really had a lot of fun. Minus the vomit, of course. One day our coach pulled us aside after he had surveyed a route we were going to run. We were somewhere-only-God-knows Oregon running a meet hosted by another school. My teammates and I gathered around to hear the juicy tidbits, tips, and wisdom that the coach had to share:
About a mile and a half in there's a big long hill. You should all start at a good normal pace. When you get to the hill, keep the pace. Some people are going to hit the incline and slow down a bit to trudge up, others are going to keep their pace. When they all get to the top, most of them are going to slow down, take a breather, and rest a bit to gather their strength. What you should do instead when you get to the top of the hill is just push hard into full gear, and pass them.
I never thought that would stick with me for so long, and apply to so many different aspects of my life. There's this essential quality that I run with, that when things get tough, I keep a pace and push hard at the precipice. Instead of gliding down, I just roll on the increasing momentum, and I end up covering a lot of ground.
As it relates to technical understanding, this attitude/technique, is the cornerstone to my success in the web development community. Technical aptitude is only part of web development though, but I'll just focus on this part for right now, since it was the biggest mystery for me. Coupling this with the sea of dev resources I tapped into has me working hand-in-hand with world class UI and UX designers, leading teams, building enterprise level applications from the small prototype to the grandiose. That 11 year old 6th grader would think I do the coolest shit in the world, and it's magical.
Yes, but where are the dev resources?
I have spreadsheets on spreadsheets on spreadsheets of resources outlined and categorized. Scribbled notes and highlighted notebooks. Free stuff, paid stuff, stuff from the past, stuff for the future, stuff for now, stuff that's hot, stuff that's fun. Blog posts, video courses, YouTube playlists, books. Yeah, that's right, books. I think at the very least I could share it back with the community, along with my story.
One way to keep the magic alive, and to hold onto what you have, is to give it away, for free.