Ramblings in Web Dev

Looking back on 2019 - 7 Lessons Learnt

January 02, 2020

Clouds with text of: Looking Back on 2019

1. Learning shouldn’t always be about your job

In the past, I’ve always tailored my learning outside of work to what is relevant to my current work projects. I feel an important part of being a developer is to keep the passion for learning alive. For me, recently, that has meant stepping outside my comfort zone of Front End Development. This year I’ve spent time learning design principals, how to set up a web server on a VPS, and doing some writing. Of course, these do broadly relate to my field. They compliment my current skills and have the potential to open doors to other areas.

I believe continuous learning is more important than the subject matter you study. Keeping variety in my learning has helped me stay interested and motivated.

2. We should all ask more questions

If you are Junior, ask more questions. Learn as much as you can in this early part of your career. Know that imposter syndrome happens to all of us. Every developer starts off in your very position.

If you are Senior, ask more questions. You may not know as much as you think and you can always learn more. Challenge your assumptions and learn from your team.

If you are a Jedi Developer/Coding Savant, ask more questions. This will encourage more junior members to ask more questions. Discussions you start will help you, and others around you, learn.

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3. Writing good code is only part of it

Clean performant code is only one piece of the puzzle. A huge part of successfully writing software is coordinating people. Having a great process around how you develop and deploy software is crucial. Motivating a team of developers will impact code quality. Organizing and coordinating a group of developers to write code in a scalable way is the cornerstone of the entire process.

4. Statically generated web pages are a great option

Static site generators are a game-changer. Frameworks like Gatsby, Hugo and Jekyll allow the advantage of automating the generation of pages without the overhead for a web server. There is often a need to have dynamic data that does not continually change, but changes according to some semi-regular event such as a blog post or a product launch. For these, statically generated pages are ideal.

6. Writing takes much longer than I expected

Planning, researching, and writing articles takes far longer than I expected. As soon as I sit down to write an article, I see where the holes in my knowledge lie. This invariably leads to further research and diving down rabbit holes. Not being a natural writer, the proofreading and various drafts are somewhat onerous. Next year, I’m going to try to work on a few articles at once, in different stages, in an attempt to increase the cadence of new articles.

7. Use apps to boost my productivity

This year I’ve started using Notion and Bear for note-taking and todos, Insomnia for testing API endpoints, and Grammarly to bolster my writing skills.

I'm Tom Collins a Web Developer based Dublin. I build web pages and online tools for HubSpot.