Monday, March 19, 2018

No time to waste...

I love videos like this. I watch multiple every year. I stacked up terribly the first year: I hardly knew any of the technologies - hadn’t even heard of most. I was freelancing, and a lot of the highlighted tools weren’t necessary to complete my projects. After four years of developing on a team, however, I’m starting to make the cut.

I attribute my progression to being an early adopter. I believe in trying new tools and technologies as soon as possible. I’m not saying switch frameworks every year, but there should be a “buzz” around most of your tools and stack. That’s where you find the advancements that improve your workflow and productivity. ColdFusion, for example, gets the job done, but try finding a Vagrant box for it, or using it in a serverless architecture. Not happening. I'm pretty productive with Backbone.js, but I started using Vue.js last week. Backbone works well, but it's missing useful tooling (a cli, for example), so I have to move on; I'm always looking for better tools and methodologies.

I get the frustration with constant change. It takes time and energy. I remember learning Gulp and thinking it was serious overkill, but I kept at it because better devs were using it. Eventually, I got the hang of things, and now it’s one of my go-to tools. It appears, however, Gulp is now out, and Webpack is in (that’s based on more research than just this video, by the way). So now what? Am I supposed to abandon Gulp and move on to Webpack, even though Gulp works just fine?

Short answer - yes. There’s nothing wrong with waiting a few months or a year before trying a new tool, but I’ve noticed a problem with devs who tend to take this approach: they never end up adopting anything. The time is never “right,” or they wait so long that newer tools emerge. Of course, they then wait-and-see with the newer tools - stagnating further. That’s not a recipe for success, in my opinion. I take the opposite approach and go for it a.s.a.p.

It's important to know your style, and to be clear about it when joining a team. Working with “slow” people is difficult, when you’re aggressive about using the latest and greatest. It’s equally frustrating working with people who use new tools every project, when you want a “stable” environment. Choosing a team with the right outlook is critical to job satisfaction.

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