Web development and your sanity

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When people ask me what i do, i tell them i am a web developer. When they hear those words they probably think 'oh your a web designer'. I understand the confusion, developing is not a term thrown around that much and web designing is more commonly known. The next thing that someone might say is 'oh yeh web design like using Wix?'. Or, they might say 'oh yeh my nephew builds webpages in Microsoft word, it's easy right'. This is true web design can be easy, no denying that. This alludes to the fact that when getting started with web development basically anyone can do it at some level. Which is exactly how i set off on this path.

When i think of myself and what i do, i don't even think i am a web designer or a developer. In reality i feel I'm more closely aligned with an idiot, perpetual student and masochist all rolled into one. I am certain that i must be crazy to be doing web development for it's a deceptively fast moving and stressful industry. To highlight how stressful it can be i heard a story of a web developer who just died in his sleep. Nothing to shocking i hear you say. However, this guy was only in his thirties, yep three, zero. Cause of death 'web development'. This is the reason why today, i want to talk about sanity and web development.

What is the technical definition of 'sanity'? Well the Oxford dictionary lists it as 'The ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health', and 'Reasonable and rational behaviour'. Well, thinking in a normal and rational manner when being a web developer is very useful. However, in order to use this normalcy and rationality in web development you have to first become a web developer. It is this path which can well require a bit of crazy, masochism and a lot of free time.

So, it seems then there is some contradiction with keeping your sanity and having a career as a web developer, let me elaborate. If i said to you you needed to learn five things to do your job and those five things would rarely change. You might think, why do i have to learn five things? You might also be thinking that you would rather learn three instead of five? Wait, isn't three a lot already? Well, i can tell you learning five things is nothing, nothing at all.

In web development you might need to learn five new skills a year, and expect the five things you learned from last year to have changed. The five things you learned the year before are now so out of vogue that simply mentioning them could be met with a look of disgust, pity and shame all rolled into one. Anyone who has moved on from the latest fad of last year to the newest fad of this year will be exited to let you know. They will tell you how utilising new methodology x with new technology z and loading them with the new autonomous system y has improved their quality of life 20 fold. You on the other hand still using technology b have gone down in their estimation by at least 21 fold.

Ultimately, What i am trying to say is that things move fast in web development and with working on-line in general. There is currently a lot to learn for a web developer, let alone a 'normal and rational' person. You would have to be partially or fully crazy to choose web development as a career. Personally i don't recommend anything less than fully crazy.

It is highly likely you probably didn't choose web development. Instead you likely just gently eased into the madness of ever persistent learning required by this industry. Here in lies the answer as to why web developers even exist. You didn't choose this directly, instead you stumbled into it blindly chasing the butterflies until you could not see the forest for the trees. Now you are stuck in the forest learning all these new languages and skills that it is to late to turn around. So, now here you are, welcome to the crazy world of web development.

In closing i would just say, stay sane my friends, and if you cannot stay sane embrace the crazy.