How to survive in the web development industry

How to survive in the web development industry

I have been in the web development industry since 2010. I begin as an amateur front-end developer during my time at the university. After that, I got my first full-time job for two years. Then, I started to work remotely and sometimes, freelancing. So, how to survive in the web development industry?

Some folks will say about keep updating your skills, always keep updating with the last trends, follow the code camps, or learn that new sophisticated web framework.

While they are true, but there are still more things to do. I believe those are far more important than keeping yourself on the latest trend in the industry. Yet, I am sure it’s much less hectic.

Learn to adapt quickly

The one that never changes is these changes themselves. It’s true for the web development industry and the tech industry in general. If you can’t adapt quickly to the new changes (which most likely out of your control), you’ll have a hard time to survive.

Though you won’t lose your life if you don’t survive in the industry since you can just switch to another career in another industry, learning to adapt to changes quickly will give you many more advantages – even you’re not in the web development area anymore.

Here is some example of recent changes that affect many people in this industry.

WordPress Gutenberg editor

WordPress updates to 5 which replace the old Classic Editor with a block-based editor called Gutenberg.

I saw some WordPressers are complaining about the update. Some others are already learning to adapt to this new editor. The rest of the others are installing the Classic Editor plugin and disable the new one.

Cloud9 moved to AWS Cloud9

This also affects many things in the industry. Given the trends that many developers already using that C9 IDE. Then, Amazon decided to integrate into their AWS infrastructure, and we don’t have a choice but to adapt to this change to survive.

cPanel increases its license price (suddenly)

This forced many web hosting and web developers who depend on cPanel to move to another software to manage their server or pay a much higher license cost.

Based on those three examples alone, we know that changes can happen in days, hours, minutes, or even seconds. So, always keeps learning to adapt to any changes quickly.

Learn to learn quickly

Most web development project depends on frameworks. Those frameworks will keep evolving. Not only that, even the language will keep evolving too.

When I jumped into the industry years ago, I started with PHP 5, now PHP had version 7. Another one: I begin with Ruby 1.8 and now Ruby is on 2.6.3. Same with Rails. I started with Rails 2.3 and now using Rails 5. Not only that, Rails 6 is on the way to be released too.

The key is learning to learn quickly. I know a great fellow developer who’s a fast learner. He had fewer experience but his ability to learn something quickly is helpful to catch on the project we’ve been working on.

Get the fundamental, then use Google

Trying to remember every syntax for each language we use on developing a web is like looking for a needle in the haystack. Very hard and difficult. Not even worth the effort.

My approach is always to get a proper understanding of the fundamental concept, then use Google as a reminder for the syntax or setting details.

An example: I understand the concept of MVC, but I can’t remember the syntax details on writing a validation or a scope in the model. Therefore, I just asked Google for the answer.

Try to get better using Google

Ever heard this proverb I am not a good developer, I am just better at Google? Though its purpose is just for a joke, there’s a truth behind it. 

My quest in the industry showed it clearly. To get more details about this, you may read this story later I’m not a good web developer, I’m just good at googling things.

The most important one: persistence

I always try to be persistence. I hardly give up on challenges. I always try to do my best to solve the problem. Even if it seems impossible because doing an impossible thing is fun.

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