Learn Together

Learning is one of the most essential keys to succeeding in web development these days; you have to continue to evolve with the ever-changing topography of the industry.

In the 90’s, when I started learning to build websites, there weren’t a lot of resources online. I WebMonkey and HTMLGoodies for the most part. I spent hours on these sites, learning all that I could. And for everything else, there was View Source.

The great thing about View Source was that it gave you a look into the mind of another developer. While I’d pick up the primitives from WebMonkey and HTMLGoodies, I learned creative approaches and applications in View Source.

I had very few friends that showed in interest in web development back then. I was raised in a small town set off a river in Southern Illinois. We were mostly interested in sports and video games. Today that isn’t the case; I have a large network of friends who are obsessed with building for the web.

Learning in a group is powerful. It lightens the load on each individual. And nowhere in history has it been more necessary than it is today. Web Development isn’t about hacking together some HTML and tossing it up on Geocities, like it was in the 90’s.  Today you have to figure out pre-compilers, deployment strategies, version-control software, and more; and we haven’t even gotten to the actual development process yet.

Years ago I used to meet regularly with some friends to catch up on life, and find out what they were learning. We’d walk each other through code we had written during the week, and explain new ideas. This was how I would become introduced to many JavaScript frameworks, Node.js, and more. We’d even revert to studying Math we had long forgotten to solve certain problems together.

Learning requires hours of slugging through lengthy documentation, manuals, and more (assuming good documentation even exists; it often doesn’t). There is often a frustrating process of trial-and-error that leaves you aggravated, before it leaves you enlightened. But when you come out on the other end, you’re able to save others the heartache by leading them along the path of least resistance.

It’s often said that a 2 horses don’t pull twice as much as 1 horse, they pull 3 times as much. There’s power in the unity of mind and effort. This is shown in group-learning, as well as in pair programming. So find a few friends, and meet regularly.

Learn together.