Alcides Fonseca

40.197958, -8.408312

Self-taught developers

Source for first website – table based layout, a lot of view source, a lot of Notepad, a lot of IE 6. Used to work mostly in HTML and CSS. With the help from books like “HTML for the World Wide Web – Visual Quickstart Guide”, learned a lot as a tinkerer.

Two years in: good with HTML (table layouts) and moderate CSS (fairly new), basic PHP, could use FTP and do basic web config. Could get a site up and running from scratch. This was enough to get my first developer job. This was without any computer science background.

Now: front end developer with 10 years experience, not an engineer, or a code ninja. I don’t know Angular, React, WebPack. I don’t even know JavaScript inside out. I am valuable to my team. Need more: empathy, honesty, being able to see stuff from a user’s perspective.

Self taught developers today, via Tom Morris’ live blogging.

Back in my day, we learnt how to do things. Nowadays, kids learn how use high-level APIs, without any idea how things work underneath. They might learn Meteor, but have no idea about HTTP or Sockets or how HTTP Sessions are implemented. Which is fine for developing tiny little apps, but they miss the I understand all this sh*t feeling.

Supposedly high-level frameworks allow developers to write more complex programs in the same timeframe. However, I don’t believe this is true for small projects, because the setup time is increasing exponentially. Let’s start a new single page app, what do we need? Node, npm, webpack, angular or react or any other trendy framework. Say what you will about PHP, but it was a single one-click WAMP install away from your fingertips.

If you were a 13 year old kid wanting to develop your own app, what would you use?