This post is an excerpt from my 2019 Sunrise Journal (built with Hugo, Imgix, Flickr, and yes, jQuery), which I thought would be interesting to share with the dev community.
I've been a professional web developer for over a decade. But lately there's been a recurring question in my head, "If I don't use React, am I still a developer?"
In one regard, I've never been more confident in my abilities. I can be handed a design and make a functioning site with many of the best practices, tie in API services, and create some advanced functionality.
It all began with my first website in 1996, learning HTML and CSS on Geocities when I just was just 13 years old. Eventually I learned to make dynamic websites, mastered Wordpress, learned MySQL, managed several WHM servers, fell in love with regular expressions and did so while working for on some incredible projects through a couple agencies and have used my knowledge to launch some fun projects.
In another regard, I feel like a complete hack. I've been a casual dev.to reader for a couple years. Now when I read the content, I feel everything is entirely over my head. Being in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it's difficult to find developers to learn with. I don't relate to a thing I read about the culture of Silicon Valley or the startup scene. Being entirely self-taught I feel basic concepts of programming or development are beyond me. React, ES6, AWS management, node.js, Vue, and package managers are completely beyond me. And worst of all, I still build using jQuery and PHP (it's ok, you can laugh).
This is a field I love, but I feel like an old guy (PHP) in a young guy's game (React).
This leaves me with many questions.
- Just how in the world does one keep up with it all?
- If I don't keep up, will I still be taken seriously as a developer?
- Is there a place in the dev community for those who are marketers first, and developers second?
- Is becoming full stack out of the question?
- And alas, if I don't use React, am I still a developer?