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Keeping Up With The Codeashians

molly profile image Molly Struve (she/her) ・3 min read

These days the tech world moves at a blinding pace. It feels like almost every day you hear about a new type of database or language that "everyone" is using. The pressure to try and keep up with it all can be overwhelming. I was inspired to write this post because of a tweet from @emmawedekind that really struck a chord with me(and apparently many others if you read all the replies!).

That feeling like you can never keep up is all too real for me. Often when others start throwing around new tech stacks in conversation, I have to secretly Google every name they mention while I nod along, because I have no idea what they are talking about. This is when the Imposter Syndrome starts to creep in and I feel guilty. I think that I am somehow less of a developer because I don't know about all of these new technologies.

Part of the frustration for me is that the coworkers who talk about these new technologies all the time are the ones that are hacking away on this stuff in their free time. I, unfortunately, don't have the time to do that. I have a second passion besides coding and that is riding horses.

And I don't mean once a week, I ride 4-5 days a week and have 5-6 horses I have to get ridden. Much of my free time outside of work is spent riding. I wouldn't trade my time in the saddle for anything. It helps me recharge and brings me a lot of joy. But there are still times when I wonder if I should be doing more tech focused things during my time off.

I know deep down the answer is a resounding "NO!" but it takes effort to reassure myself that it is the right decision. Seeing Emma's tweet and reading through the responses was super comforting. I finally felt like I wasn't the only one that was struggling with this. Here are a couple of replies that I also think are spot on in describing this struggle.

Along with reading all of the replies, I also got a DM via Twitter from a fellow Site Reliability Engineer. He had read my ABC's of Engineering article about confidence and wanted advice on how to find his niche.

It feels like to me the needed mastery as an SRE changes from week to week and that honestly just makes me anxious and almost ADD as I spend time coming up to speed on new tech all the time which I know from experience as well as from others that, that is unsustainable and leads to burnout.

πŸ™Œ Hallelujah, someone else who feels the same way I do! The advice I gave him was:

try to fight the urge to grab the newest thing, find something that is working for you and stick with it. Go deep into all of the things it can do. Will you maybe miss some flashy new things that fly by while you are mastering it, yeah, but I think it will be worth it.

I have to keep rereading this advice and reminding myself that it is IMPOSSIBLE to learn everything. Putting pressure on ourselves to think we need to keep up is not the answer. We need to be OK with letting some things pass us by. As long as we have the technologies we need to do our jobs well, we are set.

Discussion (19)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I know this feeling well. A big part of my motivation for starting was a feeling of "screw this, I'm just going to go build a basic Rails blog".

Easier said than done, but I've tried to put myself in a position where I can be on the slightly later end of the adoption cycle where there's just fewer things going on because we tend to settle on a few good ideas in a space (for a short while at least).

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Jacque Schrag

There is nothing more illustrative of the developer attitude than starting your own blog & along the way thinking about how cool it would be to add other user accounts so people can comment, and then maybe post, and wouldn't it be cool if you could follow each other... πŸ˜‚

ben profile image
Ben Halpern • Edited

I created the comment section up on a weekend I had told someone I would write a post on a specific topic for them and was procrastinating biiiiiggggg time πŸ˜‹

sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede

The year was 2016 when I read somewhere that Angular 1 is dead. That was the very first framework I've ever learned in my life. I started jumping from framework to framework trying to learn the next big thing before I was left behind again. Years later (2019 basically) I land my first job and one of the biggest projects in the company is using the very same angular-1x that I ran away from because of some internet hype.

This is not only just a minor feeling to beginners, but it can also completely derail the learning path of a beginner if they're not careful.

molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her) Author

Wow! I never thought hype could go as far as being destructive to ones career but clearly it can. Thanks for sharing!

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Tony Hicks

I once heard a quote, actually about video games but it seems to have stuck with me and can be applied to other things as well: "Video games are a big deal because a big deal is made of video games". A bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think the same thing happens in IT.

The hype that gets generated can keep you on this strange hamster wheel where you're never learning anything properly but keep jumping from one thing to another. I've been on that wheel and it's not a good feeling.
I find tools like this: and this: to be very useful to show how mature something is and is good guidance for me whether or not to spend my time investigating into a particular tool.

rommik profile image
Roman Mikhailov

Thanks for the links. ThoughtWorks keeps surprising :)

molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her) Author

Oh cool, those sites look great for helping decipher technologies. Thanks for sharing!

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Lisa Armstrong

Greetings from a fellow equestrian/programmer!

Agreed, the most important thing is having the skills to do your job well.

Of course you need to keep up with industry trends, and that's where podcasts and sites like this one are good. I tend listen to podcasts while doing barn work.

It's tricky figuring out what is a trend vs a fad and whether you should invest your time learning it.

My criteria is,

  • Has it been around a while?
  • Is it a growing trend with a lot of support?
  • Is it useful?
  • Will I need it in the foreseeable future?

When you find something you want to learn, see if you use it in a work project. That justifies the learning investment and gives you practical skills.

To me it's more important to be a well rounded human being than knowing every latest framework.

So the next time someone starts tossing around terms you think you "should" know, remember that person probably doesn't know a thoroughbred from a draft horse. ;-)

molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her) Author

So the next time someone starts tossing around terms you think you "should" know, remember that person probably doesn't know a thoroughbred from a draft horse.


drm317 profile image
Daniel Marlow

I've created CRUD MVC web apps with about a dozen different frameworks over the years.

I had to learn each in turn and have forgotten most of them. The patterns and principles behind creating web apps have lived on.

bugmagnet profile image
Bruce Axtens

The flip side of this though is that the playing field does change. SNOBOL4 is insanely powerful tech but no one bothers with it anymore because it's not "new" (is there a word that means besotted with the new simply because it's new?) COBOL likewise. I'd love to stay with the stuff I started to get good at but there's no work there and no money. So I do C# and JavaScript instead.

Good article. I also struggle in similar ways because I also have a life outside of IT (which currently includes long-ferment wild-yeast breads.)

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Michiel Hendriks


I generally glance over a tech when I hear about it. To figure out what I can do with it. If I might have a future use case I might try it out. In the end I will only really look into technology when I have an actual need for it.

I think the nodejs/JavaScript community really gave a boost to the highly volatile and short lived framework du jour.

mrlarson2007 profile image
Michael Larson • Edited

I agree, many waste far too much time chasing new languages and tech. Give time for new stuff to settle mean while we can use what we know to solve real problems people face!

tvthatsme profile image
Timothy Vernon

There is a good podcast with this same title πŸ˜…

molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her) Author

I saw that thanks to someone Tweeting it at me. Guess I am not the only one that thought of this pop culture reference when thinking about this topic. I think I win when it comes to cover art though! πŸ˜‰

tvthatsme profile image
Timothy Vernon

Hahaha true!

qcgm1978 profile image
Youth • Edited

It's temporary phenomenon. Now the front-end is getting stable and the focus is transiting to AI. So I think we can relax ourselves.