Is it Time for the Web Developer to Evolve?

time for developer to evolve
The WP Crowd

Roy Sivan

senior contributor
BIO
Published: November 4, 2016

I think a lot about how much my job, my career, is based on technology that has been around shorter than I have been alive. I watch things like Halt & Catch Fire (good show!) and see the progression of “The Internet” and when I think about it, its so new, yet has evolved SO MUCH decade after decade.

I became a web developer because I loved being able to code something and see it show up on the screen. It all started when my brother and I had our original 486 Pentium with MS-DOS, my brother programmed a way so that when I typed in “games” a table came up with games loaded on the computer and commands I’d need to play them.

I’d turn on the computer type in “games” and then “keen” and Commander Keen would load up. Coding became my passion, and my career.

Internet of Things

Sometime in the past few years the revolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) came about and things started to take a change. Suddenly normal every day things were connected to your Internet.  Your phone is now controlling your lights, your locks, your garage, and so many aspects of your life all through the Internet.

This isn’t the only thing that has changed. New products are being released that help you with your daily chores while connected to the Internet. Take for example the Amazon Dash Buttons. They are just little devices that serve one purpose: Connect to your Internet and on a push of a button something gets ordered and shipped to your door.

Where have all the browsers gone?

Browsers used to be the only thing that connected an individual to the Internet.  But now as more apps come out and more things don’t even have browsers, more people are interacting with the Internet without a browser. While apps require code and so do all these other things, we see a new generation of devices and tech.

Arduinos, Rasberry Pi’s, and other Internet connected hardware are making its way into our lives. People are creating new devices and using physical interactions while connecting that to the Internet to do something.

These devices do not have browsers.  They aren’t gateways to the Internet but rather a more direct, single purpose, interaction with it.

Websites aren’t going anywhere, but its getting flooded

Small businesses will always need websites. As functionality for other devices and hardware increases, they may use websites for less and less. As the scope of work for websites decreases, so will the potential budgets.  And as I’ve said before there is a race to the bottom, especially in WordPress.

Yes, there were will be businesses that revolve everything they do around a website.  But new tech, I think, will move towards more IoT devices.

So is it time to for the developer evolve?

I look at what I’ve learned and how JavaScript is really playing a bigger role in so many things. The new IoT is a whole new language and way of thinking. So I keep pondering to myself if it is time for me to evolve. Is it time for me to keep learning the new JavaScript framework(s) while also learning something that could be more beneficial to me as few as 5 years down the line or even 10.

As the race for website development gets more and more flooded, I find it harder to keep myself unique and ahead of the curve. In fact, for the first time in my web development career (of nearly 20 years) I feel like I am behind… by a lot.

Imposter Syndrome much? No. As someone who has spoken at WordCamps for a few years now, I notice my bread and butter type topics are no longer unique and “hot” and I face more and more competition.

What is next?

So the next question comes, what do I learn next? Do I try to learn how to build cool devices using Arduino or Rasberry Pi type devices? Do I finally learn how to code Apps using native code vs. a JavaScript toolkit (PhoneGap, etc.). I’m not sure.

I don’t want to sound like one of those people that assume armageddon is coming because I know it is not. However I do want to make sure I stay ahead of the curve vs. trailing behind.

So what do you think? Are you a web developer who has dived into other things? What are the easiest things to pick up on with the knowledge have from web development? Do you think the market will shift in that direction, or did you learn for fun? Asking for a friend …

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Matt Barrett
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Chatbots are the future. People will choose to talk to their devices and expect to be able to “take the conversation with them”. You might start an interaction with a business or an app using something like Echo/Alexa and then carry the conversation/interaction over to text message or the Google app on your phone.

It’s an exciting time to be a developer but it’s also daunting to keep up with all the developments (pun intended).

Marc
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I started much earlier than you did. But 15 years ago i left the business. Now i’m going to return to IT and it’s a bit … whatever. I am trying to find the right path for me to learn.
I just hope i will make the right decisions. By my time i was always quite ahead of everything, so hopefully i can accomplish that again 🙂