Our industry sometimes gets a lot of shit for being, frankly, full of opinionated assholes and sexist jerks. And that’s fair.
But it’s also full of some of the nicest and most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The culture of sharing, educating, and giving away our work is incredible.
I’ve never loved being part of a community as much as this one.
Before becoming a web developer, I was in Human Resources. There was a fair bit of “sharing of best practices” in that community, too. But not like ours.
In the web community, we literally give away our best work in the form of open source software. We write lengthy articles detailing new techniques and and ideas on how to move the whole web platform forward. We fix other peoples bugs—for free!—on sites like StackOverflow and in Slack channels.
People in HR don’t regularly share their lovingly crafted organizational development strategies or succession planning tools. Those are considered competitive advantages to be closely guarded.
But in the web community, there’s a “rising tide lifts all boats” ethos.
We want to make everyone else’s work better, too, because it’s better for the entire ecosystem. When I stop to think about it, it gives me all sorts of feels. I literally get goosebumps.
Today, I wanted to take a quick moment to thank a few people specifically.
- Chris Coyier of CSS Tricks. His articles on WordPress and CSS literally taught me to code when I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Specifically, his designing for WordPress series started my whole career.
- Todd Motto. He’s an Angular guy now, but at the time I was learning, he was all-in on vanilla JS, and personally helped me work through silly little things I didn’t understand more times than I can count.
- Ethan Marcotte. He literally coined the term Responsive Web Design, and shared some crazy ideas that completely reshaped the way we build things for the web today. He’s also just an amazingly nice guy who I met once early in my career and then remembered me personally when I ran into him again like two years later.
- Luke Wroblewski. He introduced me to the idea of mobile-first web development at a time when the industry was just starting to shift that way. I was ahead of the curve on this because of him.
- Brad Frost. Brad shares more than anyone I know. He just gives away so many amazing things and works so hard to help other people succeed in this industry. And when I was still an HR guy trying to break into the industry, he had a 1-on-1 Skype call with me to answer some questions I had and help me figure out what I really wanted to do with my career.
- Jeremy Keith. He introduced me to progressive enhancement and the importance of building more resilient websites and web apps. It completely changed the way I build things for the web and gave me so much more passion for the work we do.
- Jennifer Robbins. Among her many amazing achievements, she cofounded ARTIFACT Conference, literally the best conference I’ve ever been to. I attended it pretty early in my career, and it felt like web dev Woodstock to me. Connections I made at the first event led to my first job in web development and some friendships that persist today.
- Dave Rupert. His series on performant WordPress early in my career introduced me to the importance of web performance and permanently shaped how I build things for the web. He also super generously shared my first open source project on Twitter even though it was a literal ripoff of one of his with like two small changes (I had no idea how OSS etiquette worked back then).
- The entire team at Filament Group. They give so much to the community in the way of articles, research, and open source projects.
- Zach Leatherman in particular. He’s helped me make sense of web fonts, given me valuable feedback on speaking topics, and helped me get started using static site generators. Just an all around great guy!
- Eric Bailey, Scott O’Hara, and countless other accessibility consultants who have helped me make the things I build more usable for everyone.
- Jonathan Stark and Philip Morgan. Their ideas around specializing and pricing helped me build my vanilla JS education business beyond what I thought was possible.
- Wes Bos. He both showed me that it’s possible to have a very successful career selling educational products to developers, but also very generously answered some questions about I had about logistics and marketing.
- Paul Jarvis. His ideas around how to run a business as a single person and still have time to enjoy your life have been incredibly helpful. And like so many in our industry, he’s taken time to personally answer specific questions I had and point me in the right direction on a few things.
- All of the random people on StackOverflow who have generously answered questions for a stranger when I was stuck on something and just couldn’t figure it out.
- The many, many more people I’m certain I’ve forgotten!
Thank you all! Without your help, guidance, and support, I wouldn’t be a web developer today. You literally gave me a career.