I was recently chatting with a friend and he was talking about all the things he wanted to learn. I was exhausted just hearing the list and realized that I am either getting old or I am getting tired; I’m not sure which.

There is a constant pressure to learn new things and keep up with all the latest ideas: new frameworks, new platforms, new ideas of how to write code, they just keep coming out. In addition, the ebb and flow of what is desired from a front-end developer keeps changing. It used to be that knowing CSS and HTML was enough, then jQuery came along, then responsive techniques, then Node.js and then Angular, Ember, etc., etc., etc. That list, right there, it tires me out.

So lately I’ve had to do some evaluating. What do I want to focus on, what do I love about the web? What do I actually want to learn, versus what I think I should learn. And to be honest, what I really like about the web, it isn’t always whatever is the sexy new hotness—it’s the bread and butter that makes sites easier for everyone to access and use. I love responsive design, I care about accessibility, and lately I’ve gotten really interested in performance as it pertains to CSS styles and load times.

There is a lot of pressure out there: to learn new things, to spend all your time coding, to be the super developer. I now believe that to be impossible and unhealthy. It means you aren’t living a balanced life and it also means that you’re living under constant stress and pressure.

So I’ve started devoting the time I have for learning new things to learning the things that I like, that matter to me, and hopefully that will show in my work and in my writing. It may not be sexy and it may not be the hottest thing on the web right now, but it’s still relevant and important to making a great site or application. So instead of feeling overwhelmed by code, maybe take a step back, evaluate what you actually enjoy learning, and focus on that.

The fine folks at A List Apart

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