My First 20 Years as a Webdeveloper

It was 1998 and I was in my mid twenties when some guys named Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded google.

It was the year when US president Bill Clinton didn't had a "sexual relation" with Monica Lewinsky and Apple released their first iMac Pro. It was still 2 years to pass to turn the numbers for the millenium when Frank Sinatra passed away and "grunge" music was still a thing.

For me, it was time to change something with my current job occupation at network cabling. I wanted a job which I truly love and which wasn't a daily struggle.

Times Are Changing

There was this new thing called "The Internet" and it looked like the right opportunity to combine my technical skills and curiosity for IT. An empty bank account later and I attended one of the first "Web Design" courses in my hometown Vienna. Even though it was a risky decision by then I have never regretted this step.

Armed with my new knowledge, an Intel 386 Window 95 computer and a 56kBit modem I started my Webdeveloper career. By this time <table> layouts where all over the Internet and CSS was still something new. <font> tags as well as <marquee> tags were wildly used and there where more search engines than I can remember.

Learn How To Fail

My first business project was a total disaster. I had no experience how to process an Online-Project or how to handle a customer who has no technical background but wild expectations. But I kept trying and from every project that followed I grew with knowledge as well as in confidence with each evolving skill.

This showed me that if you truly want something in life and if you're willing to put all your efforts in hard work (and maybe with a little bit of luck) you can succeed.

Get Up, Stand Up

In 1999 I started to work for a small publisher company in Vienna. There I got the chance to adapt the Print products for the Internet.
I hand-coded a small CMS which was used by the reporters and also created a CRM database for the marketing. These systems expanded, grew and were replaced over the years while at the same time, I have been able to enhance my development skills. As for now, I am still with the same publisher company currently supervising three magazine websites, the CRM system as well as the Newsletter creation and dispatchment.

Over the years I have been working with various other clients for all kind of projects ranging from simple blogs to complex webshops. Each one was a new opportunity to become a better developer regardless of their success or failure.

I guess, many other developers also have some side-projects of which some never made it to be released. As for me, even such abandoned projects are valuable because in my opinion, what counts is that I always grow as a developer when working on new ideas. Reading and learning about programming, design, UX, SEO, etc. is important and this will never stop. That said, trying out and (sometimes) also breaking new things to see how they work always has been a big gain for me. In this field, you can't stand still as technology moves (sometimes seemingly lightspeedy) fast and keeping up-to-date is a big part of the job!
Talking about the learning, I might not be a very talented writer but nevertheless, I think blogging might also be a good way to learn and progress.

From here to Eternity

Having said that and also from my own experience, one has to accept that you can't keep up with everything and maintaining a personal work-life balance as well as a good night sleep are also mighty important. And don't get lost in blogs, news, stuff on twitter and/or cat videos. Be able to say "No" and don't accept every new project especially if you're short on time and resources.

Don't start learning a framework! Learn the programming language, learn the principles of software development like S.O.L.I.D. or DRY and build up from there.
Don't follow every new trend, wait a bit and see how new stuff is evolving and if it eventually stays around. Don't reinvent the wheel, I like the saying "standing on the shoulders of giants". Most of the time someone else will already have a solution for your current problem. But don't just copy willy nilly code-snippets into your codebase, always try to understand why people resolved a problem in that specific way. Google is still one of my most important tools ;-)

Be patient, be determined and don't be an asshole. Now go and make some nice stuff!!!