Westley Knight: Life Behind The Curve

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Westley Knight (@westleyknight) was speaking at Side View about keeping up to date, these are my notes from his talk.

Web dev is getting ever more complex, we need to know a number of subject areas.  How do we deal with it all?

uptodate.frontendrescue.org - tries to solve problems.  Gives you avenues for learning: people on twitter, blogs, podcasts, conferences, how to find your own sources. 

How do we filter this content?  We need to keep the amount of time we need to process this information down to a manageable amount.  Don't try and retain all the information you receive.  Conferences are easier to get to these days, there are more of them but they can cost a lot and take up a lot of time.  Support your local conferences.

There are a lot of tools we need to keep up with - editors, libraries, frameworks, pre-processors &c.  We have tools to build tools!

You just can't keep up with this.  You feel threatened by the knowledge of others (but don't discount experience) and put ourselves under pressure to learn.  Feel like being judged for not being 'up-to-date' by negative feedback.  Doubt your own abilities. This puts you at risk of burnout.

There's always someone younger, there's always somebody hungrier - they will do crazy stuff with things you've never heard of.  Don't compete on every font, let other people do the stuff they are good at.  You have to give up control. 

Acceptance is key.  The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Only learn what you need when you need it.  Keep it relevant - just because it's the new hotness you don't have to use it.  Build an archive and use that rather than retaining it all.  Be careful what advice you take, it might not be relevant to you.

  • Learn what you need
  • Apply new techniques if relevant
  • Save things for future reference
  • Make considered choices
  • Accept that others will know more than you
  • Learn to let go
  • Share your work
  • It's OK to be behind the curve