How Do I Keep Up With the Web?

I got the following question from a nice fellow by the name of Chris Martin:

Hi Tim,

Your event on CSS Grid popped up in my Twitter feed today. Awesome!

That got me thinking about a question a student asked me recently: How do you stay current in web design and development? How do you manage to find a way through what seems to be an almost unmanageable task of being able to say you are a state-of-the-art designer/developer? Is it a fool’s errand? Is it clever marketing?

I’m curious what you do to stay current.

I appreciate your insight and hope you have a super day.

Chris

This is a question I get a lot so I figured I’d post my answer here for posterity.

This is always a difficult question to answer but I’ll start with clearing some stuff up. Whoever is marketing themselves as a “state-of-the-art designer/developer” is in essence a liar. With the rate in which things change in our industry it’s impossible to be completely caught up and know everything.

That being said, here’s how I try (keyword being try, here) to keep up:

  1. Read articles and books about the web
    There are many resources here. A List Apart, 24 Ways, A Book Apart, CSS Tricks, Smashing Magazine, and Net Magazine. Then there are individuals like Jeremy Keith, Ire Aderinokun, Brad Frost, Rachel Andrew, Jen Simmons, and many others.
  2. Practice, practice, practice
    Once you’ve learned something new, you’ve got to put it into practice. Redesign your personal site, build a blog, create a few CodePens. It’s important to flex the new muscles you’re acquiring.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up
    Like I said at the beginning, no one knows everything. That is the truth. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. It’s ok if you don’t know everything. It’s also ok if you don’t know the latest thing. Try your best to do work you’re proud of. As time goes by, you will certainly learn more.

I can’t stress number three enough. Getting comfortable with things you don’t know, and even realizing there is much you don’t know you don’t know is essential in a fast paced industry like ours.

Hope that helps.

Those words be written good!