Hello, my name is JP.

I Love Web Development Twitter, But...

Written by JP on December 1, 2021
~ 2 minutes to read
  • twitter
  • webdev

The @sleeplessyogi put out the above tweet that received some traction on Web Development Twitter and it got me thinking.

I took a long time away from Twitter due to political discourse only to come back recently. I've mostly stuck around again because of sports content and web development content. For the most part I've been impressed with the web development Twitter topic.

I only have two issues:

One, some people share concepts that are out of their breadth or misrepresent concepts simply due to the limited scope of their experience. I'm 100% cool with that - especially since the responses are mostly kind and educational (community, yay!).

Second, tweets like the one above that damage the community and gate-keep what it means to develop software on the web.

Do I understand or personally have experience with every concept on that list? Yes on both accounts. Am I prepared to write a Wikipedia entry on any of them? No. For instance I've professionally implemented a JWT based authentication scheme at my current company and can describe what Json Web Tokens are, but it would be disingenuous to not acknowledge how heavily I leaned on a 3rd party library to accomplish the task. Which is standard, actually. Why would you write the implementation from scratch? Why would I not use a tested and hardened library?

The other thing that annoys me about the post is the addition of React Hooks to the list. Is React a requirement to be considered a web developer now? I love React. I love hooks. This is a React site. With that said, adding React Hooks is...weird. There are an endless amount of options to build a web site - React is one of many.

So with that in context, I have to wonder, how does that tweet make a newer programmer feel? While web development Twitter will tell you programming is easy (and you should learn it to make that $$$) it's in fact not easy at all. It takes hard work and patience. It takes humbling your ego by reading others code and asking for help. It takes being vulnerable in allowing people to evaluate your work and give you blunt feedback. It takes grit to not just simply copy/paste a snippet from StackOverflow, but to understand the snippet and how to implement it in the DRY-est way possible.

Becoming a good web developer isn't easy - and I believe tweets like the one above can be damaging to the confidence of newer developers. There's so much to learn, so many concepts to grasp, making tweets like the one above counterproductive.

I'll end on an analogy: I never had the athleticism or skill to play basketball in the NBA, but if you tell me I can't call myself a basketball player you can kindly go fuck yourself.