What Do I Know?

Publisher: TJ Fogarty

Modified: 2018-07-24

A cou­ple of years back, I began to let the waves of new tech wash over me, know­ing the tide would go back out again. I start­ed to relax a bit more, and accept that the stuff I knew was enough for what I need­ed. What’s the rush?” For that, I count myself lucky. 

That’s not to say I stopped learn­ing new things — far from it — but I came to accept that I’ll nev­er know every­thing. I start­ed with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript over 10 years ago, and I’m still using them today. I’ll prob­a­bly be using them for the next 10, too. All the while I’m tack­ing on new bits of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge. Slow­ly but surely.

I found my work jour­nal from a pre­vi­ous job, and it kin­da shocked me the num­ber of things I was doing on a giv­en day. I nev­er real­ly stopped to assess what it would all lead towards, or how I could even­tu­al­ly spend that expe­ri­ence to sell my skills. For exam­ple, on one day I was work­ing on 3 dif­fer­ent projects, trou­bleshoot­ing with clients, review­ing code, attend­ing meet­ings, and writ­ing a spec for an upcom­ing job. That’s a lot of stuff I would cast off as just work”, before spend­ing my nights tan­gled in envy at all the cool stuff peo­ple were build­ing in the open-source world. I was envi­ous because I filled all my social feeds with such amaz­ing peo­ple, and I com­pared myself to them. 

I’m not an inter­net-famous devel­op­er. I’m not a Vue or React expert. I haven’t cre­at­ed a library that’s used by thou­sands of developers.

But I know stuff. 

If I hadn’t kept a log of my days, I don’t think I would have realised how much I’ve been exposed to and devel­oped from. I can’t under­es­ti­mate the val­ue of writ­ing stuff down with pen and paper. I don’t need to charge it, I don’t need to be con­nect­ed to the inter­net. All I need is a few qui­et min­utes to reflect on my jour­ney thus far. I can build a piece of soft­ware, and not under­stand every soft­ware engi­neer­ing prin­ci­ple, but I’ll learn some more of them even­tu­al­ly with prac­tice. Just because I can’t put an exact name to all the stuff I know, doesn’t mean I don’t know it, if that makes sense. Know what I mean?