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Grasping at Sand - Why Frontend Development Sucks

Have you ever tried to grab a handful of sand? You wrap your hand around it and clamp down. For a split second, you have it. Then it spills out between the spaces. You can grip tighter, but you only accelerate the process.

After a few short seconds, you have a tiny pool of sand left in your palm. It’s a fraction of what you grabbed. You dump your pitiful pile into your bucket and grab the next handful. It starts all over again.

That’s Frontend development.

I struggle daily with the feeling “I’m not as good as I once was”. The more I advance in my career, the more I look back at phases of it and think “I’ll never have that level of mastery again”.

Just as you gain some control and ability with a framework or tool or language, the next hotness comes along. Feeling good about gulp? Boom - webpack hits the scene. Feeling good about webpack? Well get ready because there about 100 new bundlers jockeying for control.

Even React has changed it’s skin so many times 75% of the tutorials on the web are woefully out of date.

It’s all grasping at sand.

But look down into your bucket.

After years of constantly pivoting, chasing the next piece of tech, and ferociously learning so you can keep food on your family’s table, all of those tiny puddles of sand really added up.

Your bucket is full.

Sure you may not be as good at X as you once were. But think about it. Really take stock and assess yourself and your abilities. I bet if you needed to and your work depended on it, you could get just as good at X as you ever were.

After spending years grasping at sand, you’ve gotten pretty damn good at it. Sure it sucks to lose so much of what you learn all the time. It sucks to constantly have homework to get on top of the next thing. But at least now you know what you are capable of. You can learn anything. You can solve problems.

You can grasp sand with the best of them.