For the past ten years, I’ve called Web Design my career and have handmade over 200 websites. I’ve witnessed the birth of the internet itself, along with the entire web industry it created (my daughter’s jaw will hit the floor when she’s old enough to hear that story).
I always tell people I enjoy my job because it’s constantly changing. I know for a fact that the way I build websites today will be drastically different a year from now, which means I’m forever learning. Despite having an extensive history building websites for Fortune 500 companies and creative startups, I still find it naive to think of myself as an expert.
Tomorrow morning, I’m going to read the latest web design news like I do every day and I guarantee I’ll find an article, tutorial, or product that teaches me something new. The web industry evolves at such a blindingly fast pace that it’s not humanly possible to be up-to-speed all the time.
When I reflect on professions that used to be common many years ago, say blacksmithing, I can believe experts existed. A smith very likely could have used the same anvil and hammers throughout their entire career — there wasn’t a website called “Hammer Hunt” that updated with new tools every single day (Product Hunt, if you’re reading this, I suggest you register that killer domain name ASAP).
Undeniably, blacksmithing advanced through better techniques, new materials, and so forth, but these changes occurred over the course of generations. The web industry is a different animal altogether, one that is in its infancy right now and growing by the second.
The takeaway here is if you’re going to work on the web, your greatest asset is knowing how to learn. As soon as you consider yourself an expert, you’ve already fallen behind.