Photo Ben Schwarz

Ben Schwarz

To all those don’t meet you yet. How do you describe yourself?

Probably over excited about the wrong things! I’m generally really focused on whatever my brain leads me to — and I’m really great at neglecting (important) things that aren’t interesting to me.

When you started developing, what were some common mistakes you made along the way?

Uh, everything! But seriously — Time estimation. God, its the hardest. I’m still rubbish at at it.

Front-end seems to be easy until you start to learning. How do you face the challenge of learning new things?

I read a tonne of articles, and spend a lot of time talking to people. Sometimes you’ve gotta build a test page and start exploring.

What would you qualify as the top few problems facing developers today?

Programming isn’t hard. People are hard. Programmers are shitty at looking after people (including themselves).

How would you recommend somebody to start learning web development?

Starting from zero is a very challenging feat. Honestly — Come up with a goal, something that you want to build and start thinking about what you need to make it real. Find someone in the industry and ask them questions. Use chatrooms and forums. Just keep poking and asking questions. OR, try to become an intern somewhere.

What are the things you would have known when you first started?

Things I wished I knew?

I’m not sure, I feel really good about where I’m at right now, and I’ve enjoyed getting up until now too. Learning and growing is a long path and it’s really rewarding to feel like you know how to learn. From there you can create anything.

When starting a new project, if you feel stuck where do you look for inspiration?

Honestly, there’s enough inspiration in my head — the biggest thing that makes me feel stuck is motivation or focus. The best thing to get started? Lock the door or find quiet space. Force yourself to dive in.

What was your first development job and how you faced it?

I don’t remember? I probably just started working immediately without knowing what I was building. These days I like to think a lot before I start building anything.

What was the most challenging project you ever faced and why?

None stand out. I really can’t think of any.

Can you describe your workflow when you create HTML, CSS and JavaScript from scratch?

It really depends on the project. The first thing I’d do in any situation is get an environment running that lets me process css, and javascript.

What excites you most these days?

Calibre

What is the most important thing you’ve learned?

The hardest thing about the web isn’t the code. It’s knowing what and why you’re building something, coming up with a response to those questions — and executing on it.

Do you have any favorite books, videos, or resources that you could share with the readers?

Hmm. Not really. I follow a lot of people from all over the industry on Twitter.

Do you have any advice for new developers just starting their career journey?

Do whatever you can do to learn every day. Remember that everyone you meet (online or otherwise) are different than your ideals of ‘normal’, and do your best to make them feel good / comfortable / happy / empowered. Working in tech can be really tough mentally, but it’s a lot easier if you’ve got rad people around you.

What can we expect from Ben in the future? Anything you want to share?

A few conferences and events in Australia. More talks internationally, and a lot more from Calibre.