Photo Jamie Knight

Jonathan Stark

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

Front end dev seems to change on a daily basis. It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the latest and greatest, and everything has pros and cons. I suggest building an actual project (side project, if you prefer) using an approach/framework/library that looks like it will serve the needs of your particular project.

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

The top issue facing web developers today is the commoditization of their labor. It’s pretty hard for business owners to justify paying tens of thousands of dollars for a custom web site when things like Shopify, Squarespace, Facebook Pages, and StickyApps exist.

How would you recommend somebody to start learning web development?

Yes and no. I think coding in general is an excellent thing to understand because code makes up an increasing percentage of our reality. That said, coding is one of the lowest value things a smart developer can offer his or her clients, so I would recommend against building a business based on writing code. Instead, build a business on understanding what code can do for your clients.

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

I wish I was a little less dogmatic. If you’re 100% sure about something, you’re probably wrong.

What excites you most these days?

These days I’m most excited about the effects that technology is having on the way we interact with the world. With the advent of powerful cloud computing, nearly ubiquitous connectivity, and affordable smartphones, the opportunity for disruption from upstarts has never been better. I and co-host Kelli Shaver talk about things that this enables - like virtual reality, drones, conversational computing, and more - on our podcast: Terrifying Robot Dog.

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

Don’t obsess over the minutia of your craft. Instead, focus on how your work makes other people’s lives better.