I think it was George Washington who, in a characteristic display of brilliance, said that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Wait. Was it Albert Einstein? My brain tends to be a little fuzzy on details lately. Even more so when considering that, just in the past 4 years, I’ve crammed so much front-end-related information into it, it’s an achievement worthy of admiration that I still remember how to tie my shoelaces. Or at least I hope I do. I’ve been using moccasins for an entire week, and I’ve been reading about React Native, so I guess it’s just a matter of time.
Also, you smell really nice (See? I told you I’d please everybody).
Now, for a more important question, what the heck is it, and why is it so important to talk about it?
You might scoff at the intimidation part, but you can’t argue with the insanely fast growth part. Frankly, it’s getting silly. 4 years ago, words like Gulp, Grunt, Browserify, Webpack, React, Redux, TypeScript and Angular weren’t part of my vocabulary, and the amount of effort and time I’ve invested in learning about them isn’t negligible. And the worst thing? The list I mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. For every new thing I learn, there are probably a dozen new things I’m not learning, simply because I don’t have the time to do so.
Which takes us to part II of my statement: it’s a problem.
It might not be a problem for you, of course. Like me, you have been a part of this since the beginning. You can’t imagine a JS world without it, so you don’t feel like it’s a bug, but a feature.
But remember: you have been doing this for years, one step at a time. You were born in this, and molded by this, while they are merely adopting it (hashtag nerdy reference). For them, facing the JS world is like facing a gargantuan wall of information that keeps growing, and its growth rate just. Keeps. Speeding. Up.
It’s not a problem for you. It’s a problem for them.
And yes, it’s your goddamn fault.
Yes, I’m talking about you.
You, who not long ago were referred to as “the markup guy,” and silently, yet proudly, took care of those pesky CSS vertical alignments, while the back-end guys did the real work.
You, who rejoiced and celebrated when the paradigm shifted and SPAs went from being a gratuitous eccentricity to being the norm.
After years of waiting, the mic is in our hands, the cameras are rolling, and the audience is finally listening, so we feel the pressure of proving ourselves. We feel that, even though a myriad of JS frameworks and libraries already exist, they can be better, faster, and stronger. So we are all doing everything, all the things, all at once.
And guess what? It’s magnificent.
If you ask me, we very well deserve it. But this feeling of fulfillment we are experiencing, my friend, is exactly what Mahatma Gandhi alluded to when he said that with great power comes great responsibility.
Otherwise, they will simply move in hordes to whatever comes next. Whatever makes it easier for them to start. And then our time in the spotlight, while amazing, is going to be very short lived.
Consider this blog post my two cents on the matter. And what can you, as a JS expert do? Acknowledge this. Be helpful. Give talks. Prepare workshops. Write blog posts, or even books. Film video tutorials. Write the damn documentation. But whatever you do, just don’t be an a*%hole to newcomers. You are a rockstar now. Use your power with responsibility.
After all, Uncle Ben was right.