Like its better established cousin, information overload (IO), TA can lead to confusion, headaches, procrastination and, in some severe cases, leave the victim rendered totally inert with indecision. For those who feel they are coming down with a nasty dose of TA, however, the treatment is pretty straightforward: keep calm and carry on.
Remember What You’re Good At
There’s not enough time in life to get to know all the various frameworks, libraries and plugins out there, never mind reading about them, so it’s important to not let yourself get overloaded with information. There was a great article by Tim Evko about IO published last year and as you can see from the ~50 comments it really hit home.
One of the most salient points in Tim’s piece was to stick to your stack. I’d like to broaden that slightly and say: remember what you’re good at. For many developers this means core skills such as being organised, problem-solving and efficient communication. So take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re good at what you do.
Horses for Courses
Tempting as it is to try each major piece of kit out there, it’s likely there’s only a tiny smattering of them that you need for each job. At Zone I’ve done a lot of CMS-oriented design-and-build jobs, and what makes doing that easier is having constant access to a very slim, but important, selection of tools. Consequently they’re the ones I have focused on.
A lot of the libraries that fight for our attention these days are ones used for building slick single-page apps, which are generally known as MVC (or MV Whatever). If you or your company often make these kinds of applications, then it’s worth getting to know one. If, like me, you don’t make many of these things then you needn’t worry too much about them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t know what problem they solve, but assuming you have an IQ over 90 it’s likely you’ll be able to get to grips with something like an SPA framework without too much homework.
Just Because It’s Trendy
I’ve assessed quite a lot of software in my time. However, I’ve also seen a lot of things come and go. The world of web design and development can be fickle. Fads come and go as quickly as boy bands and, as a consequence, a lot of time is wasted learning about tools that will be dead by the time you get around to using them commercially.
I’m certainly guilty of obsessively having a stab at the next big thing and then realising I’ve forgotten much of what I learned when the time comes to use it.
Speaking of trends, certain libraries and frameworks (mentioning no names ahem Angular ahem) have become CV musts. When speaking with some recruiters the first question I’ve been asked is “What version of Angular are you at?”. Any dev worth their salt should answer Angular 8 and see what the response is! But aside from being useful when it comes to winding up poorly informed recruiters, buzzwords should be avoided.