The speed and pace with which the web design industry evolves is absolutely blistering.
Think about it for a second.
The internet became mainstream in Canada circa 1994 (only fifteen-ish years ago). At that time, people were coding the web in HTML 2.0 (the initial draft standard for HTML had been completed mid-1993). In fifteen years, the web has evolved from that simple interface through to the recently-released HTML 5.0, which includes GPS tagging support and a host of other features- as well as design staples like AJAX, JAVA, Flash, Whosits and Watchamadingers. Okay the last two aren’t really languages at all- I’m not a web design guy, I’m a marketer… and I can poke fun at my own limitations.
The point is, in fifteen years the web has evolved from an electronic version of a photocopier into a robust network which enables mass communication undrempt of in the wildest of Orwellian fantasies, eCommerce solutions that connect global markets at the consumer level, realtime analytics and equity trading, and social media platforms which allow people from different cultures and geographic areas to come together in ways that weren’t even thought of five years ago.
Because of this rapid evolution, web developers are under constant pressure to stay current on trends and languages at a pace that’s unheard of in other industries. Imagine telling a line worker in an automotive assembly plant that he or she had to learn to use a completely new machine, with completely different mechanics, every month. Imaging telling a firefighter that the department would be adopting a radically different fire hose multiple times a year… that took a hundred hours of retraining to be able to use. I’m sure you can think up a multitude of additional examples.
So the question is… where is web development headed? That future isn’t crystal clear by any means. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to work with some extremely talented web and database design people at one of my other enterprises, Klever, which owns the real estate marketing brand NewNeighbours. My experience with those folks tells me two things…
1. There’s massive opportunity for freelance web developers to design templated and self-serve solutions that enable web-savvy consumers and business owners to self-manage their online assets. Blogging solutions like WordPress and Joomla are feeding this design model in a big way- in fact, secondary markets have sprung up in response to a need for high quality design templates compatible with WordPress (mojo-themes.com is one of my favourites).
2. The future is mobile. In the US, 47 million people access the web from their internet- enabled smartphone every day.
Sorry web guys, it looks like you’re going to have some more learning to do.