5 blogs Full Stack developers should know

One of the things that has helped me grow most as a developer is reading blogs from seasoned developers, or others in the tech space. It is the perfect way to be exposed to ideas from outside of your direct environment. Besides, ideas that are written down tend to be more refined than simple conversations, as the process of writing down your ideas usually exposes a lot of ‘holes’ in your thinking - which you end up patching. In other words, find the good writers and you’re in for some prime content from the best in the industry!

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By Filipe Lourenço Marques on Unsplash

Simply reading such ideas or blogs without context or a goal, however, does not make sense. I read what peaks my curiosity, and then start wondering where I could apply these ideas. Sometimes it is a situation I recognize, some concept I struggled with. Other times, I bring up the ideas that are new for me with my colleagues and friends, and hear what they think. We might end up trying best practices we read about to improve our code quality, or start experimenting with cutting edge stuff, if only for the fun of it.

In this blog, I’ll share my five favourite blogs, briefly illustrating why these are worth a regular visit for any Full Stack or Front End engineer.

Why this specific selection?

In this past year I’ve read a lot of different blogs, tutorials and documentation. I realize that is probably what your day looks like too, as a developer. The blogs in this selection are those that either keep showing up, or the ones I keep coming back to. These authors have ideas that are very insightful and not too obvious until you’ve read them. In other words: of high-quality, mostly from years of experience in very challenging jobs.

1. The latest web technology, React, CSS and Animations: Josh W Comeau

This blog is an absolute gem in terms of playfulness and design. Just switch on your sound and try hovering your mouse around the page, clicking around, checking out the different sections, and you’ll get my point. Josh Comeau writes about his experience as a self taught Front End developer, about Gatsby and React and he writes great tutorials.

Personal Favourites: How I built my blog - Hands free coding - How to learn stuff quickly

2. Mindset, ideas and experience from big tech: The Pragmatic Engineer

The main theme for this blog is ‘growing as a software engineer’, in many different ways. Gergely Orosz has a pretty impressive track record (Uber, Skype, Skyscanner, Microsoft) and writes about software engineering culture, career and his insights from software projects he was responsible for in some form.

Personal favourites: Advice to Myself When Starting Out as a Software Developer - Equity 101 for Software Engineers at Big Tech and Startups

3. Public learning and mental models in the software industry: Swyx

Shawn ‘Swyx’ Wang writes about the kind of problems that arise day-to-day while writing code. With his writing, he distills these problems down to principles and mental models. For example, how should you approach learning? How long should you struggle with a code problem before asking for help? What are interesting principles to work by? Swyx has worked for AWS and Netlify within years of starting his career, proving his own point that learning in public (link below) can be a very effective way to grow rapidly.

Personal favourites: Learn in public - The Third Age of JavaScript.

4. Cloud architecture, serverless concepts and AWS best practices: Serverless First

Paul Swail writes about everything ‘serverless’, introducing key cloud concepts in an approachable, effective way. As a Full Stack developer, it makes sense to know a thing or two about cloud computing, as the serverless trend is taking a lot of resources and code to the cloud. The articles range from very practical tutorials, to putting concepts such as testing into perspective. Time-efficient and enlightening.

Personal favourites: The testing trade-off triangle
- How should I manage multiple projects in AWS?.

5. Design, CSS Flexbox & CCS Grid and Learning by playing: Mastery.games

Before anything, just look at the style of this blog, it is such a fun and visual website! The author, Dave Geddes, clearly has a great eye, and he writes about user experience, his favourite tools, his journey as a developer and the things that bring him joy in his work:

Screenshot of Dave Geddes' blog
A screenshot of Dave Geddes' blog

Personal favorites: Solve it once - The Power of Mastery - Flexbox zombies: Flexbox as a game!

Closing thoughts

All these blogs have a mailing list, so be sure to subscribe if you enjoy them, to keep them on your radar. There is an emphasis on learning, both in my personal favourites and in these blogs. As cliché as it may sound, I’m convinced one of the biggest predictors of your success as a software developer is simply your learning capacity. Getting inspired by some of the better thinkers in this industry seems to be a good starting point.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to reading… And please let me know your favourites!

WHO AM I?

I’m Marc, a full stack engineer at Techspire and I ride my bike in Amsterdam 🇳🇱 I have an engineering bachelor’s, an entrepreneurship master’s and when I am not coding, I am probably doing water sports.

Do you think you have what it takes to work with us? At Techspire we’re looking for people who love technology as much as we do, looking to push themselves to expand their knowledge. Also, we love a good story, a good laugh, and a few beers.

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