The Internet Complete Reference

Today I came across a large reference book from 1994 titled, The Internet Complete Reference. The book was an attempt to enumerate every available resource on the web: Usenet groups, Gopher sites, email addresses, and FTP sites (with username and password). Surprisingly few listings had a URL. This book was Google before Google, in printed form, Yellow Pages style.

Fascinating. Think about what has changed since then, in a relatively short 19 short years. 19 years ago, there was no Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Github, Wikipedia, or Wordpress. No Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, Chrome, responsive design, smart phones, tablets, or web-based email. The entire web design and development industry has grown, crashed, and reinvented itself several times over since then.

With the ever increasing rate of change, what does that mean for the next 19 years? Will the internet of 2013 be as unrecognizable 19 years from now, as the internet of 1994 is to us today? I have to believe it will be even more unrecognizable.

What does that mean for web developers? Will our skill set even be relevant in 19 more years, or will it have been completely replaced? Surely there are some constants, right?

Let's go one step further. Consider that, if l'm lucky, I have not one but two more 19 year periods left in my career as a developer. How does one even start to prepare for an unrecognizable future career? One day at a time, consciously improving, I suppose.

Written by Alex Brinkman who lives and works in Denver, but plays in the mountains.