I am a hybrid developer.

Hybrid Developer is a term I've begun using again to describe my particular set of skills, along with my place on the web. The term seemed more popular back in the early 2000s when I started building for the web, but perhaps it's only my social circles that have changed.

At any rate, a hybrid is similar to a full-stack developer, but with an even broader set of skills. Hybrids are often self-taught out of a drive to do more than just sling code.

Some notable folks who I think fall into this category include:

I came at the web more from a design and writing perspective. The web was a playground for my creativity that my limited skillset quickly found the boundaries of. I soon found that I needed to learn to code in order to do more than build static pages (I wanted to build a forum from scratch). So I did the most logical thing at the time and learned me some PHP.

Learning how to code at a basic level came easy. A couple years into it at my first job as a developer, I began abstracting the code I was writing into a framework to make development easier and promote reusability. In the summer of 2005, I built my first Ruby on Rails app and quickly adopted Ruby as my language of choice.

Getting into my second language marked the start of my movement away from thinking of myself as a hybrid developer. Between 2005 and 2013 I focused on being a better coder, still working on both sides of the stack for Metabahn clients while also creating Pakyow and building dozens of other niche projects.

Towards the end of this eight-year stint I considered myself more as a programmer than anything, getting caught up in the minutia of patterns, languages, and all the arguments that come along with these preferences.

Sometime last year I found myself in an existential crisis of sorts. I was pretty much burned out and found myself not caring about much of what was happening off in developer land. When I did care it left me quite grumpy.

After weeks of questioning and introspection I realized that my problem wasn't some career crisis, but simply that I'd moved away my hybrid nature. For too long I'd been placing more emphasis on how things are created rather than what is being created.

I still care about process — it's important. But I've recently found myself caring about process less in an academic sense, and more in context of the thing being created. Some of the best things I ever built were written in PHP with terrible patterns, no tests, and without knowing what a monad was. Here's to 2015, and a return to my hybrid roots.