My job is web development, so I'm doing it regardless. But in my free time I like to explore different tools and languages. I'm just wondering if I should be using this time for improving more traditionally manly skills.
The media gives this California/Mark Zuckerberg/Hipster view of computer programming. I'm definitely not like that. So I struggle with how much of a programmer I should be and how much I should understand manly skills like how to be a carpenter or do my own car repairs, etc.
Labeling things as manly means that other things are not manly and therefore womanly. Unless there are activities that are gender neutral. balancing the way in which I spend my time should not be based on which column they fall into but rather are all of my activities helping me enjoy life and develop as a well rounded individual.
Learning new skills, experiencing new things and enjoying life! Doing too much of one thing is often a symptom of being afraid of doing something else.
We've gone thru this in threads before: the opposite of manly is not womanly. The opposite of manly is childish, boyish, weak, cowardly, stingy, selfish, and wimpy -- and none of these are synonyms for womanly.
Take that perspective and manliness -- and womanliness -- look all the better for it.
Stop worrying what the media and the general public think. Do the things you enjoy doing (within reason), not because of how you'll be perceived by others, but in what best ways to sharpen the skills you want to learn. If your goal is to be seen as a "manly man", then it may be time to give your priorities a good look over. Your priorities should be about you and what is best for you and those in your life (family/friends).
Nothing wrong with web development, it's a very interesting and fascinating field of work. Just don't burn yourself out, it's why hobbies are so great, it gets you away from the humdrum daily routine and doing something you enjoy.
I'd actually argue that manly and hipster are not mutually exclusive.
I know this on guy. Obviously a total hipster. Giant beard, hipster haircut, rides a fixie, has tattoos, works in one of those little coffee shops . . . that he literally built himself from the ground up along with all of the furniture inside of it because he's an actual, trained carpenter who doesn't even need engineers to design or anything; they just sign the tags / permits when he's done. Hipster? Definitely. Manly? I'd say yes.
I know this other hipster. He loves craft beer, he's got a fucking ukulele, he's got framed sheet music and record covers on his walls. He's also (the Canadian equivalent of) a state trooper who used to work in criminal intelligence, now works in combatting organized crime (bikers), and is getting into counter-terrorism. Hipster? Yeah. Manly? I'd say so.
On that note, related to your other thread about job anxiety, have you considered a career in coding? That's a vocation that would let you generally avoid large, loud crowds and work as part of team but mostly in solo / online fashion.
Resist the urge to label things so concretely. It is a skill, use it, be proud of it , do your best with it and don't worry or even think about if it's this or that. That's my opinion.
All skills that you can use in a real life application, and can make a career or hobby out of, in my opinion, are manly.