The kit itself is meant to portray the earliest versions of the class. Follow-on kits (Dragon Hornet CV-12, and Lexington CV-16) were released with later war fits. Then there are all the aftermarket items you can also get...I recall folks chiming in with those. It's certainly your build. Avail yourself of any of that, or none of it at your pleasure. You did state "1944 version," though. The out-of-box Dragon Essex CV-9 kit--umodified, and not painted in dazzle--is good for from her commissioning to the April, 1944 refit that PKS has pointed out. After that, "adjustments" need to be made if accuracy is a concern.
If not, you might want to either not call it any particularly dated version, or qualify your chosen date somehow so the rivet counters (like me) don't all fall all over themselves picking out "mistakes." My sense from what I have followed of this build is that you plan to take a basically 1943 kit, add a mid-'44 dazzle paint job, and also put some 1945 Corsairs on. Perfectly fine, and totally in keeping with a "general representation." But, to then say, "my 1944 Essex" of it will generate curiosity at how the date was arrived at. (It does "split the differences"...)
It looks like it's coming along nicely! Thanks for the progress update, and looking ahead to more of them. Enjoy!