30 Sep 16 Industry Insights
Technology has so many niches nowadays, which way do you go? Which will work? Which will have already ceased to exist by this time next week? Remember when it was the MP3 vs the mini disk? I’m sure many said the MP3 would prevail, many others still bought the mini disk…
Developers face the same issue on a regular basis. There are always new technologies or frameworks coming out, which are the “new, hot” thing. Some become universal and actually change the status quo, they deliver a new edge to their products which everyone needs to learn. Others, however, die a death.
The frustrating thing for many developers is that they invest so much personal time into these new technologies along with the cost of training courses, plus the hours which it takes to properly learn and develop their own skill set in this area. To put it in context it’s like training to become a photo processor before the digital photograph was created! Now that would be annoying.
Let’s look at a more recent example in mobile development. There were many technologies selling the short cut solution to bridge the gap across multiple platforms. You’ve got phonegap, titanium, xamarin and not forgetting native development. The safe bet was obviously native, but the others marketed themselves as some sort of “silver bullet”, to solve the issue of multiple platforms. Fast forward and native development is more prominent than before whilst x-platform is shrinking.
What do you do? It’s actually rather confusing. From a recruiter’s point of view, we see this often. We can advise on what we hear from the market. We can tell you which clients are taking up which tech and how universally they are being taken up but that might not be the answer.
The best thing to do is to listen. What are your peers saying? What is the market saying? What are the experts saying? Talk to people you trust, go to meetups and hear what those experimenting with the tech are saying. You need to educate yourself to make the best decision for you!
Is there a perfect method for finding the correct answer from a career prospective? Not really, however, if you listen to those who’ve experience it, you will get good, honest feedback!
What to do from a developer’s point of view? (written by Daniel Furze)
It can be very hard to choose what to learn next, very hard to know whether or not these frameworks are going to be around in a year or two years’ time and difficult to keep up with the ever moving goalposts of the front-end development world.
However, the whole theme of this blog post became more prevalent to me recently when I saw a job advertised in Amsterdam for a NodeJS/AngularJS/ReactJS consultant (for ridiculous money, too) and I caught myself wondering “What if I’d learned X framework a year ago”, “What if I could move away to consult on a technology like that”.
It got me thinking about whether it’d be worth investing the time in learning new things like this - on the face of it I’d say “yes” it is. In the short term at least, but what if these frameworks or libraries cease to exist in a year or so? I remember way back when, in my first job as an assistant web developer, thinking that being the best at jQuery Mobile would get me the next level up and at the time, it was a cool, new-fangled piece of kit (I even bought a book on it). And who uses MooTools or Prototype anymore? Please note that I'm not picking on these libraries in particular - they are just examples from my own personal experience of framework fatigue.
So my advice is to take your time when choosing the next niche to study and up-skill in. It might be tempting to dive in head first and get to grips with every new piece of technology that you read about on Twitter. It might be tempting to get wide-eyed today looking at job descriptions for an expert in X and/or Y framework (with a knowledge of Z, of course), but think about whether that's sustainable for the long term.
From both of our points of view we're saying wait it out - think about the long term instead of Learning All The Things, and going for niche jobs in specific areas of technology. I know it's all well and good me saying this, but I genuinely believe that waiting it out and not jumping on the bandwagon can benefit your personal development tenfold if you take a step back and focus on what's more valuable.
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