Home » Dealing with the rate of change in software development

Dealing with the rate of change in software development

Solutons:


I have been in IT for 30 years now, so perhaps I can offer some perspective. Yes, there is an increasing amount of material to keep abreast of. But the rate of change (as in “progress”) is not increasing – if anything, it is decreasing. What we are seeing is a widening of the field.

Take a simple example: Once upon a time there was HTML/1. Then came HTML/2 and that was progress. Now we have HTML/4, HTML/5, XHTML/1, Flash, Silverlight, and on and on. Any one of these is progress, but each is progress in a different direction and all are in active use.

Stay on top of this? Forget it – it’s not possible. On the other hand, good IT folks can pick up a new language or a new technology in a few weeks at most – no big deal. Try to pick out the genuinely new ideas and learn about them. Ignore all the specific technologies (IIS 7, SQL Server 2008, etc.) unless and until you need them.

Continuing the Internet as an example, the last real innovation were the ideas behind Web 2.0. I took the opportunity to learn Ruby at the same time – did a couple of small, throw-away projects in Ruby on Rails. If a project in this area comes along, the ideas will be the same in whatever environment.

One does occasionally get frustrated. It’s not always easy to pick out the truly new ideas amidst all the marketing hype.

All the best…

Brad

Attend conferences and local user group meetings, get on twitter and start following a bunch of folks. Join or start up a mailing list (google groups is my favorite provider, Yahoo groups aren’t half bad either) in your area to discuss issues.

Propose a talk at your local DNUG to have someone do a quick overview of all these new technologies or maybe have an open discussion/lightning talk where people stand up and give 5-10 minutes on their favorite new technology.

In short: Get out there and talk and share with people. It’s the only way you’ll stay on top of everything. You can’t do it by yourself unless you don’t sleep and don’t work.

I find myself worrying about missing the boat on something from time to time but when I actually sit down and learn some hot new technology I find that it’s primarily a new combination of fundamental technologies I’ve already seen.

My appoach is to make sure I have a good grasp of algorithms, data structures, communication protocols, some hardware knowledge and general engineering skills.

Related Solutions

Using var self = this or .bind(this)? [closed]

Things that would favor var self = this; bind isn't supported in IE8 and Safari5. If you aim to build a library or code that supports legacy browsers, then var self = this would be more cross-browser friendly. Sometimes, callbacks are bound to a certain context...

What is the difference between SSL vs SSH? Which is more secure?

SSL and SSH both provide the cryptographic elements to build a tunnel for confidential data transport with checked integrity. For that part, they use similar techniques, and may suffer from the same kind of attacks, so they should provide similar security (i.e....

How can I stop applications and services from running?

First Things First You may have some misconceptions about how Android works and what's really happening when a service is running or an app is in the background. See also: Do I really need to install a task manager? Most apps (e.g., ones you launch manually)...

How do I reset a lost administrative password?

By default the first user's account is an administrative account, so if the UI is prompting you for a password it's probably that person's user password. If the user doesn't remember their password you need to reset it. To do this you need to boot into recovery...

How can I use environment variables in Nginx.conf

From the official Nginx docker file: Using environment variables in nginx configuration: Out-of-the-box, Nginx doesn't support using environment variables inside most configuration blocks. But envsubst may be used as a workaround if you need to generate your...

Difference between .bashrc and .bash_profile

Traditionally, when you log into a Unix system, the system would start one program for you. That program is a shell, i.e., a program designed to start other programs. It's a command line shell: you start another program by typing its name. The default shell, a...

Custom query with Castle ActiveRecord

In this case what you want is HqlBasedQuery. Your query will be a projection, so what you'll get back will be an ArrayList of tuples containing the results (the content of each element of the ArrayList will depend on the query, but for more than one value will...

What is the “You have new mail” message in Linux/UNIX?

Where is this mail? It's likely to be in the spool file: /var/mail/$USER or /var/spool/mail/$USER are the most common locations on Linux and BSD. (Other locations are possible – check if $MAIL is set – but by default, the system only informs you about...

How can I find the implementations of Linux kernel system calls?

System calls aren't handled like regular function calls. It takes special code to make the transition from user space to kernel space, basically a bit of inline assembly code injected into your program at the call site. The kernel side code that "catches" the...

Is a composite index also good for queries on the first field?

It certainly is. We discussed that in great detail under this related question: Working of indexes in PostgreSQL Space is allocated in multiples of MAXALIGN, which is typically 8 bytes on a 64-bit OS or (much less common) 4 bytes on a 32-bit OS. If you are not...

Explaining computational complexity theory

Hoooo, doctoral comp flashback. Okay, here goes. We start with the idea of a decision problem, a problem for which an algorithm can always answer "yes" or "no." We also need the idea of two models of computer (Turing machine, really): deterministic and...

Building a multi-level menu for umbraco

First off, no need pass the a parent parameter around. The context will transport this information. Here is the XSL stylesheet that should solve your problem: <!-- update this variable on how deep your menu should be --> <xsl:variable...

How to generate a random string?

My favorite way to do it is by using /dev/urandom together with tr to delete unwanted characters. For instance, to get only digits and letters: tr -dc A-Za-z0-9 </dev/urandom | head -c 13 ; echo '' Alternatively, to include more characters from the OWASP...

How to copy a file from a remote server to a local machine?

The syntax for scp is: If you are on the computer from which you want to send file to a remote computer: scp /file/to/send username@remote:/where/to/put Here the remote can be a FQDN or an IP address. On the other hand if you are on the computer wanting to...

What is the difference between curl and wget?

The main differences are: wget's major strong side compared to curl is its ability to download recursively. wget is command line only. There's no lib or anything, but curl's features are powered by libcurl. curl supports FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP,...