In the amazing and weirdo Maxinquaye album (a must have, in my personal 90s TOP10) by one hit wonder Tricky , there was this brilliant duet with Alison Goldfrapp : the track name is Pumpkin It’s a bit of a sticky and suffocating 6/4 ballad based on a Smashing Pumpkins sample (hence the title). In this song, Tricky, with his usual psychopath whispering voice goes “MTV moves so fast, I refuse to understand“.
That’s a bit of the the way I sometimes feel about the web 2.0 (MySpace owners saying they are the MTV of this generation makes it even more applicable) and the welter of technologies, toolkits, frameworks, langages and components coming down on us on a regular basis. On one hand I have to admit these really are exciting times to work in the IT world. But on the other, I cant help feeling discouraged by all the new stuff we have to go through to keep up to date. It was a bit of a relief to read even people like french Techcrunch feeling about the same (sorry I havent kept the actual link) .
Hibernate with GWT
I am sooooo depressed when I read guys like Sami saying in his nice blog post on GWT “When I want to learn about a new technology, I just hibernate for a few days preparing the material for a training on that very subject”. This makes me feel so unprofessional. I have just finished doing my Spring and Hibernate self training. After a long time observing the Ruby or Groovy debate (I just dont have enough time to go through both), I have just ordered my Ruby On Rails book. But still, I just feel like a slacker, a part-time IT professional.
So here are my questions : how do all these tech savvy do to keep up to date with what’s going on, where do they find the time to be (on top of their own job) superstars of the open source community ? Do they have special authorization to have 48 hours day ?
Walking the dog and running Tiger
Man, I have a family, a house to DIY on a regular basis, a dog to walk, a pop band to run, CDs to listen to, movies to watch , books to read, oh and secondarily, my own company to run (I’m self employed).
And you know what ? I think I’m not the only one. When I talk with my colleagues at work it just occurs that most of them don’t know as much as I do on this new tech topics. All these techy web sites are the avant-garde of the IT world. Real world is a different story : as an example, I had about 10 jobs interview in February with different IT companies, none of them (well in management team at least) had ever heard of Ruby On Rails, none of them was running Tiger either. Okay I dont work in the Silicon Valley but still …
So I guess that for us, the geek next door, they just are like Super heros. I’m not saying that we should not do anything to keep up with the technologies : we should do our best within the time and space that is given to us. And as the Radiohead song goes along, “the best we can is good enough”.
I would say they are specialists or experts.
If everyone was sticking to the IT avant-garde, that would be a huge waste of time reading all those news feeds.
So I guess like in finance, you need people following/getting the news, gathering it, analyzing it, building strategy then people applying the strategy.
Hey David, Thanks for your comment !
Well actually what’s interesting to compare is the difference between these buzzwords popularity on tech sites and on the job sites. RubyOnRails figures for instance remains pretty flat on jobserve.com which, I believe, is still an easy and pretty acurate way to measure the skill market.
You’re right. It’s not easy to cope with all stuff. Even super heroes as you call them are being exhausted and have the nostalgia of the good old days where the scene was much smaller.
You can’t dig into everything, so I look to the tendencies I believe in and if something goes into the right direction, I dig.
I guess you can still wait few years before seeing RubyOnRails reaching a significant skill market share.
The technology life cycle is a long process, and IT tech sites are currently doing the pre-marketing for recent technologies like RubyOnRails, the marketing is then done by expert/developer community, the hardest job, convincing guys who can invest money on new projects using this new technologies. Last step is when big companies decide to use the new tech.
I guess it’s like a good wine, this is a question of maturity. It is supposed to taste better with the time… Not sure this applies to IT technologies.
David Heinemeier Hansson view on that very subject :