By: Kevin Faber
Technology is a double-edged sword. On the brighter side, we have ever-changing and improving features because of the rapid evolution of technology. On the other hand, this very pace of technology and the rate at which it is getting updated can cause both developers and users to be left out and outdated if they do not keep up.
General Trends in Technology
For a consumer of any technology, the main issue would be the cost. If a person spends $850 to buy a flagship model in a certain month, there are many instances where the very same company releases another updated version which will be established as a flagship model, leaving the customer baffled.
Consumer perspective aside, if one considers the situation of a developer or a prospective software engineer, the rapidness of developments and the adaption of new technologies is daunting.
Software Development and Changing Trends
As discussed above, from a developer’s perspective, the constant innovation of technologies is a process that will happen forever. For starters, one must understand that the whole credibility of the software or tech industry depends on how well the innovation is and how quickly the new technologies are adopted.
Ever since the beginning of computer programming, there was continuous innovation; many languages and their application scope widened rapidly. For instance, C and C++ were the most prominent technologies of a particular era. After the invention of languages like Java and Python, they have revolutionized the tech sphere and have led to new libraries and functionalities that could be developed.
However, older languages like C and C++ still find plenty of use in the industry. Though we have Java, Go and Python, few job roles only require a C++ expert. Therefore, one important observation is this— most technologies do not fade away. They advance into something more sophisticated and broad. Also, when a certain technology is widely adopted and used for a decade or so, despite the development of better technologies, those inferior continue to last for quite a while.
On the contrary, in few cases, languages and technologies are immediately aborted, and new ones are picked as well. Change in technologies depends on few factors. One of them would be the overall financial impact. If changing an entire website to a different language costs a particular amount ‘X,’ a company ‘AB’ might not afford to do so. On the other hand, if the same company had enough financial resources, it might make the transition
At the same time, the usage and application of a particular language depend on the niche it is used in. At a point of time, R was the de facto language for Data Analytics and Data Science. However, after developers starting writing new libraries and building a better ecosystem for Python, now the most widely used Data Science language is Python. Therefore, whether a language is outdated or not will entirely depend on the niche and the application of language. For instance, if you wanted to write an operating system or a new web browser, you’ll have to go forward with C++. On the other hand, you don’t need to use C++ for data science anymore (C++ was used for Data Science in the past).
Companies with enough resources always strive towards upgrading to better technology. When Facebook figured out the flaws with PHP, they built their language called Hack which was built on top of PHP to deal with all the flaws and optimize things further.
How to keep up with these trends?
The best way to cope up with these trends would be to remember this simple mantra: “Never Stop Learning”. The moment you stop learning and updating your knowledge, whether it is web development vs software development or any other category, you will start to regress. You must have enough understanding to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a particular language or a technology and analyze their relevance. To do so, you must constantly update your knowledge, test and read about trending technologies. At the end of it all, coding is about problem solving; the ability to solve problems and think logically will always triumph.
By Kevin Faber
About the author
Kevin Faber is the CEO of Silver Summit Capital. He graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Business/Managerial Economics. In his free time, Kevin is usually watching basketball or kicking back and reading a good book.
Follow him on Twitter: @faber28kevin