Your IT Skills are Dying — Time to Study

Your IT Skills are Dying — Time to Study

Global Knowledge released an article on Ten Dying IT Skills. The top-ten include:

  1. ATM
  2. Novell NetWare
  3. Visual J++
  4. WAP/WML
  5. ColdFusion
  6. RAD/Extreme Programming (this I doubt)
  7. Siebel
  8. SNA
  9. HTML
  10. Cobol

Please pardon me while I get a little nostalgic.

I once buttered my bread by being fairly proficient at five of the above. I began in May of 1995 as a Systems Administrator for Novell Netware. I still do some Netware today, though only because I am engaged in a migration from GroupWise on Netware to Exchange on Windows. Being able to do both Netware and Windows engineering got my foot in many doors, and took me into many odd projects.

For example, around the turn of the century, I was involved in laying a multi-site ATM network. We used AT&T as the provider for the point-to-point links. I then back-ended the ATM onto an enterprise network switch that was capable of 100 Mbps. It was rather exciting, and I remember spending lots of time pouring over technical manuals to learn the ins-and-outs of ATM.

Another time I did a web user interface project with HTML and ColdFusion. I had been hacking web pages together with Notepad since getting a dial-up Internet connection. Using ColdFusion was first time that I reached any sort of professional developer status. It was quite fun, though I quickly passed on to Visual Studio and .Net development.

I cannot recall if it was before or after the HTML / ColdFusion project, but around that same time I wrote a BlackBerry application. It was a proof-of-concept for a financial firm. Basically, it pulled back the top ten customers based on assets from an accounting system, and indexed them with the CRM system. The sales people then could see the name and number of their top accounts. The delivery mechanism? WAP/WML. I did most of the work with Notepad and a BlackBerry emulator.

Now a favorite phrase of mine is that those who live by the sword die by the arrow. In technology, you have to be constantly training to keep relevant. My goal is 20% of my time be spent on acquiring new skills. Though I know this intellectually, articles like Global Knowledge are still a good reminder. Everything that I knew ten years ago is virtually irrelevant. Everything that I know today will shortly become a dying skill.


With that, I am back to hitting the books.

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