by Leon Rosenshein

Staying In Sync

Technology changes. A lot. All the time. So how do you stay on top of it? How do you know what’s coming so you can be prepared?

One important thing to remember is that you can’t be an expert in everything, so don’t try to be. You’ll have your strengths, things that you’re better at, or enjoy working on more, and you should always play to them. There are going to be things that are “outside your wheelhouse”, and that’s fine. Unless you’re working completely isolated, you probably shouldn’t work to make those things your strengths. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore those things.

It starts with knowing the tools you use. Knowing the capabilities of the standard libraries and what the common extensions are. What their strengths and limitations are and when to use them and when to avoid them. That includes not just the built-in libraries, but also the open source and internal libraries. Don’t forget about the other dev tools we use, such as simple editors (vim vs emacs), IDEs(VSCode, JetBrains, emacs), command shells (bash, zsh, fish?), Git, GitHub, and Buildkite to name a few. Sometimes a bash one-liner is the right solution, sometimes you need PySpark or Zeppelin.

Then there’s the ecosystem we work in. AWS and all its offerings. DevEx/Infrastructure tools (bonsai, sq, infra, batch-api, HDFS, Piper, atlantis, etc). Core Business infrastructure (M3, umonitor, usso/ussh, uOwn, Querybuilder/Queryrunner, etc). To understand that we have the Product Catalog which lets our internal customers know what technologies are supported and should be used.

But what about new things? The up and coming tools/technologies that might not be ready, but you should be thinking about so you’re ready for them when they’re ready for you. For general software development/architecture Thoughtworks is a good place to start, particularly their Technology Radar. InfoQ and DZone are other good resources, and they’ll send you a daily list of articles for topics you sign up for if you want.

And however you learn about new things, share them. That way everyone benefits.