How to keep up with Technology Trends

Keeping up on the latest tech can be challenging, but today, I show you what I use to examine the landscape of technology.

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At one point in my career, the Internet started becoming something of a new career path for me.

However, It was something most investors stayed away from when the Internet bubble burst in the 2000s.

When that happened, I lost my job and the technology field dried up faster than water in the Sahara desert.

I couldn't find a technology job for almost 6 months. It was a tough time, but I survived by using old school job-hunting tactics.

During that time, I was focusing on finding a job to support my family, and let me tell you, finding a full-time job was a full-time job. I didn't have any time to learn new technology.

The happy ending to this story is that I did find a position. The bad news was I needed to catch up on technology again.

You see, once I started working at the new company, it was six months later. As you can imagine, being out of the tech field for over six months equates to almost 2 years of technology lost. Technology flew right by me.

While in this new found position, I swore to myself I would never get behind in technology again.

How to Find Trends

I primarily use three methods for examining technology trends in the industry.

It has worked for me over the last 20 years and continues to show me the industry's direction.

Now, I want to preface these trends with a comment.

These trends are based on my particular needs as a developer. If you are a developer, by all means, copy this list and join the revolution. If you aren't a developer, you may want to move on or cherry-pick certain links that interest you below.

1. Specialized Trending Surveys/Reports

I would be bold as to say that there is at least 5 surveys/reports put out every year focusing on technology, but I tend to examine 3 or 4 of these reports to get a feel for where the technology industry is going.

If all of these reports/surveys point to a particular technology, it may be something to seriously look at.

If one source says it's awesome and the others don't, I tend to raise an eyebrow in skepticism.

Tech Radar

The Tech Radar is by the team at Thoughtworks (Yes, where Martin Fowler works). They produce this report every quarter to examine which technology you should Adopt, Trial, Assess, and Hold.

So far, each professional has vast experience justifying their picks and they haven't been wrong in their findings.

Mary Meeker's Most Important Internet Trends

Every year, this is one of the most anticipated slide decks in Silicon Valley.

While Mrs. Meeker zooms through all 333 slides in 30 minutes, she would say something and I would barely catch it. Before it would sink in, she would start digging into the next topic. This report will take some time to digest.

This. Is. An. Amazing. Report. And I wait for it every year.

Stack Overflow's Annual Developer Survey

Any developer who writes code knows StackOverflow. Finding a solution to a coding problem always leads you to Stack Overflow.

I used to head over to Computerworld's IT Salary Watch, but ever since Stack Overflow's yearly survey started containing salary details, it has become my go-to survey for my IT needs of what's happening in my field.

I even paired up with Matt Groves to discuss (and try to decipher) the results of the survey on the cross-cutting concerns podcast.

The State of JavaScript / State of CSS

If you are a front-end developer, you may have already heard of these two reports published every year.

I just recently found the State of CSS survey results and it's by the same group of people who did the State of JavaScript. So it IS reputable. I've been following the State of JavaScript every year.

They are both fascinating reads and provide a large amount of info to digest for becoming proficient front-end devs and knowing what to expect and learn in the coming years.

2. RSS Feeds

I've accumulated a large (no, a LARGE) number of RSS feeds over the years and I have them in categories specific to what I'm looking for during the week.

I currently use Feedly for my RSS Feeds needs and feel RSS is not used enough or given enough exposure. I ran into a developer the other day who didn't know what RSS feeds were.

There is a reason I feel RSS feeds won't die anytime soon.

Once you start collecting feeds, you start to group them where it makes sense. Your feeds will give you an understanding of where the industry is going just by article/blog post headlines alone.

3. Top Web Sites

This one is short and simple.

Everyone has their favorite website to find out what's happening in the world. Go to that website and see if they have an RSS feed. I guarantee you they will have a feed.

Recently, I've mentioned a number of websites every developer should visit on a daily basis to keep up with the latest technology trends. As mentioned, these sites can be "RSS-ified" to retrieve the news into your RSS Feed Reader where the news is always delivered to you instead of going to every single website for updates.

Conclusion

I've tried to keep up on the latest trends to know what's coming and how to adapt to the constant change in the IT field.

It's even harder when you're writing code and you find out your language becomes obsolete.

How do you keep up with technology trends? What do you think is the latest trend in development? Or do you "go with the flow?" Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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