Staying Current, Not Confused: Smart Strategies to Navigate the Ever-Changing Tech Landscape

We are in the season of big tech conferences. From Web Summit to Ignite and Re:Invent, it is the season of overconsumption, not just in terms of shopping and eating but also in terms of tech news, updates, and announcements.

Every day, mind-blowing new technology is announced, and every influencer in the space is creating content around it.

I want you to stop and think. Take a moment. Breathe. It is okay.

Today I want to focus on the top three mistakes you want to avoid when trying to keep up with it all.

1. To Chase Every Trend: The Perils of Trying to Keep Up with Every Tech Fad

In my 25 years in tech, I’ve witnessed the most astonishing developments. Only a fraction of it still exists. If I had tried to keep up with everything, I would have burned out long ago.

There is usually an early-adopter tax to pay, and if you chase every new trend, you will drain your resources mentally and financially. It also means you are going to spread yourself too thin across all the emerging new technologies.

If you learn everything, you prevent yourself from diving deep and mastering one single area. Choose the depth and breadth carefully, and make sure it is aligned to your actual needs.

The constant bombardment with technology news can lead to FOMO and increase your imposter syndrome.

Rather than looking for the latest technology and tools, focus on the fundamentals.

2. To Neglect the Basics: Why Fundamental Knowledge Trumps Flashy New Tools

When you have a solid foundation and understanding of fundamentals, it will be much easier to choose what new tool or technology you want to adopt. Identify the core elements and dive deep into understanding them.

For example, I learned Java ages ago. That means most other languages are not an issue for me. It is very easy to read and understand most of the newer languages.

Focusing on one language and going deep into it helped me develop problem-solving skills and be able to adapt easier.

The same applies to web technologies. I spend probably weeks of my life figuring out the right settings for web servers. Higher-level concepts, like content delivery networks, were much easier to grasp with that level of knowledge in the bank.

While I later enjoyed the ease of using container technologies and not having to deploy servers manually, I do not rely on these tools.

Once you have developed a solid foundation of core skills, you can use newer technologies to enhance your knowledge rather than replace it.

3. To Overlook Security and Privacy: The Hidden Dangers in the Rush for the Latest Tech

Who doesn’t love playing around with the latest tools? I want to advise you to be careful where and how you do it, as it can leave you vulnerable to cyber threats.

I’ve seen it countless times. In the rush of excitement and driven by greed, start-ups sometimes don’t go all the way to make sure the user’s data stays safe.

They are busy creating new features and pumping out updates, while ignoring safety patches.

If you are going to use a new tool, use it in a safe context to play with it. Launch a virtual machine and use a ‘throw away’ credit card and email address.

Your Action Items:

  1. Prioritise learning: Focus on technologies that align with your goals and industry needs.
  2. Balance Breadth and Depth: Diversify your tech knowledge while deepening core competencies.
  3. Stay Security-Conscious: Always consider the security and privacy implications of new technologies.

Tagged in:

life in tech

Last Update: November 30, 2023