Anyone in IT, computer science or engineering knows how fast a set of shiny new, highly valuable technical skills become obsolete as the systems they're based on are replaced by newer stuff.
As you get older it happens faster until you get to the point of leaving more skills off your resume than you put on.
It's a risk in every line of work, not just those that sometimes advertise for jobs like "cloud-based data-structure architect."
Before the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the Pentagon raised the qualifications for the U.S. military so it was hard to even get into the Army without a high school diploma.
It's easier now. Harder to get back out, but easier to get in.
Still, that's big jump from what it took to qualify for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War: At least two opposable teeth.
To load a musket you had to tear open a paper envelope of powder and shot; you did it by gripping one end between your teeth and ripping. No teeth, no ammo.
It seems odd that they had to even list it as a disqualification, but dentistry was primitive and the teeth of American colonists were probably not that great anyway. They were still British back then.
Anyway, ObsoleteSkills.com caused me some nostalgic pain this morning by listing as obsolete an awful lot of things I know how to do or admired in those who did. I had to share the pain.
Apparently every important skill has become obsolete except for staying off my damn lawn.
Try not to let these make you feel too old. If any are on your resume, though, it's probably best to take them out:
- Aligning the heads on a 9 track tape drive
- Assembly programming
- Booting off a floppy disk
- Backing up a PC using QIC-40 or QIC-80 tapes
- Banyan Vines
- Batch file programming
- BBS administration
- Booting off a floppy disk
- Bootloading with binary switches
- Burning and Erasing EPROMs
- Building a computer from individual components [ Still not obsolete, no matter what anyone says!]
- Building an AppleTalk network using PhoneNet
- Bust apart a long computer printout
- Cheating at computer games by modifying save game files with a hex editor
- Cheating at computer games using a loader or binary patch
- Chipping flint or obsidian tools [Putting this next to game cheats is just blatant ageism.]
- Command line programming for Edlin
- Create comprehensive lists from thousands of anonymous sources without using a wiki?
- Creating a list of skills [!!]
There are a lot more. Have a look yourself. Then check out some new training opportunities. And brush your teeth. Never know when they'll come in handy in a job market.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.