October 24, 2011, 5:03 PM —
Question: Professionally I customize software modules on a well known software package. The version we are working on is one version back and about a year old. Is continuing to work on this old software version hurting my professional marketability?
The short answer to your question is no, not yet, unless it was a major release that is being quickly and widely adopted.
The longer answer is that, in my opinion, a techie’s skill set from a marketability perspective has a two year half-life. That is to say, that the exact set of skills you have today will only be half as marketable two years from now.
The reason your technical marketability degrades so quickly is because technology, like time, marches forward. Software companies continually update their applications. Hardware vendors upgrade their hardware and software control systems on an on-going basis. Also, technology oriented mega-trends like cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile devices are continually driving and transforming our industry.
Your ability to stay current in your technical niche can be greatly affected by the company where you work. That said, regardless if your firm is an early adopter, main stream adopter, or late adopter of new software versions, there are things that you can do to keep yourself current on the technology including the following: