Your technology skills have a two year half-life - Part 2


I would also like to specifically address a number of comments regarding the faulty thinking of HR professionals and hiring managers that think knowledge of a language like C provides no basis for understanding like Java. I also think this logic if faulty. Here are two examples. First, I was a Microsoft ASP programmer. I personally found that being an expert in Microsoft ASP made learning PHP extremely easy. Basically, all I had to learn was the new syntax. Second, I was a C programmer who had to learn Java. I must admit that when trying to learn Java I had to learn to use Eclipse, it had some funky new inheritance rules I had to learn, and the packaging part took me a little getting used to. But, like ASP to PHP, once I got the basics down, my programming skills were extremely transferable. Hearing these comments, I wonder if these managers were ever a C programmer themselves. My thought is they were not.

Lastly, I would like to return to my earlier comment regarding base technology, like C and PHP, having a different set of factors. I think with these base technologies, their marketability half-life can be much more variable than just simply two years, but I think the basic concept is sound. This half-life could be dramatically shorter or longer based on the technology and your timing. For example, if you were an ASP programmer the day Microsoft announced .NET, then this half-life was almost immediate. I know because I lived through it. On the other hand, if you are primarily a PHP or COBOL programmer at a time of relatively low technological enhancement, the half-life would be longer, assuming of course that the general demand for your skill set remained constant.

In closing, I would like to specifically thank one of my readers, S. T., who sent me a couple of great emails on this topic. Thanks :-)

Oh, one more thing. A few of the blog comments referred to me as a marketing person. I hope from today’s blog you now know I’m a techie.

Best wishes to all and thanks again for your great commentary. I really appreciate your input.


If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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