4 paths to tech stardom

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I’ve been bouncing from technology-to-technology and application-to-application for about ten years. As a result, I’m always a worker and never the leader. How do I pick the right technology and application area to stick with and become a real expert?

Thanks for your email. I selected your question for this week’s column because it’s representative of a number of questions I received recently. I believe that I have received so many questions on this topic because the technology industry currently is experiencing a time of accelerated software innovation in multiple areas at once, including, but not limited to, those listed below:
• Mobile technologies are continuing to grow in popularity, but software development standards are continuing to be illusive
• Big Data related products, technologies, services and uses are continuing to proliferate
• Computer security related technologies are continuing to evolve and become more complex
• Social Media products, standards, uses, and applications for public and in-corporate uses are continuing to emerge
• Cloud Computing environments, software tools, and general popularity are continuing to move forward

It seems that in many ways, today’s rising star technologists fall into one of four categories:

1. Technology Juggernaut
A Technology juggernaut is a person who becomes known as a true expert in a specific technology. This is a form of professional branding that when people think of you, they think of this technology. More importantly, from a professional marketability perspective, when people think of that specific technology, they think of you. As an example, if you brand yourself as an iPhone app developer, when companies make the decision to develop native iPhone applications, they’ll call you because of your general reputation and/or personal referral/recommendation. Note that the technology you choose does not have to be leading edge, as long as it has a high demand for professional expertise.

On the downside, you must be willing to continually transform yourself toward technologies that are in demand. The potential danger of this professional approach is that you are the known expert in a technology that people no longer want.

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