Friday, August 2, 2013

The Changeling

Today’s society is moving faster than ever, and much like the rapidly evolving technology that we depend on, we ourselves are evolving faster and faster. Not physical evolution mind you, but mental evolution. Our minds are under enormous pressure to adapt, change, and evolve in order to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape that is modern life. Technology is driving this change, and those people who work with technology are most influenced by this “Hyper-evolution”.
The saying:
“it’s not what you know, but who you know”
…is still true in many ways, but the new world order requires a new saying:
“It’s not what you know, it’s what you can learn”

More than ever the ability to quickly pick up a new skill is the key to success in any technological field. Just as generations in the computer industry have shrunk from 5 year cycles to 3 year cycles, to 1 year cycles, down to now quarterly cycles (which can clearly be seen in the smart phone industry), the workers in these industries have also had to adjust their ability to learn new skills as quickly as the products they support. In this environment work that was considered “revolutionary” 6 months ago may now be considered stale. A good example of this is the extreme evolution is JavaScript templating frameworks. Many of the frameworks that I discovered only 6 months ago have been made completely obsolete by more highly integrated, more functional libraries.

Because of this, I think we as individuals need to rethink our approach to our careers, our positions, and more specifically rethink our approach to how we learn. I think that traditional institutions like the 4 year college lose value when viewed in the light of “hyper-evolution”. Dedicating the time to get a Master’s or PHD will almost certainly result in an individual being behind the curve. Certifications may become more important if they can accurately prove merit. But, the only thing that will have true value is experience. When faced with new problems, the only way to “master” them in the microscopic time frame that has become the new normal will be to face them head on. Though this will be the most difficult approach to qualify in terms of resumes, job interviews, and recording long term achievement, it will certainly be the most valuable.

So… in light of all of this progress, I say to you…
Learn while you are doing.
Fake it until you make it.
Be an amateur… because there are no experts.
“Hyper-evolution” has arrived. But I am sure that by the time I have posted this… it will be old news.

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