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Relentless Tomorrows

Are you ready for the next big tech changes?

By Bob Rhubart

May/June 2017

It’s no small irony that while driving the future through innovation is an almost universal goal among software architects and developers, those same people must also devote a great deal of time and energy to ensuring that their skills will remain relevant in the face of tomorrow’s relentless approach.

Two years ago, this column asked community members about how their work had changed in the previous 12 months and about what steps they had taken to adapt to that change. A lot can change in two years, so for this column I asked community members about the proactive steps they are taking to stay ahead of the curve, with a specific focus on any new(er) technologies they are targeting in the ongoing effort to remain future-proof.

For Oracle ACE Director Lucas Jellema, CTO at AMIS Services in the Netherlands, 2017 has been a continuation of the exploration he began in 2016 of Apache Kafka, machine learning, notebooks, Apache Spark, microservices, React, Elasticsearch (ELK stack), Service Workers, Git, Kubernetes, and Oracle Management Cloud and Oracle Database 12c Release 2. This year he has added NoSQL and MongoDB to the mix, as well as serverless applications, Kafka Streams, “and anything else that speaks to me,” he says.

I need to keep studying and get out of my comfort zone. ”–Rolando Carrasco, Oracle ACE

For Oracle ACE Associate Maarten Smeets, his current technological focus is driven by his role as a senior integration consultant at AMIS. “I’ve been looking more at technologies like back-end JavaScript on Node.js and Apache Kafka,” Smeets says. He’s also tracking what Oracle does with products related to those open source technologies, including Oracle Application Container Cloud Service, Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, and Oracle Event Hub Cloud Service. Also on his radar: Oracle API Platform Cloud Service and Oracle’s acquisition of Apiary. “I choose my products of interest based on what is popular in the market, and also on the choices Oracle makes.” But Smeets also takes a technology-agnostic approach to other interests, including performance tuning and continuous delivery.

If you think of the future as a kind of lottery, Oracle ACE Rolando Carrasco, principal SOA architect and co-owner of S&P Solutions in Mexico, picked the right numbers. “APIs are a hot topic,” he observes, and that bodes well for him. He’s already an expert in the design, management, and use of APIs, and is the coauthor of Oracle API Management 12c Implementation (Packt Publishing, 2015). Even so, Carrasco still devotes time to books and articles on the topic, and to learning as much as he can about API management products on the market. “It is changing faster than ever,” he says. “I need to keep studying and get out of my comfort zone.”

Knowing where to place your bets with regard to investing time and effort in acquiring expertise in emerging technologies isn’t just a matter of chance. Every one of the respondents to my questions for this article cites the importance of community engagement as a critical resource for staying on top of the technology trends and understanding what is genuinely shaping the future.

“It is interesting to see what questions get asked on forums, and which forums are active,” says Oracle ACE Associate Phil Wilkins, senior consultant at Capgemini. “Those regular themes that come up are a good pointer to things worth knowing about,” he explains.

Marketable expertise is all about developing an intimate familiarity with a new technology. What informs your decision to swipe left or swipe right when choosing how and where to invest your time and energy in order to remain marketable in a fickle future? Participate in the ongoing discussion.

Next Steps

READ “Taming Change.”

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