My impression has always been that the foundations don’t change that much (with few exceptions). I observe the trends from a bird’s eye view and read up on some of the details, but don’t go in deeply and use technologies until I need something and/or a clear winner emerges.
How are we supposed to get any work done when everything keeps changing?
I think it helps that “best technology” only is normally not good enough, it also has to be reasonably popular, otherwise you won’t find people to hire, a community that you can ask questions, an audience for your trainings, etc.
Thus, my advice would be:
- Be aware of trends, from a safe distance.
- Read up on new things, but don’t go in too deeply. Obviously, you can always make an exception if you are curious about something. But doing so always takes time and having too many details in your head can also prevent clarity of thought.
- Make a clear distinction between things that are completely new (to you) versus things that are a remix of something that you have already used. An example of the former may be functional reactive programming. An example of the latter may be yet another way of doing data binding (if you have already used data binding).
- Try out things that have become popular. If you like them, adopt them. That reduces the risk of your software becoming obsolete. For example, at the moment, you can’t go wrong with React, Angular or Ember. Newer and “better” technologies may emerge, but these libraries (frameworks) will evolve, too, and there are so many people using them that it will be a long time until software based on them becomes truly obsolete.
That being said, you will only ever really understand something if you have used it in practice. Theory only won’t work.
If interested, You can read more on this topic in nice article “On being overwhelmed with our fast paced industry” by Wes Bos.
Tibor is Serious Developer™ building universal apps, UX and digital products. tsdnk.com / Co-founder & Art Director @alluredigital / Developer meverest.cz / Product Designer torola.cz