Looking for a Tech Job? Learn Obscure Tech

At TalkRise, our course catalog is fairly eclectic. We have courses in everything from mainframe related technologies to the new “hotness”. However, it’s the old stuff that seems to surprise people the most. Should it?

The reality is that a huge portion of the world relies on “old” technology. Old technology keeps the trains running on time. A couple of big examples:

  • FORTRAN, created in 1957, is still the dominant language used in science
  • COBOL, created in 1959, is still used by a ton of US Banks and the Federal Reserve

So if you’re just starting to get into tech, what should you learn? If you want to set yourself apart, perhaps learning a more obscure or older technology is your best bet.

Supply and Demand

There aren’t a lot of junior level job-seekers in many of these obscure technologies. In fact companies may have an easier time finding a more experienced, older person than a younger person they can groom into the role.

Different Is Interesting

If you become good at a lesser known technology and want to give a talk on it, you might be the only one who submits a talk on that technology. Developers who have never had the opportunity to listen to a talk on that technology may flock to it. Don’t be one of the crowd. Be unique!

Relearn the Past

All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again
 — Battlestar Galactica

JavaScript arguably has the worst case of the shiny new things syndrome. One of those recent fads is functional programming or at least functional concepts, driven by the popularity of React/Redux. However, functional programming is not new. It’s been around since the 50’s with Lisp and later with Clojure. As computer scientists like to say, the fundamentals of programming are actually remarkably resilient. In fact, learning an older technology might even help you write better code in a modern language.

All in all, learning is good. Learn everything you can without worry about whether it’s in or not. However if you’re just looking for work, you might find that going against the grain makes your job search easier.

For more information on our courses, or if you’re interested in being a TalkRise instructor, drop us a line.