8 Replies Latest reply on Feb 20, 2017 10:38 AM by Sten Vesterli

    What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?

    Bob Rhubart-Oracle

      squishy-face-350.pngThings change in IT, and that change is relentless. But you know that. The question is, what are you doing about it?

      What are you doing to future-proof your career? Are you learning new programming languages or technologies? Are you taking classes? Doing a lot of reading? I want to know!

       

      It's time for me to write another column for Oracle Magazine, and this time I want to know, in specific terms, what you are doing to stay on top of your game, to ride the perpetual wave of change in enterprise IT, rather than being swallowed by it.

       

      Your comments will provide the background for my next Oracle Magazine article. As always, your comments may be quoted directly in the article, with full attribution.

       

      Please post your responses by Wednesday March 1, 2017.

        • 1. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
          Sten Vesterli

          I used to be an Oracle architect, but now I'm an IT architect.

           

          In the good old days, my "red stack" customers had mainly Oracle, so I could get a bit lazy as an architect. I only needed to know which Oracle tools to choose and how to fit them together.

           

          Today, everybody has Oracle together with some open source and some non-Oracle cloud. This means I have to brush up on true IT architect skills.

           

          Specifically, I'm re-reading my old-fashioned paper books. Research shows that knowledge transfer and retention is much better when reading on paper, and I fully concur. Books I've picked up again include:

          • Organizational Patters of Agile Software Development by Coplien
          • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Fowler
          • Domain Driven Design by Evans
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          • 2. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
            Maarten Smeets

            As an integration consultant I've been looking more at technologies like backend JavaScript on Node.js and Apache Kafka. In that context I'm also looking at what Oracle does with those products such as Application Container Cloud Service, Mobile Cloud Service and the Event Hub (coming soon). Also I'm keeping myself involved in the API area such as API Platform CS and Oracle's acquisition of Apiary. I choose my products of interest on what is popular in the market and of course also on the choices Oracle makes. My topics of interest are (at least partially) technology agnostic such as performance tuning and continuous delivery.

             

            For learning new technologies/products, I do several things;

            • Go to presentations about the topic/product
            • Read online and watch YouTube video's about the topic/product (books, especially about new things) quickly become outdated
            • Discuss the topic/product with people who know what they talk about
            • Get hands-on experience. First think about something you want to achieve with the technology/product and then build it
            • Give presentations, workshops. I submit a proposal and when it gets accepted, I have to become the expert who tells the story (for me a great motivator)
            • Blog about interesting topics. You have to understand the topic in order to be able to explain it to others
            • Is there a certification available? Get it!
            • 3. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
              Rolando Carrasco

              I've identified topics where I think I can easily understand and then put that knowledge in practice. Topics that are kind of related to what I currently know and do.

              For example: API Design.

               

              APIs are a very common & hot-topic nowadays. Because of my background I can understand how they can be built, managed, published, etc. Part of my time I've been dedicating it to reading articles, books no API design. I am also trying to learn from the product thar are available in the market that are oriented to API Management.

               

              That was one example. Other good example are Microservices. On that regard I am trying to enter to webinars, read articles, try to implement some patterns that can be replicable a long my customers.

               

              For other topics, I am always trying to:

               

              1. Have a conversation with my colleagues, regarding those topics. Try to compare opinions

              2. Search for articles within the web

              3. Get book recommendations

              4. Try to identify opportunities in customers. This is a very good one, because all I read I try to offer to my customers in order to keep them also interested and grow with the

              5. Attend events. Try to learn from the experts

              6. Attend trainings

               

              Those are the things I am trying to follow and achieve. I am more than convinced that IT is chaning faster than ever. That I need to keep studying and get of out my comfort zone.

               

              best regards

              • 4. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
                Lucas Jellema

                Hi Bob,

                 

                In Agile we say: embrace change. I try to apply that to my professional IT skills & expertise by being receptive and open to new technologies, concepts, trends as well as the deprecation of ones I know well. By exposing myself to frequent conversations with peers (including from different technology domains than my own), Twitter, conferences, newsletters, blogs, YouTube and more after a while certain names and ideas and products will start to popup more and more until they reach a point in my head where I have to start investigating. Note: being part of the ACE Director program and especially attending the yearly product briefing prior to Oracle OpenWorld as well as discussing the world with my fellow ACEDs is very valuable part of honing my perception and interpretation of what is coming.

                 

                In 2015 those included Docker and Node, in 2016 Apache Kafka, Machine Learning, Notebooks, Apache Spark, Microservices, React, Elastic Search (ELK-stack), Service Workers, Git, Kubernetes and Oracle Management Cloud and Database 12cR2 were among the topics that reached the tipping point where I had to start reading (books on Safari), doing tutorials and trying to build my own small applications.

                To top it off, to find some sort of closure with a new topic, I will typically write one or more blog posts about them and/or present on them in a handson session at our company for colleagues and community friends. There is no better way to master a subject than to have to explain it to others.

                 

                Letting go of old habits and familiar techniques - to make room in my head, fingers and agenda - is quite important too. If you stick too much to what you know, may even become defensive when new options are suggested, you can easily close off yourself from learning anything new.

                 

                For 2017 there will be more of the above, and also more NoSQL (MongoDB), more on containers and microservices, more on automated testing, on machine learning and big data. Serverless applications (functions). Kafka Streams. And anything that speaks to me.

                 

                Letting go of old habits and familiar techniques - to make room in my head, fingers and agenda - is quite important too. If you stick too much to what you know, may even become defensive when new options are suggested, you can easily close off yourself from learning anything new.

                 

                I am an old dog that still can learn new trick - and unlearn old ones.

                • 5. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
                  Bob Rhubart-Oracle

                  Lucas,

                   

                  The idea of letting go of the familiar is a fascinating angle I had not considered! Is that difficult? To what degree does customer push-back make that difficult?

                  • 6. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
                    PhilWilkins

                    Having relatively recently moved from a customer organisation to a consulting means that the task of knowing what to look at next has become harder, as getting the investment of effort right needs not only an understanding of the wider industry changes but also consideration of how clients or potential clients feel but the changes, and whether they're an early adopter or more cautious. whether they prefer buying things off the shelf or building.

                     

                    Like any good architect tracking a wide range respected bloggers, journals & industry leaders helps pickup on relevant trends, new concepts and ideas.  This starts as just skim reading through RSS feeds being tracked. Then picking out relevant articles to read and think about.  Obviously articles that can impact my area of specialism will get more attention - integration, but that doesn't have to be literal, so understanding the consequences of security (such as GDPR) is as relevant as Kafka.

                     

                    At the more granular level it is interesting to see what questions get asked on forums and which forums are active such as community.oracle.com. Those rgular themes that come up, are a good pointer to things worth knowing about - because that is what is being used or being adopted more often than not.

                     

                    As different concepts or technologies show signs of having legs then they get onto my book reading list, and I will deep dive into each subject area when I can.  So when we see an offer from O'Reilly, Manning, or Packt that has something on the list - then its time to buy.  Most books are ebooks - easy to read when on a flight or train, and you can jump from book to book easily.  Paper is great if you have an allocated desk to leave those referenable texts, or space on your bookshelf. So I do only have a relatively small proportion of books in print form, and they tend to be the reference bibles.

                     

                    I love podcasts for those broad 10,000 ft views of ideas and technologies where you can listen whilst driving etc, a lot of people seem to like video - YouTube etc. but for detail I'm very 19th century and like to be able to locate a specific point or illustration which you can do with a book (direct acess if you like) rather than have to scan through a video to see a point.

                     

                    So what am I reading at the moment - just starting in on Kafka, Spring Cloud, trying to read Microsoft's documentation on ADFS. For inspiration Im rteading Walter Isaacson's The innovators.

                    • 7. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
                      Sten Vesterli

                      Interestingly, in alignment with my recent blog post, most of the new tech mentioned is not from Oracle...

                      • 8. Re: What Are You Doing to Remain Future Proof?
                        Sten Vesterli

                        Agree that the ACED briefing at HQ was really good. Now that it's dead, we'll have to work harder digging up information ourselves :-(