Obsolescence in Software Engineering careers

December 21, 2015 Marc

If you’re young and sharp, programming looks like paradise. It’s more or less a meritocracy, there’s a ton of personal freedom, and you get to spend your days doing creative, challenging work and getting paid fairly well. In case your situation it’s not like the picture I’m showing you, you can call yourself fortunate because as of today there’s a lot of demand and you can easily change your employer.

But, if you are an software developer (or a computer professional, for that matter), the danger of becoming technologically obsolete is an ever-growing risk. To be an engineer is to accept the fact that at some future time—always sooner than one expects—most of the technical knowledge you once worked hard to master will be obsolete.

Let’s imagine now that your technology knowledge is obsolete; could also be that you just finished you degree and are not proficient in any of the technologies used today by Startups  (which are the businesses of tomorrow). How can you bring yourself up-to-date?

What technology should I learn today?

If you don’t have a specific interest in a technology but you want to get up to date, you might want to first know which are most in demand.

Here is a list of most used tecnology keywords (appearing in JobsBCN job-board) ordered by the number of offers containing them:

  •  JavaScript (201),
  •  HTML (191)
  •  CSS (165)
  •  PHP (144)
  •  Java (122)
  •  MySQL (119)
  •  JQuery (106)
  •  Python (106)
  •  AngularJS (68)
  •  iOS (61)
  • Android (55)
  • Ruby (47)
  • Symfony (47)
  • MongoDB (40)
  • NoSQL (39)
  • Ruby on Rails (39)
  • Node.js (37)
  • c++ (34)
  • BackboneJS (32)
  • Objective-C (32)

The list is much longer, ask us if you want the full list.

In case your interest is in Web Development (Backend or Frontend) you may have to look at Symfony (PHP) or Rails (Ruby), which are the most used Web Frameworks in Barcelona. But there are more like Django, Laravel… just check out our analysis of web frameworks market share in Barcelona startups.
Technologies tag cloud

Join a Startup

The best way to learn a new technology is to join a company and learn stuff there. You can join a small team who doesn’t care if you are not proficient in a specific technology as long as you currently have a background in development, you learn fast and have a can-do attitude. Or you may also join as intern at a bigger company. In case you want to join as an intern/part-time, there’s a number of job openings in Startups in Barcelona that fit into this category. Just check them. Maybe you are not legally an intern but you can always offer yourself to help de company and learn in your way.

If you feel you are completely obsolete, don’t waste your time looking at the bigger companies that need specific skillset for a candidate. There are way more companies hiring than the top 10 usual suspects and that would be interested in a profile like yours. Just type the technology your are interested in at JobsBCN and start from there to check startup company offers. There are more than 250 startup companies currently hiring in a city like Barcelona, so it’s a matter of choosing wisely.

Take classes

The other way to learn new tecnologies is taking classes. Either online or on-site I would always choose to do it with other people and using practical learning methodologies. In Barcelona we have two good coding schools like IronHack and Ubiqum than in an intensive 3-6 month period make you productive (and employable) in different technologies.

Code your own project

I left this one for the last. It’s true that personal projects or collaborating in open-source projects are a good way to learn if you have spare time. But the truth is that you have to be very self-focused if you want to try this alternative. You may also learn for the vast amount of resources you can find online. The problem, at least for me, is having the attitude and perseverance to do learn when there are no external forces pushing you to do so.

coding alone


Want to know which are the most developer Roles in most demand? Check it out in our previous post about the 9 technical profiles most wanted by startups.