By July 27, 2017

Should I Stick To An Old Programming Language?

Programming languages change everyday. If you follow the latest trends in the programming industry, you'll see a lot of programming languages appearing and disappearing everyday.

One of the biggest fear of software developers is staying irrelevant when it comes to work. “Will my programming language be relevant in 5 years from now?”… “Will I become useless if my programming language becomes obsolete?”

These are answers that haunt people everyday… Should you stick to an old programming language? What should you do to avoid becoming obsolete?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from Tired of pushy recruiters sending you LinkedIn requests for jobs you have no interest in? Tired of blasting out resumes into the dark? If so, you should check out flips job searching on its head by having top employers like Facebook come to you after you fill out one simple application. You also get your own job coach to help you on your next job search. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend you at least fill out the application. Just go to When you get hired with Hired, you'll get double the normal sign-on bonus for using that link.

I got a question here that I've got some mixed thoughts on because this is definitely a difficult issue. I'll just read you the question. This is from Antal and he says, “First of all, you inspire me a lot and make me do daily workouts first start of the day.” That's good. You should do your daily workouts at the start of the day. I like that. All right. “Last 12 years, I became an expert in one specific system. New technologies are used nowadays, but not yet in this, my expertise system. Should I keep my current job hoping for an investment and new technologies or an old system or should I switch jobs to where new technologies are already being invested in with maybe a decrease in my salary/benefits as I continue a less experienced ladder? What to choose here, John?” He gave me a little bit of additional info here. He said he's 37 with three kids at school and a house with a mortgage. Switching jobs needs to be a really good reason. The system that he's using is Documentum.

Here's the thing. I mean this is what it really comes down to in this case is you cannot—It's fear. This is fear. Right? Never let fear motivate you—well, never let fear drive you. Never let fear make your decision here. You're afraid for the future because you're afraid you're using an old technology. You're thinking, “Oh. Well, maybe I should go and hang with the cool kids that are on node JS” or whatever the new technology is, but you don’t have a real good reason to do this besides fear.

I mean for all you know, you may have another 20-year career using this Documentum software. Probably, that option does exist, knowing the software and that it's been around for this long. In fact, I always butcher his name but Nicholas Taleb, Taleb Nicholas. Whatever his name is. I've done some videos on his book. He has got a really good book or he's got several really good books. I love all of his books, but I'm going to point you to Antifragile. You can check out the review on that. Someday, I promise I will figure out what his actual name is like which order his names are and say them. I promise this.

He talks about in that book this idea of being antifragile and essentially—one of the concepts I want to talk about here is this idea that if something has been around for a long time, it's more likely to be around for a long time. Right? The concept is this. Essentially, like I said, that if something has been around for a long time, you can count on it being around for much longer. That's your best bet. It comes down to the idea that if you are encountering something, the most likely time that you're encountering it is halfway through its life span. Something has been around for a thousand years, it's more likely to be around, most likely, highly probable thing is that it will be around for another thousand years. That doesn't necessarily mean it as an absolute fact, but you could take that with your technology here. This is something just to consider.

Aside from that, what you don't want to do is you don't want to just be afraid and afraid that the future is going to look gloomy for this technology. You're going to jump ship and take a pay cut and go into another field just because this one—because it's like waiting in line at the grocery store. Right? You're like, “Oh. Well, that line is moving faster, so I better move to that line. Oh, that line is moving faster.” If you do that with technology, you're going to always be switching and you're never going to develop the deep expertise. Right now where you're at, if you have deep expertise in something, that's valuable.

Now, if you don’t like this, if you don’t want to do Documentum anymore, if you want to get into something else, that's cool. That's a perfectly good reason to switch. What I would hate to see you doing, what a lot of mistakes that a lot of developers do that are driven by fear is they start learning some technology that they're not actually using. By the time that they would actually use that technology, it's changed or they've forgotten it or they never really learned it because they weren't actually using it. They were just trying to watch a whole bunch of Pluralsight videos. I'll plug my Pluralsight videos here. You could check them out.

I'll say this from an unbiased viewpoint, obviously I have a lot of investment in Pluralsight and I think it's awesome. I'm going to tell you. Don't just watch Pluralsight videos and a bunch of technologies that you're not going to use. Pick the ones that you're actually using at your job or that you're going to switch into a career field.

We could talk about this for a long time, but in summary, it just comes down to this in my mind. Don't be driven by fear. First of all, just don't let fear drive you. Second of all, don't worry about the future of technology and try to stay ahead of—this treadmill, you can't keep up with it. It is on speed 15, okay? If you're trying to keep up with the treadmill of technology and make sure that you're at the bleeding edge, while you're not actually working in it, it's not going to happen, it's not going to work. If you want to switch careers, if you want to switch technologies or you want to switch jobs, then start working on that, but make sure whatever you switch to, you're actually implementing and doing stuff in. Don't just flat out try to learn stuff for the sake of learning it and hope that you got a bunch of tools in your Batman tool belt. That's not going to help you and it's going to be really hard.

If you said, “Okay, I'm done, I don’t want to do Documentum anymore,” I can already see the writing on the wall, this isn't a fear based decision, it's just a logical decision, and you said, “Okay, now I want to learn something else,” then go ahead and do that, but create some projects in it, actually work in it. See if you can do some coding at your current job to build some tools that are using this new technology and then go and do that and make that switch. Make it for that reason not because you're afraid.

Also, remember this. You're a software developer. The primary skill that you have is not necessarily in Documentum. That's where you got some deep knowledge, but it's in your expertise in solving problems. That's the higher level concept and skill and you're adaptable. You'll be able to pick up and learn new technologies. You're never going to be starting from scratch. You're never going to be a beginner ever again in your software development career after you have a certain amount of experience.

I hope that helps you. If it did and you want to ask me a question, you can email me at Like always, click that Subscribe button to subscribe and make sure you click the bell, so you don't miss any videos that come out. I'll talk to you next time. Take care,

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."