Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where does good software go to die?

The time it takes to learn new software can be daunting.  It can consume your time to learn all of the tips and tricks of the application.  What happens when you have invested your time and energy into new software and it goes away? 

Case in point, Xtranormal Technology, a digital entertainment company that produced web-based and desktop animation software that turned text into an animated movie.  In August 2013, Xtranormal's online services were dismantled and by October, their website had been taken down completely.

Their software had offered a solution to the non-professional animators to begin to dive into the animation world.     This even included large companies, such as Geico Insurance.

How do you bounce back when a tool is removed from your toolbox and you don't have another one to immediately replace it?

The most important lesson that I am taking away from Xtranormal's situation is to not put all of your eggs in one basket.  Unfortunately, in the technological world that we live in, it is often difficult, if not impossible to see what software and applications are going to make it and which ones are going to be short-lived.  This is often scarier for us in the Information Technology / Information Systems world, because often our career depends on it.  Do I certify in Oracle or another database product?  Do I learn Dreamweaver or another HTML / Web publishing tool?  Companies expect IT / IS personnel to be experts in specific software, but how do we pick which path?  I think it's imperative to become a master at transferable skills.  Is there another comparable software that will be easier to learn because it closely resembles the one you learned and lost?  Can you learn both software  systems / applications at the same time so that if one is no longer available, you can rely on the other one?

In the end, nobody can predict which software applications will be around for the long haul, so it's important that we engage ourselves in learning as many as possible so that we can make an informed decision on which ones are right for us.

1 comment:

  1. And always be prepared to "jettison" the past and embrace the new. Luckily, older skills are usually somewhat transferable/upgradeable. :-)