Wednesday 11 December 2013

'Tis the Season of Lists

December is the time when the media industry tends to offer more lists than the other 11 months of the year. One that caught my eye was the TIME magazine Top 10 gadgets of 2013. These kind of lists are always good for spurring conversation down the pub. For instance, I was surprised that Google Glass didn't get a mention, but I guess it's not yet a consumer product. On the other hand, I wasn't surprised at all to see a smart watch in the list. Smart watches didn't quite hit the mainstream in 2013, but I'm sure we'll see a lot more (cheaper and more functional) in 2014.

It was also interesting to look back at TIME's all-time 100 gadgets from 2010. Whilst all the items in the list were leading-edge at the time they were introduced, it's quite startling to see the pace of technological change, i.e. how dated the items in the list are (even the most recent ones from 2009/10) by 2013 standards.

The pace of change in our own industry is barely any slower. Traditional skills such as SAS/BASE and SQL programming are still in demand, but broader and deeper knowledge is increasingly in demand, whether it be for other languages like SAS DS2, Pig or Hive, or whether it be visual coding in Enterprise Guide or Data Integration Studio, or whether it be SAS architecture (significantly changed again in V9.4), or whether it be data analytics. Whatever your role, be sure to be thinking how to keep up with developments and how to keep your skills up-to-date.