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A Second Chance for Desktop Developers

March 10, 2010

By Navot Peled
Gizmox CEO

As the years pass, the world is replete with solutions for men and women - on a personal level.  Rogaine, Botox, and the host of other solutions for making us younger.  But unfortunately for the professionals in the technology world, as new technologies are introduced there’s no quick fix Viagra-type of solution for developers needing new skills for web and cloud development. To start with, an average Ajax Web application would require the mastering of over 5 new languages and at least 4 new technologies, not to speak of the development management of a multi-tier architecture.  The developers have the drive, they know the playing field, and they want to stay relevant in their fields and continue to earn their fair dinner share. And while it sounds extreme, 9 out of 10 new applications would be web-focused, and it’s a basic fact of life that many vendors are developing new web and cloud platforms or technologies that are not based on the existing skills and knowledge of developers. 
This means that the changing of the calendar year to 2010 is a blatant reminder that the retirement age for developers gets younger every year.  After all, not every developer can continue to learn new technologies for the job. Independent developers often cannot   afford the time and money necessary to learn the new skills at the pace that contemporary technologies are being developed
A very realistic example to look at is the situation facing VB6 developers.  Today, millions of VB6 and WinForms developers are facing the scenario that they may soon find themselves irrelevant.  No one’s talking about it, but everyone’s thinking it.
Among the young developers, I myself may seem old.  And my “ancient” mind can’t help but wonder, is the future of technology just for the under 40 crowd?
The VB6 or WinForms problem, for example, doesn’t have to be a crisis waiting to happen.  I would reckon to suggest that there are many opportunities in which we can expand from within.  In other words, why can’t we be developing programs or platforms that enable us to continue using the skills that we have already acquired and know? Why must technology require new training and skill development all the time? Can’t we advance a generation of technologies without changing the API for developers?
If developers know that their jobs will be safe with new technologies, they will embrace development rather than fear it.  But there are more benefits than that, including: 
  • Developers get to use their skills to advance their company’s goals, using their current knowledge on new technologies
  • Companies waste less time recruiting and searching for new staff.
  • Companies save money by not having to invest in training staff.
Is it doable?  Sure, but like with everything related to business decisions, the CEO’s have to be on board.  And this means that instead of just thinking about taking technology further, they have to think more responsibly for their staff.  Their employees invest in the company and its future, and the CEOs should think about them and their families too.  And with the start of 2010, a new decade for technology, there’s no better time than now.
Navot Peled, Gizmox CEO, combines his strong business and high-tech background with his marketing experience gained at BBDO to provide tools that will benefit developers around the world. 


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