4 Reasons why engineers must stay up to date on industry news?

I had a discussion with a former colleague over dinner. We were talking about staying up to date by keeping an eye on the industry news. He said that he was so busy and his work was so specialized that reading up on generic industry news is not interesting for him.

At first I was inclined to agree with him. His work is specialized and 90% of the information that is on the main websites like ZDnet, techcrunch, Mashable or Computable doesn’t help him in doing his day to day job. But when I was on my way home from the dinner location I reconsidered. I think there are 4 reasons why engineers should stay up to date on industry news.

  • You should be aware of patterns that are surfacing

    Especially the IT industry changes at a rapid pace. If you don’t keep your head up and look around now and then you might miss some new pattern that changes the way you work. Usually in our business it makes your live A LOT easier. Because someone fixed something that has cost you a lot of headache. You want to be the first guy that finds out something like that. It will get you the nice projects.

    • Before you know it you are like the COBOL programmers

      Keeping your ear to the grounds should put you in a position to see trends in the industry. Knowing these trends should help you to predict where things are going. It can be that you are in a position that will be not very relevant sometime soon. For example if you are managing hardware the trend of cloud computing might be worrying. If you are building websites now would be the time to start brushing up your HTML5, CSS3 skills. If you only start looking at developments like this the chance is big that you will end up like the COBOL programmer. Greatly skilled, highly specialized but in a field where there is no demand for.

      • It will keep your enthusiasm in technology

        Especially if you are doing highly specialized engineering work you can sometimes loose the broader picture of technology. If you are buried in in debugging a problem for three straight days it can happen that you loose tech as a hobby and only see it as work. To keep motivated it is a good idea to read some articles about cool new stuff that will be released later this year.

        • Search engines favor the old stuff

          I think this is the most important one. Engineers in IT spend a lot of time in search engine results. The thing with search engines is that they favor stuff that has been around for a while. Search engines loves stuff that has been linked to a lot. Especially if you are in deep stuff (like identity or security) the articles that hold very interesting information isn’t linked to a lot. Therefore these articles will not surface soon in the search engines.

          • (extra reason) It takes your mind of the problem at hand

          When I was still in engineering I sometimes was banging my head at a problem for a couple of days. It helps me to take my mind of for a couple of minutes and reading up on stuff did just the trick.

          So I don’t think RSS is dead I think it is still a good way to stay up to date (next to whatever realtime social network you follow) and I think that Engineers must find the way

          Posted: June 28th, 2010
          Categories: Technology
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