Ever-changing technology

This month, Andy Leonard (@andyleonard) describes a situation where a technology change made his book inaccurate between its completion and when it was published. Ouch – that must've been a pain. He asks the blogosphere how we respond to changes in technology.

My answer is acceptance.

It happens. Technology moves on, and generally quicker than we can keep up with. And so I don't try to pretend that I know everything. I like to think I know a lot, and that I probably keep up with someone who doesn't do what I do – but I'm happy to admit that there are things I'm not across. Particularly if they're new changes.

I'm sure if I were a doctor, I'd need to be across a lot of things very thoroughly. But I also suspect that's why doctors tend to prescribe the same meds over and over – because it means they have fewer advisories to be across. If my doctor gives me some antibiotics, I hope they're reading journals about them and have considered whether they're right or not. I care slightly less about whether there might be a better alternative, but I do want to know that the one I'm being given is okay.

And so it is with tech. If I'm teaching someone about how to do something, and there's a new option that's available in the latest release (looking at you, Power BI and DAX, with your frequent updates – I love them, but every so often I miss a detail), then I might look foolish for a moment. But that foolishness is probably short-lived, because I'm happy to admit that I didn't know. I learn, as do my students, and we're all better for it.

There are times when I feel like I've missed quite a lot of things. Once upon a time, data was a relatively small area of expertise, and I felt like I had a good grasp on just about every aspect of the SQL Server product. Except that the more I looked into it, the more I realised there were areas in which I couldn't call myself an expert at all. As time goes on, I know I could spend all my time learning if I wanted. So instead, I spend most of my time doing, and only part of my time learning.

And I just accept that technology will change in the moments when I'm not looking.

@rob_farley