Let’s assume that you are a veteran web developer who started in the dotcom bubble era pioneering HTML and JavaScript. Since then you practiced ColdFusion, ASP.NET or PHP/Perl. Everything was going well and you were in high demand. But something happened in the last 3-4 years. New technologies and languages, and new platforms and methodologies emerged. HTML5, CSS3, Go, Python, Angular.js, Node.js, React.js, etc. Job titles also changed. It is not simply Web Developer; it is now: Full-stack Developer or Sr. Front-end engineer.  Additional tools and platforms are required: Cloud, APIs, Linux/Unix. Very confusing. Basically, the same thing happened in the 1990’s with many software programmers. From Cobol, RPG, Fortran, FoxPro, Delphi, etc. environments, new technologies like Oracle, Java, C#, Unix/Linux started replacing old (legacy) systems. Many professionals became less popular – meaning there were less job opportunities for them. Some had to leave the IT space and shift to other professions.

As an IT recruiting professional who started his IT career in 1984, I saw this happening too many times. The advice I would like to share is only applicable if an individual is still interested in IT and is comfortable being open and motivated.

In many cases professionals with previous IT backgrounds are not following many rapid changes which occur in this industry. It is understandable, not everyone who is a programmer or QA analyst want to read in their spare time about new JavaScript framework from Google. Not everyone can follow how cloud or mobile platforms transform IT industry and how it can impact their future career. The awakening will occur when an individual will start facing issues with finding their next job.

So what can be done? I always recommended to IT professionals one simple method. Every 2-3 years start looking for job postings related to your field. Apply for several positions. Connect with a recruiter(s) so they can schedule interviews for you. Attend several interviews and assess results. If you see that to get an interview, it takes much longer than in the past – stop and analyze what is missing. If you attend interviews but don’t get positive feedback – start thinking why? Just to be very clear here. I am not preaching changing jobs every 2-3 years. I am advising on how you can test if you are still in demand. For example, after attending an interview, you may learn that a new version of JavaScript is more popular and you never used it. Or PHP language that used to be so popular 8-10 years ago, is mostly replaced with Go, Python or Ruby now days. Perhaps it is time to consider training.

Many new skills can be acquired by self-studying (there are plenty of free material on the web) or attending on-line/in-class training. The bottom line is to be ready when you feel it is time to look for a new job.