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Are You Obsolete?

By Brandon Eley

It’s so easy to get comfortable in your skill set after you’ve been in business for a while.

But things change, especially in our industry! Every time you blink there’s a new technology or programming language to learn. And almost as quickly, old technologies are becoming obsolete.

I was reminded of that last week as I read that Adobe gave up on Flash for mobile devices, effectively ceding victory to HTML5. Considering mobile web traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2014, that’s a significant defeat for the aging technology.

Flash as a technology has had a great run. Back when the web was still very static, Flash gave developers a way to create animations, show video, and create user experiences not possible before. It grew in popularity quickly, and was soon installed on over 95% of computers.

But as the web evolved, we were able to use new technologies to accomplish much of what Flash was used for… CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript can often do what Flash can and more, at a fraction of the file size.

How many Flash developers were reading the news last week weeping? Flash use on websites has been declining steadily, and now there will be no Flash for mobile. All of a sudden, developers and companies that specialized in Flash are facing obsolescence.

It’s not just Flash developers either.

Print designers everywhere are finding it more and more difficult to find a job in a shrinking market. Print media isn’t going away any time soon, but the industry is certainly changing and as a result of tablets and mobile phones, people are consuming less media in print.

Avoiding Obsolescence

You have to be aware of changes in your industry, of changes in technologies. You can’t get too comfortable with one set of tools, because one day they will be outdated. But there is always a new technology or tool that replaces the old, aging one. If you want to avoid becoming obsolete, you have to continue to grow and learn.

What other technologies are becoming obsolete? Have you ever realized you were too reliant on an outdated tool or software? Let us know in the comments below.

Brandon Eley is the Interactive Director for Kelsey Advertising & Design and the co-author of Online Marketing Inside Out.

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