Don’t just specialize—diversify. Our experts uncover what to learn next.
Constant learning is essential to your success as a technologist. But putting all of your eggs in one basket is usually not the best strategy. Instead of specializing more in the skills you already have, it’s also important to diversify and pick up adjacent technologies.
We asked our authors to weigh in on skill adjacencies for six top technologies, and how these adjacencies can complement other areas of expertise. Here’s what they told us.
Many Angular developers are taking advantage of RxJS, a sophisticated library (originally built by Microsoft) that provides observables to help you manage asynchronous operations. As with “the force,” the more you learn about observables and their many operators, the more powerful you can become with them.
- Angular expert, Deborah Kurata
Cloud computing patterns complement PowerShell. And I don’t mean host your stuff in Azure or AWS. I mean building data centers that follow cloud operator patterns. When you spin up a new VM in AWS, nobody is logging into some console and making that happen. It’s all automatic. That’s how our own data centers should be—all automatic. Once someone with authority approves a new deployment (a VM, a container or whatever) it “just happens.” So understanding the adjacent technologies that enable automation in your environment – things like CI pipeline stacks and so on – is important.
- PowerShell pro, Don jones
Spring 5 was released a few months ago, and with the advent of Optionals, Spring has completely rewritten their API to use Optionals that don’t throw NullPointerExceptions. This will help make code more stable, and it also enhances tooling to better foresee errors they need to handle.
Newer languages on the JVM, such as Kotlin, are already using this syntax—and since they don’t have a legacy of doing it a different way, these languages seem to be gaining adoption rapidly. Scala is also adopting this approach, and that’s why some people feel it helps enforce best practices.
- Java developer for 20+ years, Bryan Hansen
CSS is always the butter to HTML’s bread. There are many great things happening in CSS right now, especially in terms of layout. CSS Grid allows for native column-and-row-based layouts, without the need of a framework. Web designers and developers have been wanting this for years, which makes its implementation really exciting.
- Web developer, Susan Simkins
At present, the most commonly cited reasons to learn Python are its applications in data science and software development. However, there really isn’t a field where you wouldn’t benefit from knowing Python. Python is used as an automation platform for several graphics and design applications. It’s an omnipresent language in cloud and datacenter operations. It’s used routinely in massive biological analytics applications like the Human Genome Project. It’s a common platform for robotics programming. So, Python itself can be consider “adjacent” in many ways.
- Python pro, Jim Christopher
While a deep knowledge of the Scrum framework is critical for a Scrum Team’s effectiveness, there are also many complementary skills that can better enable a team’s success. Emotional Intelligence, commonly known as EI, allows an individual to better understand their emotions and the emotions of others, while also helping them understand how emotions may influence their interactions. Since the Scrum framework places an emphasis on collaboration across the Scrum Team, a properly developed sense of emotional intelligence is critical for keeping those interactions productive.
Scrum Teams also stand to benefit from exposing themselves to other agile methodologies, most notably, Kanban. Contrary to popular belief, Scrum and Kanban are not competitors, and they’re far from mutually exclusive. While the two methodologies do approach work in fundamentally different ways, both offer numerous complementary practices that can yield benefits in any environment.
- Scrum expert, Jeremy Jarrell