6 technologies you should learn this year

There's a saying in tech: March or die -- so stop slacking and study up. Your cube mate is already on No. 4

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4. Node.js. I'm not saying you should become a JavaScript developer and forgo all else. I'm saying you should have a taste of event-based, nonblocking systems like Node.js and at least one dynamic language like JavaScript on the server. You could do Ruby, but you'd miss that event-based, nonblocking part. There are reasons to really dislike Node.js (it's single threaded), but there's plenty to love as well. A lot of serious people use Node.js, which has a vibrant community and wide industry support -- everyone from Microsoft to Cloudbees to VMware and beyond. Node.js's well-funded ($112 million-plus) creator, Joyent, isn't trying to productize Node.js, but Joyent's cloud offering differentiates itself with a Node.js-centric PaaS.

5. C/C++ or Assembly. I struggled not to leave this as Assembly -- or even C and omitting the mongrel hybrid cousin (Linus said it best in his NSFW rant). You needn't be a master of the standard lib or the STL or any such thing, but you should know how a computer actually works. You should understand how memory operate close to the metal and have some idea of how compilers function. I may not have used MASM in years, but I've continually applied the knowledge I gained from learning it. As technology grows more high-level and abstract, understanding them at a low level actually becomes more useful when developing or debugging highly scalable, high-performance systems. If you're working as a Ruby developer, no one is going to demand you know this stuff, but they may ask you to fix problems that you'll understand far better if you have this expertise. People who can think this way will prove themselves invaluable time and time again.

6. Git. Look, if you don't know Git and haven't set up a GitHub account or two, you're late to the effective and well-known developer party. You really should've learned it last year. Of course, if you're still using ClearCase in your current position, you should either be getting serious hazard pay or you should quit and get a job where you don't have to use ClearCase.

Lots of other skills are in demand, but these six are bringing the buzz. Acquiring these skills will help you become not only one of the cool kids on the block, but also one of the paid kids.

That's my list. Is there anything you would add? Tell me in the comments (Add a comment) below.

This article, "6 technologies you should learn this year," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in application development, and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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