There are incentives to use the latest technology, just because it’s the latest, even if it’s no better than its predecessor. Being up-to-date makes it easier to
- Find a job
- Work on new projects
- Demonstrate enthusiasm for your profession.
In addition, there are advantages to staying with the mainstream. If most people think something new is better but you disagree, you might do well to acquiesce. When you’re in the mainstream, it’s easier to find parts, documentation, people to answer questions, etc.
That said, here are some bad reasons to adopt the latest thing:
- Believing marketing hype
- Not considering your particular circumstances
- Under-estimating learning time
- Fearing a technology will die
Not every new release of every product is an improvement. If a new product truly is an improvement for most people, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for your particular needs. And if your are sure the new thing will make you more productive, you have to also ask whether you will use it long enough to repay the time you invest learning it.
Many programmers live in inordinate fear that a technology will die. But technologies seldom disappear. They may become less fashionable, less visible, less common, or less lucrative, but hardly anything ever goes away. Programmers may suffer more pain from technology that won’t die than from technology that does.
Technologies don’t drop out of use nearly as quickly as they drop out of fashion or out of sight.
Update: As an example, this podcast claims that 72% of financial transactions are still processed in COBOL.