With the abundance of programmers these days, people in every profession now have handy software or applications to use. What’s more, these software and applications are updated every year, and even every hour. Same is true with gadgets but the upgrades and new models come every few months. Yet people should not upgrade or update just because there is a new version or model. For professionals, especially those who use certain software as a team, a change should be done after thorough brainstorming. Yes, of course, newly released software and hardware will always promise more power and efficiency but is it economically wise? Will it really make a team or a professional more efficient?
Familiarity is the Key
As a designer of various publications, I am an avid fan of Adobe Photoshop and I have been using the application since 2006. I started with Adobe Photoshop 7.0. In eight years, new versions of the application have been released but I only changed the version I am using thrice. From Adobe Photoshop 7.0 I upgraded to CS3 in 2011 then to CS5 in 2012. I use CS5 until now and do not intend to change versions until the next few years. Some colleagues would tease me and I simply say that I can work better and faster if I am familiar with my tools.
With applications, I choose not to upgrade until I am familiar with the application. Applications such as Adobe Photoshop basically have the same environment in all versions. When they are upgraded or when a newer version is released, it is to fix the flaws of the previous version. Newer versions would also have slight changes in the environment. So if a new user of the application is still trying to familiarize his or herself with the environment, a sudden switch to another version may do more harm than good. The user will actually have to start all over again and that can be a real setback. Familiarity is the key. If a user is already very familiar with an application, his or her work pace will not be affected no matter how many times in a year he or she would switch versions. I used Adobe Photoshop 7.0 for five years and I did not have any problem with it but when we had compatibility problems with a team I am working with, I was forced to switch to CS3. In less than a month, when I had to work with another team, I had to switch to CS5 because of the same reason. It never affected my efficiency since I am already five years familiar with the application’s basic environment.
Upgrades and Updates Should be Based on Needs
For professionals, upgrades and updates should be based on needs that were carefully assessed and prioritized. For example, a desktop computer can be periodically upgraded with additional hard discs without the need to purchase a whole new set. This is where cloud-based services won the game. A business subscribed to a Virtual PBX service do not even have to go through the trouble of minding upgrades, updates and maintenance. They only have to pay the monthly bill! So if you are still subscribed to traditional communication services, going cloud-based is one upgrade you really need.
At the end of the day, remember that hardware and software should not define your profession and your work. There’s this anecdote about a person praising a photographer and said, “you must have a good camera” then the photographer snapped that the food is really good, “you must have good pots and pans.”