“Wow. Or it could be he’s already got enough of the nitty-gritty and wants to be able to communicate it those unfortunate souls who don’t speak gheek. All the nitty-gritty in the world doesn’t do much good if you can’t produce something usable by the world at large.”
I’ll refer you to what he initially said about knowledge rapidly becoming obsolete (at least for MS-allied folks). If you accept his premise, then you can’t really ever have “enough” of the nitty gritty … unless, as I said, you’re going to try to cross over into a management role.
The sell-by date for people skilled in FOSS is generally much further in the future and it’s comparatively easy to keep yourself up to date. In most cases, age discrimination will become an issue long before FOSS skills are truly obsolete.
“Generally the new technologies that truely dominate (and thus are ‘required’ learning) will generally solve new problems that come up, or solve existing problems in a significantly better way.”
You’ve sort of left yourself a huge out with the “or solve existing problems in a significantly better way” bit, haven’t you? Whether, when MS pulls the rug out from under its developer community and suddenly announces that one tech is out and another is suddenly in (maybe VB6 vs. VB.net?), the new tech is really better is completely subjective, isn’t it? None of the mortally wounded VB6 programmers I’ve spoken with, for example, believe that they’re being treated particularly well by MS.
“Basically you want to keep moving your skills up the chain towards more design, more analysis, more human-factors because these are the parts of the job which are difficult to outsource.”
Yes, that’s the message of the day. Here’s the rub, though: if you got into software development because you love developing software (writing actual code) then, when you just barely, by the skin of your teeth, are able to transition out of actual coding into being an architect or someone who basically throws specs over a wall to some software sweatshop in Rumania or Bangalore or Beijing … you haven’t really “kept your job”, now have you? You’ve actually completely changed jobs.