I work at a large healthcare organization as a mid-level software developer. I have over 10 years experience in the IT industry using Microsoft technologies (ASP.NET & SQL Server).
When I go to conferences, code camps, .net user group meetings, I hear of all kinds of new tools and technologies: MVC, LINQ, Entity Framework, WCF Web Services, etc. I guess you could say I'm in my comfort zone using the same old stuff from asp.net 2.0. I use typed datasets for my data access layer. I use web forms and feature rich server controls with master pages. I know how to use plain old SQL and create queries in my typed datasets to get at data my applications need.
Throughout my career, I'm always sensitive to not become obsolete with my skill set. What I currently use works fine and my development time is fast. But I'm concerned that if I were to be laid off, I would be asked in interviews how many MVC apps I've written. Or how I am with LINQ or WCF web services.
I know that it doesn't matter how many conferences, books, or videos I watch on some new technology...I have to implement/use it or it simply won't sink in. Also, managers who interview don't care how much someone reads up on something, only real use and experience with a technology.
I have a new project to write. I've gone to my manager and have asked for additional time for the project for learning/implementing technology I may not be familiar with. Our organization encourages its employees to "learn and grow" and to continue are education. But I always get resistance when I ask for more time to ramp up on something new to implement. My manager is asking for concrete business reasons for implementing these new technologies. I don't have business reasons. My reasons are because I don't want to become obsolete. I could say it would make the project more maintainable in the future by other developers since at some point people could stop using these older technologies, but that' about all I can think of. Does Linq/Entity Framework/MCV apps perform better? So much so that the customers (users in departments I'm creating this app for) need? I doubt it.
I'm interested in you guy's thoughts on this. Do many of you have similar plights with trying to use newer upcoming technologies? I doubt I'm on the bleeding edge of technology, either. Are there "business reasons" that you would bring to light for using these technologies?
Thanks in advance! Sorry for the long wall of text.