Ever said "never" to learning or adopting a new technology or skill and lived to regret it?

Looking at job descriptions for cloud developers recently, I found that Java expertise is a top requirement in almost every listing. My second finding was that all the must-have lists of experience and expertise for a cloud application development positions are long, very long, and diverse.

No wonder there's a huge skills gap in the cloud developer area. Where there's a gap, there's opportunity. There's also risk of investing in learning a skill that becomes obsolete, as any early adopter of technology knows. For example, I bought an expensive BetaMax video player/recorder. Since then, I've been leery of saying never to new technologies even if the new one is not necessarily better than what I have. (The same goes for "will never have a dog," "will never climb rocks," etc.) BetaMax isn't my only experience with seeing "never" as a path to nowhere. One such incident came to my mind while I read SearchOracle Site Editor Mark Fontecchio's recent column on Bill Bradford's site, sunhelp.org.

Bradford's site helps Sun system administrators breathe life into their OracleSun hardware and Solaris OS system, something so hard to do that he can't run the site on Solaris. It's on Debian Linux. Jump back to the early dot-coom days, when I posed two questions to Sun Microsystems top executives and got a "never" response. In a 1998 interview, Sun President Masood Jabbar told me that Sun would never build an Intel server. In a SunNetwork 2003 press Q&A, CEO Scott McNealy replied: "Linux is a great environment for the hobbyists," but not for corporate IT pros.

At the time, it didn't make sense for a major systems vendor to deny that enterprise IT was buying Intel servers like crazy and using Linux. To me, it seemed odd that Sun, which had beaten competitor SGI on price, didn't react quickly when less expensive servers and Linux undercut its prices. Later, Jabbar admitted that Sun failed largely because of not reacting to the Linux-on-Intel threat. "You must change before you have to," Jabbar told The Register. Going back even further, I wrote articles about many office machine dealers – mostly copier and typewriter retailers – who said it was too risky to invest in retailing personal computers. Jabbar's words about change certainly rang true.

So, software pros, what changes are you and your organizations making before you have to? Is investing in cloud expertise one of them?