IT is a changing space. It moves faster than other industries. The tools you worked with five years ago are the ones we would all sigh at if we heard they were being used now. Languages are born, reborn, popular and then not. The shape of the space changes with architectures ending in OA and everything 2.0. Your head will spin if you try to do it all but our jobs do mean that we have to at least keep up and know what the latest technology is, even if only for those moments at the water cooler.
Of late, I've had the chance to meet a lot of smart people who are new to the industry and asking how to keep up with all the changes. Of course, us oldies mention reading blogs, tech books, books on thinking, joining user groups and all those practical things. A lot of people are doing that but they still look around and wonder why nothing is happening. I think it's because you can't wait for change. You have to stretch yourself and extend your comfort zone.
We all look on ourselves favourably and think we live on the edge. Each of us is convinced that we push ourselves to be better at things - things we already do and those we don't. That's probably mostly true. For me, it's not really enough.
It is easy to stagnate. Take a job that by definition appears hard to others and you at first and then stay in it too long. Too long is when you know what the upcoming day entails. When you are comfortable. When nothing in your day scares you and makes you doubt yourself that little bit. That is a bad spot to be in. That is when you need to move on or shake things up.
When I talk to someone who is bored with their job, my usual response is to tell them to start making it fun and if that's not possible then find something newer and harder. Yes, quit and go for a job that extends you. Every interview I have ever been to involves me interviewing them too. Sometimes the guys on the other side of the table don't pass. I don't hire them as my employers. They aren't smart enough or intellectually intimidating enough to excite me about the job. That's what you should do.
The more you move, the more likely you are the stupidist person in the room, the more unsure you are that you know everything there is to know then the more likely you are to learn and keep up. That's not always in another job. Maybe it's in another team at work. Maybe it's outside work in a user group for a language or tool you have never used before. Be a sponge and also take something to the group. Everyone can add something to a situation.
Soon enough, you'll be back in your comfort zone and you'll surprise yourself about what you know. At that point, shake it up and move again.