Which is more important: knowing a specific software or being familiar with the basics of how it functions?
Most of us realize there is no way we can keep up with all the different versions of the different types of software out there. Even if we could do it physically, we couldn’t fiscally. Who has that type of budget, especially if you’re a freelancer?
If you don’t know InDesign or Publisher, but you do know QuarkXPress, couldn’t you easily learn the other publishing software? If you can use Articulate Storyline, couldn’t you adapt to Adobe Captivate?
Everyone has her preference, but the basic principles are the same.
I think this is very much like comparing knowledge with learning. When you have knowledge, you have a repository of information. When you learn, you can take that information and apply it someplace else appropriately and efficiently.
Even when you know a particular software very well, chances are the next version is going to change something. Just look at the venerable Word. With each version, you have to learn new tricks or hunt for functions that used to be right at your fingertips.
I know people who stubbornly cling to old versions of software. I can so empathize. There are days I still pine for Windows XP. Unfortunately, the marketplace often demands constant updates to keep our work compatible with that of our clients.
The good news is that understanding the underlying fundamentals of a software can help you more quickly learn the quirks specific to another software (or version).
Exercising those “little grey cells” is the best way to keep up with the software “Joneses.”