Quick Note: Software Skills

Just a quick note because I’m actually waiting for class to start. When it comes to animation and technology where does software skills play into things?

What I mean is that with a wide variety of different programs out there how do you choose which ones to learn?

Are they the ones taught at your school? If so could you end up in a situation where you are being taught outdated or unpopular software?

Even moreso are you spending time learning a new program that may well be obsolete in a few years? Animation software (bar Renderman) is still somewhat new and the pace of development is currently breathless.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Should we revert to the good old ubiquitous paper and pencil or do we commit ourselves to learning something that may only benefit us for a short part of our careers?

PS please excuse any typos, I wrote this post on my phone.