Recently I joined a small company as my first job out of college. Being a small company, the learning cycle is incredibly fast. I have to learn new technologies frequently and use them. When I look back at the last year, it seems I have come through working in a lot of technologies without me even realizing it. My question is will this really help me in the long term? And generally how does one keep up with it ?
I'd say it's a good thing. The alternative being sinking in and really learning something in great detail in essence specializing you in that task. Specialists are great, and sometimes they are necessary to figure out some problem that is highly specific to a platform only someone who has used the platform for many years would know. However, the problem with specializing is when that technology is phased out and replaced, essentially so is your job if you don't move on and learn something new.
As a first job out of college it would be ideal to dip your feet into as many technologies as possible to see if anything really sparks your interest to attempt to specialize in, if not there is nothing wrong with continuing to be a jack of all trades.
As far as how to cope with it, just take everything 1 step at a time, solve the problems at hand. Many times you can solve a problem without learning the entire scope of the tool used. It may bite you later, but thus is life and will be an important learning experience for what to look out for in the future. I think when learning a new technology you can only sit and learn so much before you just have to take a stab at solving your problem with what you know and then reflecting on whether it was a good solution afterwards.
It doesn't hurt. Getting involved with new technologies and being able to pick up and learn new things on a whim are important traits in any field imo. It's invaluable and it's better than the flip side which is someone who's so stuck in what they do that they have no motivation to learn something new.
Keeping your skill list for your resume up-to-date is more worrisome in this type of work environment ^_^.