I'd say you can ignore a lot of what's out there. Much of it is hype and fad and new names for old technology. The real advances will soon be replaced by even newer ones that don't really depend on the old ones, even though the old timers say you ought to understand the old ones to understand the new. If you left the field for 10 years, when you came back you'd only be 2 years behind.
That said, spotting the real new technogy can be tricky. I'm glad I didn't miss OOP, but it sure looked like just a handful of buzz words at first. And you often need to use current technology to do a job, even if everyone will have forgotten it in 3 years.
The software technology hype and confusion multiplies the change we have to deal with day-to-day. But electronic technology actually is advancing rapidly, and pushing software along with it. There's a lot of real change out there. We're still driving the cars, flying the planes, and going into space with the same vehicles we used in 1965. But the electronic hardware from 1995 is hopelessly obsolete.
So the deep answer to your question is that the scientists and engineers working with electricity have been very busy. The software needs to evolve to take advantage of the hardware. Worse (or rather--better?), I think the software's been left way behind by the hardware. If the hardware people all retired tomorrow, software would evolve furiously for the next two decades at least.
If you need the new technology to do a job, you need to learn it. If there's a chance it's a new technology that will still be here 20 years from now, you need to keep an eye on it--and if you watch 20 techs that die for every one that lives, you're doing pretty good. And you actually can ignore everything else. Except for that one bit of obvious smoke that will underlie all the software of the 2020's.