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are programmers "failures"?
03-28-2019, 02:11 PM
Post: #27
RE: are programmers "failures"?
(03-28-2019 10:37 AM)Leviset Wrote:  After a lifetime in IT, starting off programming an HP-97 commercially in 1979 then various Mainframes/Minis (Sperry Univac, IBM System 38, AS/400) and being fortunate enough to be in the vanguard of the PC Revolution (8088/8086, CP/M, MSDOS, Windows etc.) from 1981 and using COBOL. ASM and various high level (but slow) database packages like dBase II/III, Open Access, DataPerfect mainly as a freelance contractor but some permanent work as well, I never felt a ‘failure’ but I was ‘challenged’ many times. My son has followed on in my IT footsteps, he is now a highly paid COGNOS TM1 expert - but I doubt if he or other young IT folk will ever get the chance to do something completely new. Even back in the 70/80s my main work would involve converting old code to run on newer hardware, bolt ons to existing software, upgrades - I can only think of 2 major commercial projects that I would consider ‘new’ at the time. Nowadays I see the same projects jazzed up and running on the web, in the cloud, on a mobile. The real ‘Genius’ has always been the one who can ‘think up’ a new application (like Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Database software etc.) for the first time, bit like trying to think up a new board game (think Monopoly) for the first time. It doesn’t matter if you can’t program it, it’s the new concept that is very hard to come up with and there’s always an army of contractors out there (like I was) who’ll do the ‘clever’ programming stuff for peanuts compared to the ‘entrepreneur?’ Who’s going to earn big bucks. Take Gates - what average 19 year old student had $79,000 in loose change so he could buy the original DOS sourcecode from a ‘friend’? I moved to System Testing and then Computer Operations (where you are called a ‘failed’ programmer!) for the latter part of my career. Eventually you find there may be a small interesting algorithm you need to come up with in the middle of the ‘new’ software you’ve been asked to write, but 99% of your ‘new’ program will have been done before and you’ll cut and paste it in from libraries or other programs/sub-routines and rarely get the chance to ‘add’ something new to the library. Eventually I found the challenge of managing failures in real time, time critical applications caused by poor/hurried/untested programmer’s Code much more interesting even though I was a ‘failed’ programmer according to the system development teams - but nobody like a Poacher turned Gamekeeper who knows all the Poacher’s tricks!
Just thought I’d liven the discussion up a bit.

thanks Denny, what an interesting career.

That PC revolution was really something. I remember attending a Washington Apple Pi meeting shortly after the Macintosh came out in 1984. They had a rep from OverVue corporation who had just released what was probably the first "data base manager" for the Mac. It even had a rather sophisticated macro language enabling you to automate many DB functions. The rep had come with about a dozen copies of the DB software for sale and people swarmed his table after the presentation, grabbing one to buy. I think the rep was worried that some folks would take one and not pay for it (about $99 as best as I can recall), but people just didn't do that in those days and he sold all twelve and could have sold probably a hundred!

I was treasurer at my church in those days and I used Excel VBS on the Mac to track the accounts and transactions and generate the financial summary report for the quarterly business meetings. It was much more fun and satisfying to do it that way versus buy something like Quicken.
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Messages In This Thread
are programmers "failures"? - Don Shepherd - 03-23-2019, 01:10 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - grsbanks - 03-23-2019, 01:21 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - mfleming - 03-23-2019, 02:55 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - cdmackay - 03-23-2019, 07:23 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - pier4r - 03-23-2019, 07:49 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - grsbanks - 03-23-2019, 10:14 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Vtile - 03-23-2019, 11:43 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - pier4r - 03-24-2019, 09:15 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - cruff - 03-24-2019, 10:36 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Pekis - 03-26-2019, 07:06 AM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - KeithB - 03-27-2019, 07:34 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Leviset - 03-28-2019, 10:37 AM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Don Shepherd - 03-28-2019 02:11 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - pier4r - 03-28-2019, 06:03 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - pier4r - 03-30-2019, 02:07 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Dan - 04-05-2019, 07:12 AM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - mfleming - 04-05-2019, 03:16 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - badaze - 03-30-2019, 11:32 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - Leviset - 04-30-2019, 10:08 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - aamiel - 05-03-2019, 02:46 PM
RE: are programmers "failures"? - pier4r - 05-03-2019, 11:35 AM

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