Saturday, December 18, 2010

When you have a job, you live in its world

If I get into a Tron time machine and go back to legacy systems of the past, I recall how, once one had a mainframe job, it became your whole universe for months or years. That did create a problem for learning new skills.

At NBC in the mid 1970s, life revolved around accounting closings, that ran on Univac 1110 and Exec 8, a good operating system at the time.

At Bradford Administrative Services, for months I developed, coded and tested the reporting end (MARS) of New York Medicaid MMIS. The design was simple by today’s standards: a COBOL extract from claims detail, sorts of the extracted stubs, and then reports based on conventional control break processing in COBOL, in various sequences, with “unduplicated counts” of beneficiaries a big issue. The State would design the test data, and calculate the results by hand, and come down from Albany and for months we would prove would could reproduce their results in a test system. That was our world. The catered lunchtime sandwiches ($3.50 a head then, put paid for by NYS) were a bonus.

But in the real world, IT professionals have to keep up. It’s beginning to look like too much value to just one company can mean less value to everyone else.

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