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Thread summary:

Software engineer: programmer, Computer Science degree, job market, web development, Unix server.

 
Old 08-06-2007, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Arizona, The American Southwest
52,155 posts, read 30,219,816 times
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I'm just curious, do we have any programmers on these forums? I want to see if the rapid change in technology we experienced in the 1990's changed their areas of expertise. I know I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science 20 years ago, and what they taught us back then might be considered "Ancient technology" by many people today. Back then, if you knew COBOL/CICS, RPG III or VI, and JCL on the IBM MVS environment, you were guaranteed a job right after you finished school, and that definitely helped me put my foot in the door just 3 months after I graduated.

Over the years, I worked with COBOL, and CICS, on the MVS and the PrimeOS platforms, then around 1988, we gradually started getting away from the mainframes and replaced them with Motorola and Data General Unix distributed systems, and started working with shell scripting, C and C++, Pro-C and ESQL/C, Oracle Forms, Informix 4GL, with Oracle and Informix databases. Later I started using Java, which I hated with a passion when I first started working with it 10 years ago! But Sun improved it and fixed many of the issues and limitations, and it's much better than it was then. I love Perl also and I want to start playing with PHP, which is what these forums are written in.

Business Intelligence has also been gaining popularity in the past 10 years.

I don't know what it's like these days for new graduates in the IT industry and I'd like to get some feedback on how the technology and the "dot com" boom affected their perspective on the IT job market.

I also know some people I worked with in the past that have gotten away from the IT industry, and gotten into something completely different, mainly real estate.
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Tejas
7,562 posts, read 16,558,722 times
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Im afraid when you started developing I was in nappies

I know HTML and the usual bs, VB6 etc. Did a bunch of coding for TekNap / BitchX etc, man those where the days on Napster

I do mess with PHP, Javascript etc. Was contemplating VBNet, as well, its English, and I can speak, so why not. I need to blow the dust off.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:04 AM
Yac
 
5,969 posts, read 6,633,710 times
Yep

Programming mostly in Java. Specialized in computer linguistics and user modeling.
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Lived Large in Parsippany NJ - Lived Larger in Livingston, NJ -- Now Living Huge in Bethlehem PA
460 posts, read 2,014,325 times
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Default It depends though

I did some True Basic, Cobol, C++ and Pascal in college. I have given up on VB - now programming in PHP, C, C++, Java and Perl.

The whole dotnet framework is something I have not messed with at all and might not.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Home is where we park it.
3,098 posts, read 8,405,209 times
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I've taught myself web design and the usual html, xhtml. Can mangle my way thru the templates in my PHP files. I design forum themes for vbulletin and for blogger themes. Liz
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Old 08-08-2007, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Apex, NC
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I'm 34 and started coding when I was about 14. I learned BASIC first because it was the most accessible. At 15 (1988) I met a guy who wrote reviews for a software mag and he gave me his copy of Turbo Prolog, an expert system oriented language. It nearly bent my mind learning Prolog, but I tackled it out of sheer determination and after a few weeks I was doing some neat text/ansi user interface work. Somehow I weasled my way into a programming contract at 15, setting up some customized upload/download text user interfaces and processes for a real estate data transaction company. I had just dropped out of high school so the gig really inspired me to keep at it. At 16 I got my hands on Turbo Pascal and fell in love with it. I did some more contract work and started writing online ansi-based games, then I got involved with a demo coding group and coded some 320x200x256 video mode demos that were pretty cool at the time. To speed up time critical functions I learned x86 assembly code, which had a sort of beautiful simplicity I still admire today. I actually made a pretty trick online vector graphics protocol when I was 17 that I used to write a simple online game or two. At 18 the protocol was bought by a Florida company but it never went anywhere... but I did get to meet some BBS developers and we licensed a version of the SuperBBS source code from a northern european coder. Yay for Finnish source code comments and Finnish variable names *shudder* Then I decided that Pascal was not a platform of choice for real applications and learned C rather "late" in my life at 19. I took a hiatus from programming for a few years but got back into it hot and heavy in 1996 at the age of 23 when I was hired by a "new media" firm that was doing alot of web development. I learned my way around Oracle and Netscape Livewire (which was sort of a version of server side javascript, with lots of strange behavioral bugs tossed in). My first web project was developing the world's first municipal bond trading system. Too bad the entrepreneur who paid to have it developed never got it off the ground. Anyway in 1997 I struck off on my own and started doing web design and back-end development under my own company name. I totally hated (and still hate) Perl so I wrote back-end stuff entirely in straight C. It made scary fast CGI applications but it was a pain to roll out so I switched to PHP in 2000. But I have to hand it to C code. One project I did back then, is Real Estate Appraisers in Usa | APPRAISERSdotCOM and it's still running the same code today. It's fast stuff. But I don't miss coding in it. I've been working with Linux/Apache/Mysql/PHP for 8 years now and it's wonderful. It's fast enough and plays nice with Mysql.

So I suppose the Web was the last paradigm shift for me. There is alot of talk about "Web 2.0" so that's probably the next big opportunity to take advantage of any upheavals. I'm just happy I've been able to avoid working in a cubicle and develop into something of a successful entrepreneur. I feel for the folks in the I.T. industry who've been given walking papers because someone over in India or Eastern Europe can get it done for less money.

The best paying job for new grads that I know of that can't be outsourced is Landscape Architecture. New grads average $80,000/yr because there is a massive shortage. If I were a high school kid today interested in I.T. and engineering, that's the career I'd be targeting. You get to play with design software, and play in the dirt. What better job is there?

Sean
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Arizona, The American Southwest
52,155 posts, read 30,219,816 times
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Interesting responses. I also worked with the older versions BASIC on the old DOS platform and I was elated when I wrote a program that produced bar graphs in 1985.

I also played around with the .NET languages, but I never actually done any work on that platform and upon initial evaluation of C#, it looks so much like Java!

C programming was also one of the courses they taught us in school and I loved working with it on various Unix platforms. The one thing I know is you have to be VERY careful coding in C or C++. I like to write code that's portable and can be taken from one Unix flavor and placed on another or even Windows, and compile it and it'll run without any problems. But, I found out that C/C++ code that works on the Pyramid Nile Unix flavor, may not necessarily work on Sun Solaris and 8 years ago, when I worked on a project to migrate C code from a Pyramid Nile to Solaris platforms, we had to spend months modifying the code to port it for the Solaris platform. During the testing phase, we ended up with thousands of core dumps mainly because of null pointers, which the Nile platform was very tolerant of, but not the Solaris!
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,740,732 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Mike View Post
[b]I'm just curious, do we have any programmers on these forums?
You rang? :-)

Quote:
I want to see if the rapid change in technology we experienced in the 1990's changed their areas of expertise.
Some. I work as a Unisys mainframe and UNIX programmer in the airline industry, though, where things tend to progress more slowly than in other industries ... except perhaps finance.

I got my BSCS back in 1987, mainly playing on Sperry UNIVAC 1100-series mainframes and Digital VAXen, then got a job out of school with Unisys in 1988 as an on-site contractor at Northwest Airlines at their headquarters in the Twin Cities (mostly Fortran 66 coding on 2200-series mainframes). That code is still running in production and helping to power NWA's flight operations area and the SSOC, and most of it'll probably be running in the same basic environment 10 years from now. It's too complex and interleaved with other systems to easily move elsewhere. Heh.

Bounced back to the Unisys Airline Center for a few years doing a mix of Fortran, SSG, CALL macros, and COBOL, then stayed at NWA writing Fortran and MASM, doing ECL/SSG runstreams, mainframe Open/OLTP programming (effectively Tuxedo), and finally dabbling in C/Sybase/Tux coding and light shell/perl/awk scripting on Solaris before being laid off after 9/11 with around half of the IT department. Not a good time to be an airline programmer.

Failed to find permanent work up there after 32 months (did find some short term contract work), so made my search nationwide and finally moved down here to Atlanta where I'm working at SITA as a combination 2200 Fortran mainframe programmer and Solaris/C/C++/Perl coder in parallel.

It's *fun* working in two environments concurrently. :-)

New technology mainly hits us in weird places. The mainframes we use are Unisys Clearpath Dorado servers and are fairly new, but the online transaction environment (HVTIP/USAS) dates back to the 70's or earlier and is mainly green screens.

A web-based UI makes sense for distributed applications, of course, and that is something everyone is gradually moving to as a way to update older mainframe applications, but most of what I work on is real-time message processing between our machines and various external airline or government systems without much of a human interface. However, there seems to be a fixation inside our architecture group with using XML for things that don't seem that apprioriate. Why multiply a simple comma-delimited message by a factor of 10 just to slap verbose tags around it and do little else?

It's also a lot nicer these days being able use a mix of SSH, UTS Terminal, and X client sessions alongside each other on a single PC desktop while connecting to the corporate LAN from home via VPN. That's a lot better than being stuck on a 3270 or UTS20 terminal or VT220 with 80 columns of text and no overlapping window capability at all, or (if lucky) running a DOS-based UTS terminal emulator on an old Sperry HT PC with a dedicated STEP card and using crap like SPLINK for e-mail (SPLINK, or SperryLink, was the Unisys equivalent to PROFS email back in the late 1980's/early 1990's).
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,740,732 times
Reputation: 3896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Mike View Post
[b][color=darkblue]Interesting responses. I also worked with the older versions BASIC on the old DOS platform and I was elated when I wrote a program that produced bar graphs in 1985.
I started in 8th grade with original Apple II machines (the original model that needed you to enter PR#6 to boot!) and Apple Integer BASIC, then moved to AppleSoft BASIC and MuMNF (a CDC Cyber variant of Minnesota Fortran used by MECC's Timesharing System) in high school around 1979 or 1980. My classmates were writing interactive chat programs and games in 1980! Not networked, technically, but there was something really cool about flying space ships around and shooting lasers and missles at each other in real time via teletype. :-)

The interactive/interpreted nature of BASIC made it a very good learning tool, and the fact that Apple's had dozens of nifty games created significant incentive to learn what was going on under the covers!

We didn't learn C in college -- some of the science labs used UNIX machines, but we had a professor who was pushing Pascal big time in his classes, and most of the focus in other classes was Fortran or Algol. Or COBOL for business-related stuff.
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