During the August holidays, I rested myself from the rigours of school by taking part in a course in Electronic Data Processing (EDP) in Auckland. The week, held by International Business Machines for 7th formers, was an introduction to the workings of the computer industry.
Our classroom, with all sorts of modcons such as whiteboards, air-conditioning, big, soft swivel chairs … contained our course manager (teacher), ten other males, and four young ladies from the upper-part of the North Island. We were certainly a mixed bunch: from the fanatic mathematician who had “swallowed” a book on programming, and who wrote computer programmes all day, to scholars of French and Geography. (A survey in the United States indicated that people with University Degrees in Latin or Music make the best programmers!).
Work began straight from nine o’clock Monday on an informal basis. Our mental and physical capacities were exercised in many ways: eating chocolate biscuits and drinking coffee, for example, as well as less important items such as theoretical and practical programming experience; looking at these MACHINES (intelligent morons), and their entourage of systems controllers, operators and engineers in operation; flow charting; the business aspect of the industry; a couple of films; and careers.
I enjoyed the week very much - there was a lot to keep me occupied. I came away with a five centimetre thick wad of computer printout from my programmes. (Free wall paper!) The people were a gay [!] lot. One person was rather upset when he found the words:
You’ve Boobed Again You Idiot
in his computer printout. (Remember the fanatic who was sitting next to me?) One of the girls received a prize for the most concise summary of the week:
What a Load of Rubbish
Other people devised programmes which would not stop until the embarrassed operator had answered in a particular way to such questions as:
I love the Programmer? Yes or No
The computer industry is a young industry: a rapidly enlarging and changing industry. Contrary to most businesses, two hundred million dollars today buys a lot more than it did yesterday. A computer engineer spends a fifth of his time learning and relearning about his work. Programmers, the people who tell those machines what to do must continually revise their skills as faster, more effective and efficient machines are developed. A person who goes into EDP will certainly not find a ceiling to his potentialities, nor a routine syndromic job, lacking in stimulation.
Considering myself, though, I cannot fit the job into my way of life. I’m a more come-and-go as I please type of person.
Image via Wikipedia