[Baypiggies] Chompapps Position - from Issue 31

Emile van Sebille emile at fenx.com
Fri Oct 30 17:06:37 CET 2009

On 10/29/2009 6:47 PM Dennis Reinhardt said...
> At 12:00 AM 10/29/2009, resmith at runbox.com wrote:
>>  But at what point did the person [one age] start to underperform the 
>> another age?
> As someone who has over 40 years of computer industry experience, I 
> have been through this several times.  One point of diminished 
> technical performance coincides with promotion into management.  Your 
> scope widens while your specialty focus is lost.  I have found it 
> necessary to re-invent myself several times.
> The half-life of technical knowledge was thought to be 5 years some 40 
> years ago.  I don't think it is even that long now.  Consider the 
> topics of the last year's Baypiggies.  Are half the foundations of 
> those talks over 5 years old ... or more like 18 months?  How old are 
> the tools, files, and technologies you deal with.  Are half over 5 
> years old? ... or less?
I've been at this 35 years, and independent for the past 30 years.  
Mostly, I add tools to the toolbox and rarely do they drop out.  I 
currently maintain software I designed and wrote in the late 70's, and 
other software I inherited originally written in the early 70's, as well 
as all I've written since.

The tools I add now contribute to integrating systems which in turn 
extends the lifespan of the underlaying old technologies.  In the ten 
years or so I plan to continue at this, I wonder if these systems will 
pass on when I finally stop supporting them or if these customers will 
look for people with the appropriate experience to continue.  It may be 
that the inability to find the right skill set in _any_ programmer will 
finally kill these apps off.

It seems to me that software doesn't die -- platforms improve and the 
software is revitalized by virtue of the increased speed of the 
platform.  I imagine that's part of what's keeping cobol active as well.


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