[bct] programming

  • From: "Mary Emerson" <maryemerson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:40:01 -0800


You must have majored in computer science. I became a business programmer with just a nine month course and additional 3 months of training at iBM, but this was back in 1976 and 1977. At that time, there were programmers from all sorts of backgrounds; my background was a B.A. in English, but I had a high aptitude for thinking as a programmer (I was tested a few times for that specifically). I wish I'd had a better math background because, for a while, I was responsible for some math routines for an old version of PL/I; fortunately that project failed and I ended up doing something else. When I was a technical writer, the requirements for that field went up because there were too many people who wanted to be writers but failed the IBM training, due to a lack of communications skills (they were usually secretaries wanting a better salary.) So, the requirements were changed to a degree in English or technical communications (B.A. or Master's.) So it doesn't surprise me that programmers need a more rigorous background these days. Unfortunately, the writer training went south, and the quality of some technical books I saw near the end of my work life went very far down hill; I even saw a few e-mails that were inserted into a command description, some of which were written by people who were not fluent in English; and there was some jargon spread through some technical books, such as "bollixed up" instead of "confused." I even saw a reference to "hoss" for "horse" in a sentence that was part of an example. Jargon is definitely discouraged becaue these books must be translated into different languages. At one time I found excerpts from an old internal telephone directory for my work place, which was used as an example of a result of a markup language command. If those individuals were still there, and the person writing the book had been caught inserting this, there could have been a big commotion due to release of confidential information. I certainly hope these errors have been repaired by now, or the books have been reprinted with fixes in them.


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