My introduction to IT was via the Air Force in 1989. Graduating from high School in 1985, well before personal computers became common place and before teaching programming was the norm, I enlisted in in the Air Force.
I took a battery of tests and was told I could be a Forward Air Controller, Arabic Linguist or Computer Programmer. I was never interested in getting shot at as a Forward Controller, tried Arabic for a while but just didn’t get it and finally said – well I guess I will try computers.
I was trained to be a Mainframe Systems Programmer, writing code in Assembler, SAS and MXG. I remember getting to my duty station with other new trainees and they laughed at me because I was headed to a mainframe shop. By 1991, our leaders decided it was prudent to move to Open Systems for our processing because the mainframe was a dying technology. The prediction was that the mainframe would by obsolete by the year 2000. So off we went to Sun Solaris, HP-UX and Microsoft. The world was going to be better.
Dan Kurtz awarded Airman of the Year for War Planning, 1991
After about 2 years of trying to migrate data and update programs, it became apparent we were going to need to keep the mainframe around for a bit longer than anticipated. It was soon after this decision one of my co-workers came to a town hall meeting wearing a shirt that read “Would you rather have 1000 chickens pulling your wagon or one Ox?” That t-shirt had a profound effect on my view of IT. I am not sure, but I bet that oxen is still hanging around and the air force is still running the mainframe for some of their applications.
Fast forward 25 years and I still hear companies saying they are sun-setting their mainframe and moving to the cloud entirely.
Lucky for those companies FNTS still has a mainframe service and very competent programmers who love to support it. Give me a call if you want to discuss our Oxen.