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Re: I'm surprised to see...
Old 11-28-2004, 06:45 AM   #41
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Re: I'm surprised to see...

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Nords,
I was a Cobol Programmer for 10 years back in the 70's. There were plenty of Cobol Programmers then that were in their 20's. They would only be in their 50's today. Not too many dead yet. *;D

In fact I have heard studies that there are more Cobol programmers employed today than other programmers. There are certainly more lines of Cobol Code running today than all of the other languages.
I had no idea that COBOL had made the generational leap. I took a Dr. Hamming course a long time ago where he gave the impression that the language's collapse was imminent even then... you know, back when Ada was going to rule the world.

I guess that'll teach me to never underestimate the industrial deathgrip on recycling old code.

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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-28-2004, 07:10 AM   #42
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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I've have worked for myself since I was 24 (almost 54 now) as a custom home builder in Houston. *I really enjoy being my own boss and building houses and doing "deals". *I have made more than enough money to retire, but I enjoy what I do. *I have started the planning of my early retirement in a year or so, I just can't decide what to do with this damn company I've built up. *Reading this forum is one part of that planning. *What if you enjoy what you do? *

Allan
Allan:

Congratulations on being on the "front line" for 30 years, and still enjoy it.
Unless you are highly motivated (want to live in an entirely different area, have a passion about some other activity, etc. etc.), it is pretty hard to beat "I enjoy what I do".
Speaking personally, I was generally enjoying my work, but approaching age 50, the siren call to move back to the Sierras of No. Calif. overwhelmed my "soldiering on".
My kids were raised, etc. etc.
The carberator is working fine, why fix it?
If you have enough to retire now, it will be a comforting thought in the future, if events play out that make retiring more attractive.
Regards, Jarhead
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-28-2004, 08:04 AM   #43
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

I am still working as a software engineer or project lead, comtemplating to become a manager. I am sure this is the right path.
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Re: I'm surprised to see...
Old 11-28-2004, 09:17 AM   #44
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Re: I'm surprised to see...

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I had no idea that COBOL had made the generational leap.
Oh heck, the University of Waterloo (UW) was teaching it to computer science undergrads in the 80's. *UW has a co-op program (one semester of school and one of work) and a lot of those students needed COBOL skills to get those work term jobs at the insurance companies and such.

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I guess that'll teach me to never underestimate the industrial deathgrip on recycling old code.
There are people building "bridges" to connect that old COBOL code up with newer front ends in Java.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-28-2004, 09:55 AM   #45
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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Another factor is that while the tools keep changing the underlying problems are not much different. That means that for the most part you are constantly re-doing the same thing over and over again just in slightly different wrappers with different tools.
Exactly, I quickly got tired of optimizing code for the latest wiz bang processor (which was usually obsolete in 3 years), building systems that are faster, and cheaper, but basically do the same thing, and re-releasing perfectly good products because someone has a new idea that was never demonstrated useful to real customers.

I think engineers do have a tendency to RE. Many are ideosyncratic and selected their profession because they enjoy designing things, not for the money. Many spend far less than they earn. They quickly learn that their goals don't mesh well with coporate life.

I have friends that are doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and business people. Several of the engineers RE.

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Re: Retired
Old 11-28-2004, 10:03 AM   #46
 
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Re: Retired

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Navy-- submarines-- nuclear engineering, weapons, & military training instructor.
When I was in College in the early-mid 1980s the Navy was actively recruiting engineering students. They offered a very sweet deal -- free tuition for a few years commitment after graduation. I considered it because I was strapped for cash but I was concerned that I wouldn't enjoy living on a sub.

I only knew one student who took the deal. I heard from him a few years later and he was happy and working on a military career.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-28-2004, 03:26 PM   #47
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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I was concerned that I wouldn't enjoy living on a sub.

I only knew one student who took the deal. I heard from him a few years later and he was happy and working on a military career.
Nords, it must have been you!

Judy
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 04:07 AM   #48
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

I'm an academic counselor at a large university.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 09:31 AM   #49
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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Nords, it must have been you! *;D
Judy
That's my generation, but it wasn't me. I wish it was!

In the 1960s & 70s Rickover had heavily recruited science & engineering grads and even forced the Naval Academy to put 80% of their students in those majors. However the well quickly ran dry when he retired (1982) while the submarine force started Reagan's Cold War expansion.

I think JohnBlake is referring to the Nuclear Power Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC). Students got a year or two of full-ride scholarship in exchange for ensign's bars and a four-year active-duty obligation. That was just about how long it took to complete nuclear power training and a sea tour. I took a slightly different (much more painful) path and I always envied the NUPOCs. I hope that program is still around. ROTC is probably second-best. Service academies are in a category by themselves but that's a whole 'nother subject.

Anyone who claims to enjoy living on a sub is a hypocritically deluded bald-faced liar. (EDIT-- I toned that down a bit. I don't want to be antagonistic.) Federal high-security prisoners enjoy a better quality of life, less work, more free time, and much more cubic footage of personal space than submariners. A submarine career is all about the lifestyle, the mission, and the teamwork-- which I enjoyed very much-- but it's not about the shipboard amenities. Read "Blind Man's Bluff" for a more balanced perspective.

I haven't received sea pay since 1992, but some of my old habits & preferences will never die. When our master bathroom shower pan cracked, my first post-retirement home-improvement project was to rip out the shower stall and put in the biggest darn whirlpool tub we could find. It's a good start on a new life, but my spouse is still trying to rehabilitate some of the habits I picked up from those years of sea duty...
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 11:24 AM   #50
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Scientist, more specifically astronomer
(but please don't ask me for a horoscope ).

FI but not RE. The good days still outnumber the bad days. Most days
I can't believe that I actually get paid for having so much fun.

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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 12:12 PM   #51
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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but it's not about the shipboard amenities.
In my Navy days the Submariners were always talking about how good they ate compared to the rest of the Navy.

Personally any kind of Sea Duty was not for me. Today I make exceptions for Royal Caribbean, Holland and Norwegian Cruise Lines
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 01:09 PM   #52
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Me - working - Software engineer / College Teacher / Middle management in a software company - 29 years old and want to retire at 37 (at least, to be FI).

Jack


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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 03:36 PM   #53
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

I was one of the world's first linear integrated circuit
design engineers and a damn good one until they
promoted me to my level of incompetence. My
high water mark was as project engineer of TI's first hand held calculator, the "Datamath". It was down
hill after that until I retired in '89 as product engineering
manager responsible for ASIC testing.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Manager Vs. Engineer
Old 11-29-2004, 04:56 PM   #54
 
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Manager Vs. Engineer

For those who become engineering managers -- if you could go back in time, would you stay as an engineer (as opposed to being a manager with higher status and salary)?

Paul
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-29-2004, 05:58 PM   #55
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

No man is an island, Brewer...I'm a financial analyst. Only 6 months out of school, so I have a long way to go.
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Re: Manager Vs. Engineer
Old 11-29-2004, 07:49 PM   #56
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Re: Manager Vs. Engineer

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For those who become engineering managers -- *if you could go back in time, would you stay as an engineer (as opposed to being a manager with higher status and salary)?

Paul
This reminds me of a philosophy paper I had to write one time: "Is it better to be a pig satisfied, or Socrates dissatisfied?"

The trouble is, by the time you are sophisticated enough to ask the question, it's too late to choose the pig.

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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-30-2004, 03:33 AM   #57
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Salaryguru has an excellent point "by the time you are sophisticated enough to ask the question, it's too late to choose the pig."

Isn't this true in so many areas of life (romance for
example). Just a twist on "We get too soon old
and too late smart."

John Galt
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-30-2004, 07:33 AM   #58
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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In my Navy days the submariners were always talking about how good they ate compared to the rest of the Navy.
That's still true, but I bet the death row prisoners eat better than the rest of the inmates too. And all of us would have paid a pretty high price for a trip to McDonald's, let alone a "real" restaurant.

I can still remember coming into port after 90+ days at sea to be met by the tugboat with a couple cases of fresh fruit & veggies. The boat's air was so bland and your nose was so hypersensitive that you could tell when the oranges came down the hatch. It would be the high point of a long day (not that it's saying much about the quality of life) but the intensity of that memory is so strong that it still flashes back after 20 years.

A submarine meal was served every six hours, the ice cream machine was always running, baked goods were fresh on the midwatch (including doughnuts & rolls), and hypercaffeinated coffeepots were always within 15 feet. I'd gain 10-15 lbs every patrol, spend the offcrew sweating off about 10 of it, then the cycle would start anew. I'm afraid to look at my medical records to see what all my numbers were. My FIL was an itinerant cameraman with CBS News and lived a similar lifestyle for three decades; we still marvel that we've survived the work experience. It's been no struggle in ER to get into "the best shape of my life".

As for "level of incompetence", I always enjoyed the department jobs far more than being XO. And I thought it was a lot more interesting to be running the periscope or programming the weapon than it was to be the guy hovering over my shoulder. And I always enjoyed teaching more than I enjoyed running a department of instructors...
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Re: I'm surprised to see...
Old 11-30-2004, 09:18 AM   #59
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Re: I'm surprised to see...

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Oh heck, the University of Waterloo (UW) was teaching it to computer science undergrads in the 80's. *UW has a co-op program (one semester of school and one of work) and a lot of those students needed COBOL skills to get those work term jobs at the insurance companies and such.
...
There are people building "bridges" to connect that old COBOL code up with newer front ends in Java.
I was an MIS graduate from a small state college in NE in the mid-80's. I went for a double major in Accounting and MIS (Management Info Systems) rather than Computer Science because I already had a business degree and did not want to spend more time taking the math classes required for CS. They did teach both MIS and CS students COBOL.

I used my Accounting major for work in finance/accounting for a couple of years but I didn't like it, so I found work as a programmer. I was a COBOL programmer for about 12 years, and as recently as 1 1/2 years ago, I was working for an insurance company using COBOL, DB2, JCL. Friends of mine from my first programming job tell me that their company is building JAVA front-ends to its COBOL systems.

I now work mostly on MS Access DBs and VBA, and maybe some VB (Visual Basic) against SQLServer is in the future for me--not bleeding-edge but it was really hard to break out of the COBOL box despite the classes I took in newer languages. Managers in big companies do tend to hire the younger folks for newer technology and keep their older staff maintaning legacy systems. When I left the insurance company, they had begun outsourcing the new projects, and I wouldn't be surprised if by now they've begun to outsource maintenance of the legacy systems.

Anyway, I'm happy where I am.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-30-2004, 09:55 AM   #60
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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No man is an island, Brewer...I'm a financial analyst. Only 6 months out of school, so I have a long way to go.
Ditto with the analyst thing... except I've been out of skoo' (undergrad) since '98 and grad since '00...
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