This isn’t your father’s kind of school.
I had my first day of a web-based programming course on Monday. This wasn’t a class where you look up at the front of a classroom with an instructor standing there. In this class, the instructor was somewhere on the East Coast, and I was the only participant in Utah. More than a dozen other participants were scattered through every time zone in the continuous United States, logged into an online classroom, raising their hand or clapping or laughing or answering yes and no by clicking on a button, listening to a lecture through a headset or asking questions through a chat window or a microphone.
The instructor asked everyone about their experience in web-based programming. I was one of only a couple of the students who had little or none of it. And when I happened to mention that pretty much all of my programming experience was in mainframe code, one of them joked that I was “old.”
The difference between the way I’ve had to produce code for a mainframe and web-based coding is like night and day. When you write code for mainframe computing, it’s more like taking a blank piece of paper and writing a story on it from scratch (although there is such a thing as taking existing code and “cloning” it to save time and keystrokes).
With web-based programming, much of the code seems to have been more or less generated for you and you’re setting properties to make screens look the way you want them to appear. At least that’s the way it seemed through the first day.
There are so many tricks to learn. The methods of putting code together seem so different from what I’m accustomed to that it’s like a whole new world, but I’m sure once I catch on to all the tricks and the terminology better that it will be much more fun.
Yeah, I think — with more practice — I can do this.
- Brain drain: Where Cobol systems go from here (infoworld.com)
- NASA retires its last mainframe (zdnet.com)
- End of an era: NASA shuts down its last mainframe (news.cnet.com)
- Mainframe Skills Shortage Looms (blogs.wsj.com)
- NASA pulls the plug on the mainframe computer era (engadget.com)