College life & Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am a student at a local technology college pursuing an associate of applied science degree in computer technology with an emphasis on the networking aspect. I have been reading this forum off and on for about 7 months now.

Whenever I have mentioned Y2K or other related material that I have read in this forum to any of the instructors or faculty, I have either gotten a smirk like I was some kind of gullible simpleton for wasting my time reading these posts, or a blank expression that can only be interpreted as "I am clueless as to what you are talking about, or so what do you want me to do about it."

I know that the administrators at this college held a meeting with the faculty last spring, where as a group they tried to decide how the instructors wanted paid. Did they want to print January and February paychecks ahead of time in December, or if they wanted to be paid in cash for Jan & Feb of 2000.

I suppose my question is I wasting my time pursuing a degree in computer technology, given all the doom and gloom that I keep reading in this forum from people that seem to be experts?

-- John Atanasoff III (, September 07, 1999


My brother's in the same boat. Just passed all the MicroSoft tests, hoping to get a job in an industry that his sister (me) says is doomed in 115 days or so. And yes, every person he asks who's actually in the business shrugs off y2k totally.

Anyway, from reading about y2k I've concluded that in the computer world there are no "experts." There are only people who understand how THIS machine works, but are totally clueless about THAT one over there.

Interesting industry, no?

-- good luck (getting@a.job), September 07, 1999.


From the philosophical perspective, the short answer is "no." Unless the population goes berserk and begins lynching programmers and hanging them from the nearest tree, there will continue to be a need for people in the computer industry. Of course, it's possible that you might find that the primary jobs available during the first few years are maintenance jobs associated with fixing all the Y2K stuff that didn't get done.

However, keep in mind that the computer industry is now a large enough segment of the economy that it rises and falls as the overall economy rises and falls. Since every product and service in our economy either has computers embedded within it, or computers to run the company that provides the product/service, it follows that the success or failure of a company will increase or decrease the number of programmers (and network people, database designers, Web masters, and other job titles) that they need. Programmers can get laid off just like normal folks. The programmers working on Wall Street learned this in 1987, and programmers all over the country learned during the recessions prior to that.

For more discussions about all of this, see Chapter 13 in the "Humpty Dumpty Y2K" work-in-progress on my web site.


-- Ed Yourdon (, September 07, 1999.


Programmers can get laid off just like normal folks. The programmers working on Wall Street learned this in 1987, and programmers all over the country learned during the recessions prior to that.

In general I agree (I was in the Wall St. game during that time and it was a bloodbath). The biggest difference I see between then and now is the *massive* deployment computers and computing technology over the last 10 years.

A little over ten years ago (86-89) when I was running the computers for the legal dept. of a major brokerage house most secretaries still used typewriters, nobody had e-mail, and non-trading related networks were almost non-existent (remember when the Novell install came on 30 plus 5 1/4 inch floppies?). The story is quite different now.

No one is indispensable, but programmers are much more important to the infrastructre of an organization today than they were back then. I doubt any company could get away with (ie. survive) the firing of such a large percentage of programmers today.


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), September 07, 1999.

A little humor for a not so humorous pastime at college:

[paste] These are EXACTLY the warnings needed right before starting college.

The FDA is considering some additional new warnings on beer and alcohol bottles, here are a few:

12. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

11. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends want to SMASH YOUR HEAD IN.

10. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may cause you to 'thay shings like thish.'

9. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at 4 in the morning.

8. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what happened to your pants.

7. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary (whose species and or name you can't remember).

6. WARNING: consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead.

5. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, handsomer and smarter than some really, really big guy named Chuck. [No inference meant to our friend here] ;-)

4. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe you are invisible.

3. WARNING: consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.

2. WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause an influx in the time-space continuum, whereby small (and sometimes large) gaps of time may seem to literally disappear".

1. WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may actually CAUSE pregnancy.

[end paste]

source unknown. received in email

-- J (, September 07, 1999.

John--- We don't know exactly how bad it will be, but most of us on this forum think it could be bad. This problem is obviously a serious problem, usually to those programmers that are well experienced in systems development. Along with the fact many agencies/companies are lagging, we know all too well that a seemingly insignificant problem can cause catastrophies.

We also don't know how long it will take for problems to really manifest itself. Are we talking Jan 1st, month of Jan, first quarter, second quarter, what?

There are many unknowns, but we know something terrible could happen. The best thing is to continue on, but prepare the best you can. I've told college students about y2k and some now believe it could be bad. They are preparing the best they can, but are continuing with their education. They aren't quitting.

-- Larry (, September 07, 1999.

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