5 Retro IT Roles That Have Gone the Way of the Dodo…

( Post 11 of 25 )

This is a post by Holly, who sometimes writes for us at Computer Recruiter.

If you feel confident that your current IT role has longevity, you may want to think again. A healthy future in IT is all about flexibility and life-long learning. If you want your skill set to stay relevant, you need to constantly explore new platforms, new ideas and fresh areas to make sure your expertise are always in demand. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these 5 incredibly retro IT roles that are less useful than a chocolate teapot today.

1) Card-punch Operator

Fortran punch-card photo

(Click to enlarge)

At the dawn of computer programming, programmers didn’t sit behind computer monitors faced with nice lines of editable code. Instead, they’d be punching their programmes by hand into bundles of cards. Believe it or not, there are still developers out there today who cut their programming teeth on these throwback systems.

2) Computer Operator

Today everyone with a smartphone is technically a computer operator. Back in the day, a computer operator was responsible for running code through their organisation’s computer. Yes, that’s “computer” – singular.

These employees weren’t programmers themselves and didn’t design any code – instead they understood the ins and outs of the system and would run the code created by the programmers to flag up any bugs.

3) Y2K Migration Specialist

Fireworks photoRemember the Millennium bug that barely was? Well, back in the late 1990s, a whole gaggle of IT workers were specialising in “Y2K migration” to help save systems from the “inevitable” cataclysmic computing catastrophe that was going to hit the moment the clock struck midnight. Yet 2038 could see a resurgence in demand for this particular skill set when the Unix epoch rolls over

4) B Programmer

Programmers are an adaptable bunch of IT workers. You have to be when your role is all about working around problems and designing clever solutions. So when B (a programming language designed in 1969 at Bell Labs) became more or less obsolete, anyone without a good working knowledge of C or alternative contemporary languages needed to scurry to learn their stuff. Realistically, programmers have a raft of languages up their sleeves, but B was certainly a skill and a role to cross off your CV.

5) Data Processing Manager

Old computer photoIf you’re a present day IT Manager or CTO (Chief Technology Officer), the deep, dark vestiges of your CV may contain an entry labelling you a “data processing manager” or DP manager.* This role dates back to the days before businesses realised just how integral IT would become to their company – a quaint reminder of just how far IT has come since the 1990s.

* Funnily enough, David Jones – one of our guest bloggers earlier in the month – was a DP Manager. Find out more by reading his article here.

[Image credits – computer punch-card: Arnold Reinhold – Wikimedia Commons; fireworks: Benjamin Esham – Wikimedia Commons; old computer: Wikimedia Commons]