Heroes of Y2K by Judy Backhouse - Computerweek Magazine

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11 January 2000 COMPUTERWEEK The heroes of Y2k By Judy Backhouse

The truly crazy headed for the hills with fortified bunkers and ammunition. The more cautious bought water and tinned food. Even the most optimistic drew some extra cash the week before. Everyone speculated about the outcome.

But in the IT world, we worked. We checked code. We corrected code. We tested code. We rolled dates forward and backward and forward and backward until our nerves were paper-thin. We upgraded hardware. We upgraded operating systems (to cope with the new hardware). We upgraded compilers (to cope with the new operating systems). We modified more code (to cope with the new compilers). And then we began the cycle again of testing and rolling forward and testing and rolling backward.

We initiated great, complex Y2K projects. We compiled project plans. We filled in endless forms about the state of our Y2K projects. We wrote monthly reports about the progress of the Y2K projects. We went to meetings where we were told how the future of the company depended on the Y2K project being completed in time.

We dealt with panicked business people. We soothed troubled nerves at dinner parties. We were asked to predict the outcome by distant cousins who knew we were "in IT". We became overnight experts in the working of diesel generators, photocopiers, motor vehicles and washing machines. And,collectively, we averted the disaster. Like superman of old, the IT professionals of today managed to intercept nothing less than the end of the world. In an industry where projects run notoriously over the most pessimistic time estimates, we met the deadline. The clocks ticked over to the year 2000 with nothing more than minor hitches. And were they grateful? Did the world thank us and laud us as the heroes we quite clearly were? NO!!! They turned around and called it "all hype". They questioned the money spent. We did our jobs so damned well that the only question remaining was whether there had been any need to do the job at all.

So, to all those IT people out there who slaved away at the Y2k problems over the past few years, who endured the pressure of fearful but helpless managers; who lost endless sleep testing things at night because there wasn't a separate test machine; who cancelled their December leave; who couldn't be in exotic places to welcome the start of the new millennium;who stayed sober on New Year's eve because they were on standby; who went to work on the 1st and the 2nd to boot up the machines - I say put your feet up, pat yourselves and each other on the back and go and get some much needed sleep with a smug smile on your face. We did it.

The IT people across the planet are heroes - even if unsung ones. Like housework, what we do is not appreciated unless we don't do it. But like the housewives of old, we go on doing it, knowing that it is good, honest, necessary work - and that it gives us inordinate power. So, my fellow programmers, system administrators, database administrators, operators, analysts and support staff - congratulations on a job well done. Ours may be the youngest profession on the planet, but this 21st century belongs to us.

-- Lee Barrentine (Wrknman042Legacy@aol.com), January 14, 2000


Response to Article by Judy Backhouse - Computerweek Magazine

Do you have the URL for that article? Of course we here on this list applaud them.

-- Stella (Stella810@yahoo.com), January 14, 2000.

Response to Article by Judy Backhouse - Computerweek Magazine

The article was in print and forwarded to me by a friend who copied it by hand into email. I am going to see if I can find the article on the web as I'm sure there are other items of interest as well from Computerweek. Not positive they have a web site but since most everybody does these days, it's a good bet they do. If I find them, I'll send you the URL.


-- Lee Barrentine (Wrknman042Legacy@aol.com), January 15, 2000.

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