Re: History of the IT industry

Subject: Re: History of the IT industry
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: Michael West <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 05:04:38 -0400

For those of us who "were there" in 1978, we frequently saw individual
programmers who might do all of the following: write a device driver,
work on a network protocol committee, write code to analyze and manage a
lab's data (and the manual on how to use said programs), write
specifications for purchase of a computer that had to be bought through
crazy government procurement requirements, debug a network, repair the
computer, snake cables under the floor, and spend each day from 5 to 6
in the morning doing backups. We didn't call it IT. We called it

Michael West wrote:
> From: Andrew Warren
>> Michael West wrote:
>>> It certainly is not suggested anywhere that the term "information
>>> technology" was in use in the 17th century
>> Right, Mike, but the term isn't even used NOW to describe anything but
> network
>> administration and computer-system management. As Gene's been saying,
>> professional software engineers and computer designers don't identify
> themselves
>> as working in the "IT industry".
> As I responded to Gene, the main reason they don't is because they do fact
> work in many other industries -- banking, insurance, aerospace, etc etc.
> "Profession" and "industry" mean different things. But I'd bet that software
> engineers who work for Microsoft, IBM or Sun know what industry they work
> in.
>> I mean... Take a look at that "History of IT" site whose URL you posted.
> NOT ONE of
>> the books they recommend on their "primers" page has "Information
> Technology
>> Industry" in its title; instead, every book calls it the Software
> Industry, Computer
>> Industry, Consumer Electronics Industry, or Computer Science Industry.
>> -Andrew, who's been writing software, designing chips, and building
> consumer
>> electronics for 25 years, but who hasn't worked even one day in the IT
> industry
> I don't know when the term "Information Technology" began to be used as an
> umbrella term for those things you mention; Merriam Webster says 1978 but
> I'd have guessed earlier.
> I myself can remember when computer programming was considered a branch of
> electrical engineering. There may be some other old-timers here who can
> vouch for that. Now of course it is considered an engineering discipline in
> its own right. None of the software developers I work with consider
> themselves electrical engineers. But then, they don't have to handle vacuum
> tubes and soldering irons to do their jobs, as programmers used to do.
> But today when you read about the "IT industry" in the Wall Street Journal
> or Business Week magazine, you're reading about companies whose primary
> business involves the things I've mentioned above.

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History of the IT industry: From: Michael West
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Fred Ridder
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Michael West
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Andrew Warren
RE: History of the IT industry: From: Michael West

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