I found the start at the beginning of my second year at university. There it was! The unit in my Maths subject that started me on my career path. On my Statement of Academic Record it reads “Comp Var Pot”. Or at least I think this was the one. It was a long time ago, so I cannot be sure of the abbreviation, but it looks like the closest. None of the others look like they could be the one. It was one of the five units in my Applied Mathematics IIB subject. It was more likely to be Applied Mathematics rather than Pure Mathematics.
Pure Mathematics was much more theoretical. It included things like Lattice Theory and Topology. Groups and Rings just would not describe the unit that led me to my future career.
This unit was much more an applied type of Maths. It certainly was not things like Differential Equations or Dynamic Celestial Mechanics. So, it must have been Comp Var Pot. A pity I no longer have the curriculum details for 1968 as this would confirm the full name of the unit.
1968 was the first year this unit was offered at the university. It was designed to help with the more complex problem solutions in mathematical applications. But it gave me the idea for my future career. Prior to this the only thought I had was to go into teaching Maths. Fortunately, I found this other option as I now know that teaching children is not for me.
So here I am, retired after being one of the early people taking up work in the computer industry.
I started as a trainee computer programmer. Over the years I worked in just about every aspect of Information Technology. In one small organisation (only four people), I covered the computer operator role when the computer operator was on leave. I worked in updating the computer operating systems in a couple of organisations. In later years I was involved in project management, quality control of new applications, senior team management; basically, whatever was required in the various organisations where I worked.
Over the years I have seen the many developments in the industry. We started with our programs on paper tape, then cards and eventually came on-line programming. The size of the computers has changed. As they became physically smaller, the capacity became larger. But perhaps the biggest change I have seen is the demographic of people working in the industry. I was one of seven starting work that year – three males and four females. Yes, females in the majority. That is not what we see today. Perhaps it is because in the early days, there was no such thing as childcare and maternity leave. When we started families, we left work. This left men in the majority. For some reason the perception then became it was a male only industry!