As Interviewed by Evie Barnard, March 18, 2018
Charlie Barnard: In His Own Words
I Was in the service during the Vietnam War. I was stationed in Quantico Virginia, Albany Georgia, Okinawa Japan, and Camp Lejeune North Carolina. In the Military, we did a lot of testing. Because of my scores on the test, They decided to put me into computers. The job they gave me was a COBOL programmer. It was Mainframe Computers, so this is long before Laptops or PC's. A computer back then was the size of a garage, and had less power than your cell phone. When I went to work with computers, we used what are called punch cards. The electronics of one of the Machines reads the holes. Each card had a piece of the code on it. We used keypunch machines, that as you typed it, it put the information across the top of the card, but also punched the holes in the top of the card. We did basically bookkeeping. We would keep records on people, and things, and do all the accounting, such as payroll, accounts payable, keeping track of supplies, where people were, things like that. Computer skill, like I learned, are still the underlying base for all computers skills today. Even the fanciest stuff today really gets down to a switch is either off or on. Computer programming has changed a lot over the years. There have been what they call first, second, third, fourth generation languages. In the first generation your in this very basic ones and zeros. As you’ve gotten higher up, you’ve to where you can actually code in a word that might have been several lines of code in a past generation of a language. Computers, they moved fast when I was using them and learning them, but nothing compared to today. We might get an update to the program every couple of years. Nowadays, you get updates on your computer multiple times a day, so it's sped up alot. People depend on technology. The basic skills underlying some of the things that are done with technology now may very well be somewhat lost.