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Top 10 Dead (or Dying) Computer Skills

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the old-learning dept.

Education 766

Lucas123 writes "Computerworld reporter Mary Brandel spoke with academics and head hunters to compile this list of computer skills that are dying but may not yet have taken their last gasp. The article's message: Obsolescence is a relative — not absolute — term in the world of technology. 'In the early 1990s, it was all the rage to become a Certified NetWare Engineer, especially with Novell Inc. enjoying 90% market share for PC-based servers. "It seems like it happened overnight. Everyone had Novell, and within a two-year period, they'd all switched to NT," says David Hayes, president of HireMinds LLC in Cambridge, Mass.'"

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c ? really? (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260803)

doesn't really match up with my experience. and putting it next to powerbuilder? that's just not right.

Re:c ? really? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260985)

'C' will never die. Period. It has so many uses from PC's & 'big iron' to embedded systems.

They said something else. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261007)

"C++ and C Sharp are still alive and kicking, but try to find a basic C-only programmer today, and you'll likely find a guy that's unemployed and/or training for a new skill," he says.

Now I know some people who've learned on C#, but I'm sure that will change in the near future.

Anyone who originally learned C, and is still writing code, has probably picked up a few other languages over the years.

Raising the bar (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261361)

It took me, what, two weeks to learn C by reading K&R? Maybe another two months to get comfortable with the pointers to structures of structures of pointers we used to use back then, and were later replaced (in C++) with classes and containers.

My point being that anyone who just learned C didn't set the bar all that high. It's like a landscape painter who only does sunsets.

dovetail (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261015)

No better place to dovetail than first post.

Here's a link to the print version [] for those who dislike clicking 18 times to read a news piece.

And for those not wanting to feed the gossiping trolls altogether, here's the (pointless) "Top 10" list in short form.

1. Cobol
2. Nonrelational DBMS
3. Non-IP networks
4. cc:Mail
5. ColdFusion
6. C programming
7. PowerBuilder
8. Certified NetWare Engineers
9. PC network administrators
10. OS/2

You may now return to the /. index in search of better things to quibble over.

Re:dovetail (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261277)

I don't think you can justify C and Cobol. There are millions upon millions of lines of code in these two languages, and despite all the sexy new ones that have come along, these two still reign supreme; C is incredibly prevalent on dedicated systems and within a lot of operating systems, and mainframe Cobol code can still be found throughout the business world (though often cleverly disguised these days). I doubt a skilled Cobol programmer will be at risk of starving any time in the near future.

Re:dovetail (4, Interesting)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261433)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... lists like this are ridiculously stupid and not thought out. Its like "hey this is old it must be obsolete."

The first two items on the list made me not want to take the author seriously. The financial business is run on COBOL and flat files, and will continue for some time. The language is not pretty, but it was made for a specific purpose and it does it well. In fact, demand for COBOL programmers has risen dramatically as people retire, and it is 7 years after Y2K. I know people who were asked to come out of retirement to work on COBOL again, for very high salaries, because it is not taught to us youngens anymore.

Re:c ? really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261169)

Same for COBOL. Loads of people are still being hired to build and maintain (large) COBOL applications. While there aren't many new systems being made in that language, there's a considerable amount of them that need maintaining and would simply be too expensive to rebuild in a different language. Think of large human resource applications, mostly.

Re:c ? really? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261249)

No, C isn't in any way going out. C produces fast, tight code that so far, C++ and C# can't even begin to match. C++ is just C with a lot of baggage, a great deal of which you can implement in C in a completely controllable, transparent and maintainable manner. We use the most important of those regularly in C code, specifically objects and objects with methods. We obtain better performance, smaller executables, and smaller memory footprints than any company that makes similar software using C++ or Objective C's add-on paradigms. C, and the C sub-domain of C++ and so on, is no more "going away" than C++ itself is. C occupies a unique niche between the metal of assembly and the (so far) considerably less efficient higher level languages — I'm talking about results here, not code. I'm all about recognizing that a few lines of C++ are very convenient, but the cost of those lines is still too high to even think about abandoning C code for performance applications. For many, the object isn't finding the absolute easiest way to write code, but instead trying to find a balance between portability, reasonable code effort and high performance. C sits exactly in that niche. C++ is easier to write, almost as portable, but produces applications with large footprints, inherited, unfixable problems inside non-transparent objects (like Microsoft's treeview, to name one), and a considerable loss of speed as compared to a coder who has a good sense of just what the C compiler actually does (which usually means a C coder that has assembly experience, intimate knowledge of stacks and registers and heaps and so on.)

Speaking as the guy who does the hiring around here, If your resume shows C and assembler experience, you've made a great start. Even just assembler. C or C++ only, and your odds have dropped considerably. C, assembler and either a great math background or specifically signal processing, and now we're talking. C++ doesn't hurt your chances, but you won't get to use it around here. :)


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261255)

Mark Linton, former professor of Stanford University, once said (in CS 140) that FORTRAN is the "F" word.

Re:c ? really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261267)

Speaking as a Linux developer at a major US corporation, we have HUGE demand for C skills, but have trouble finding people that know it. C++ and C#, by comparison, have next to no demand in our company.

Then Pay the Market Wage (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261409)

If you pay the market (equilibrium) wage, then you will find plenty of workers. However, most companies, just like your company, refuse to pay the market salary. They then cry, "There is a shortage of workers!"

A Candidate... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260809)

Not buying software that hasn't been written yet.

I don't care what's suggested... (1)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260815)

I won't believe it until NetCraft confirms it!

Number 1 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260819)

Most people's ability to write normal structured english sentances

Re:Number 1 (4, Funny)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260845)

And the ability to use spell checkers...

Re:Number 1 (0)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261439)

Jest because ewe can use a spell checker doesn't mean the grammar is correct.

Re:Number 1 (1)

penguinwhoflew (904673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261035)

Personally, spelling my pet peeve.

Trolling..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260825)

Trolltalk is dead as Ensign (Jim)(Iluvbees) Trolltalk......

RIP Trolltalk....

LOL @#buttes, failures.

There Are Still Several NetWare File Servers... (1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260843)

Cranking away, doing what they need to do.
Sometimes it is ~very~ profitable to be "the guy" that can fix them.

Re:There Are Still Several NetWare File Servers... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261071)

We've got Novell file and print servers where I work. And our main in house application, which was started eight years ago, is written in COBOL. I kid you not.

It's more profitable to replace them. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261149)

As the article said, Novell is getting ready to "retire" the CNE 6 certification. And they're only up to NetWare 6.5.

Novell is killing NetWare. And GroupWise.

It's a shame. They were good products. I'm still running 7 NetWare boxes with 4 GroupWise post offices. But they will pretty much be reduced to 1 NetWare box with 1 GroupWise post office by this time next year.

Novell should have, long ago, migrated the look and feel of the NetWare utilities to SuSE so that their customers would not have seen a difference when migrating.

You have to admit (0)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260851)

He makes a very compelling argument as to why C is dying.

Re:You have to admit (3, Insightful)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261151)

Yep... after all everyone knows that C# is the best language with which to progarm an embeded micro-controller.

Technology reporting is certainly dying.

1. COBOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260857)


Re:1. COBOL (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261073)

Ya dreamin'. So long as it is cheaper to hire expert programmers maintain the application than it would cost to rewrite it from scratch, COBOL will continue to be a required skill that fetches high pay.

Re:1. COBOL (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261181)

Exactly... There are critical Cobol applications that run in a virtual machine in another virtual machine on big IBM iron that keep making money for big banks. The source is not documented and the coders that work on those patches of code make a lot of money. Especially, because I know that a bug in one of those pieces of code can cost millions to a bank. I've seen it happen, and that guy (earning easily 10x what I did) made the bank stall for two hours. With the big bosses in his neck (it was a bug in a change request) he figured it out in no time, the financial cost was huge though.

I don't think he got a bonus that year... or perhaps he did, after all he saved the day. ;-)

Actually, I'd love to know Cobol. It would give me access to one of the securest best paid IT jobs in the banking industry.

Some of the list looks good (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260865)

But C? Really? I guess that the fact that nearly every game, every OS, almost every high performance computation tool and so on are written in it (or C++ which I keep under the same heading) doesn't count. While it certainly isn't the be-all, end-all, it is still widely used. Even games that make extensive use of scripting languages, such as Civilization 4, are still C/C++ for the core functions.

Until there's enough spare processor cycles that it really doesn't matter how much CPU time you use, or a managed language gets as good at optimizing as a good C compiler/programmer combo (unlikely) I don't think C is going anywhere.

Re:Some of the list looks good (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260969)

C++ is still alive and well.
I think they are wrong since C is still used on a lot of embedded systems where C++ is too heavy.
BTW a good number of HPC tools and applications are still written in FORTRAN.

Re:Some of the list looks good (1)

pthisis (27352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261037)

I think they are wrong since C is still used on a lot of embedded systems where C++ is too heavy.

And plenty of the "vibrant replacements" for dying technologies are large, actively-developed C codebases (e.g. Python). If anything, based on what I've seen in the marketplace over the last 5 years I'd say C++ has been largely supplanted by higher level languages but C continues to be used a fair amount (especially in embedded systems as you note, but also for hand-coding performance critical parts of large systems that are mostly in other languages and for some other non-embedded work).

Re:Some of the list looks good (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261041)

Until there's enough spare processor cycles that it really doesn't matter how much CPU time you use, or a managed language gets as good at optimizing as a good C compiler/programmer combo (unlikely) I don't think C is going anywhere.

Don't forget how well all those "Web" languages works as firmware - Oh, wait, they all depend on plain ol' C to actually bring the hardware up to a level of functionality where all the C-killer languages can make their pretty GUIs.

Re:Some of the list looks good (1)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261187)

Well said... There's nothing like good ol' ANSI C when it comes to building a cross-platform core business component library. (That said, I do write in C++, PHP, Python, Forth, and several flavors of assembly as well...)

I guarantee you, for embedded development and drivers, C and ASM aren't going anywhere, possibly extended with a few C++ features.

It's not C. It's the C only programmer. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261199)

They phrased it very badly. C isn't going anywhere. But if all you know is C, then you are very rare.

Most programmers who know C also know at least one other language.

In any event, putting that on the list was just stupid.

Re:It's not C. It's the C only programmer. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261453)

Not me. I only know C and lazyC (A.K.A. perl)

Re:Some of the list looks good (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261281)

or C++ which I keep under the same heading

Seriously, if you keep C and C++ under the same heading, then you don't know C++. Modern C++ is a world different from modern C, and a modern C++ program would be quite incomprehensible to someone who only knows C.

ColdFusion Dead? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260875)

I can only hope. Terrible, terrible language. Of course, these days it's actually a template engine for a J2EE server. So it's not nearly as bad as it once was. Unfortunately, most of the ColdFusion projects are massive, sprawling directories from the CF4/CF5 days. You're not likely to see a nicely package JAR here. :-/

Also, what's with "PC Network Administrators"? TFA must be referring to a rather specialized form of administrator, because last I checked we still needed someone to keep the desktops configured, the networks running, the file severs sharing, the login servers logging people in, and the IIS servers serving.

Re:ColdFusion Dead? (1)

mikee805 (1091195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261069)

You still ads for ColdFusion developers so would not call it dead.

Re:ColdFusion Dead? (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261085)

The ACM's web site still uses ColdFusion. What irony.

Wait, there IT people who specialize this much? (5, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260877)

I mean, this is IT where things change quickly and at times unexpectedly. If you don't have at least a number of diverse skills then I can't say I feel sorry for you when your job gets axed. I may not be a guru in any one language but at least I won't be unemployed when that language dies out.

Hey, they forgot (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260907)

Microsoft Certified <foo>


+1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261099)

MS Windows is an entire computer ecosystem designed for idiots with just enough needless complexity to keep some of them employed as specialist button clickers.

It's not really the skills that are dying, button clickers are not overly skilled. It's the platform that's dying and taking overpaid 'admin' positions with it.

C? You must be kidding (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260915)

As the Web takes over, C languages are also becoming less relevant, according to Padveen. "C++ and C Sharp are still alive and kicking, but try to find a basic C-only programmer today, and you'll likely find a guy that's unemployed and/or training for a new skill," he says.

What the web can now allocate memory and talk to my hardware? Even if you're not a kernel programmer, the web has sucked and still sucks for application development. It will continue to suck for years, due to Internet Explorer. It's misleading to claim AJAX will solve all these problems because it won't. In fact, it might even cause a few problems of its own. For example, do you really think all that AJAX is secure? In short, I think the web is taking over what naturally comes to that medium. It is wrong to say its displaced C.

Does this guy forget that all of the GNU/Linux Kernel base system is written in C? You know, the operating system that powers most web-servers? I'll tell you one thing, C will still be here in twenty years time when Ruby on Rails is talked about much in the same was Blitz Basic is today. C is here to stay; it's immortal.


Re:C? You must be kidding (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260957)

For example, do you really think all that TCP/IP is secure?

Fixed that for you.

Re:C? You must be kidding (1)

mkettler (6309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261245)

For example, do you really think all that strcpy is secure?
Fixed it again.

(Not to be flamebait, but those who live in C houses shouldn't poke fun at other languages for having the potential to be used in an insecure manner. Sure C can be coded securely, but it can go just as horribly wrong as ajax can.)

Re:C? You must be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261227)

And that dick head that was quoted... Well good.

Most programmers can't write good code in Java or it's C# clone, we should be thankful they aren't writing in C.

Meanwhile in the real world, C is still used by systems programmers and anybody writing performance sensitive code. These guys are worth triple some .NET weenie and they'll be earning even more than that when all the .NET McJobs have been outsourced.

Re:C? You must be kidding (2, Funny)

anvilmark (259376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261309)

This SO reminds me of a comment one of our business users made to my boss a couple years back:

"We don't need sockets anymore, everything is going to Web now..."

COBOL as number one? (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260917)

Hm, I don't know... I still get people emailing me about this post on a JavaCC grammar for COBOL [] . COBOL may be dying, but it's lingering on...

Re:COBOL as number one? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261027)

COBOL may be dying, but it's lingering on...

I know that the big Hartford Insurance companies are still using COBOL , JCL, and big iron. Basically, their IT staffs are all inbred and when they want new blood, get this, they train them!

As far as the other skills on the list, if they are in fact dying, could it because they're no longer needed and the market is just doing its "thing"?

Re:COBOL as number one? (2, Interesting)

Danga (307709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261313)

COBOL may be dying, but it's lingering on...

You are 100% correct and like the article mentioned COBOL is still not only used at many companies but also taught in some universities Computer Science programs including the one I graduated from being Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Here are two examples: [] []

There are A LOT of companies that still use COBOL out there (I saw many of them at every job fair I went to) and the langauge is far from dead. Thankfully I didn't have to go the route of being a COBOL programmer and found a job I love doing C/C++ development but at least I have the option and I definitely did learn a lot about the langauge as well as mainframe programming from taking the COBOL classes.

Another great class they teach at NIU is Assembler on an IBM System 390. That class was HARD but I love the experience and knowledge it gave me regarding how a computer works at the lower levels and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Here is more info on the assembler class: []

While I am not exactly happy that COBOL is still around it still is a fact that it is going nowhere anytime soon.

they forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260921)

all of these only take into account the more experienced of the computer world- they forget all the rest of the people who now make up the majority. the mere fact that so many people surf myspace, use unpatched windows, can not type in coherent sentences or even understand anything about their computer beyond where IE, AIM or outlook are and still use AOL illustrates this quite nicely.

LaTeX (4, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260923)

with MS equation editor becoming passable, journals that will mark your work up for you and quasi-wysiwyg TeX editors, people who 'do' LaTeX are hard to come by. (Afaik, I was the only person out of ~60 in my year (of physicists) who typed their project report up in LaTeX as plain LaTeX markup. About 4 other people used an editor. Everyone else used word.) Or maybe it's just that the students in my department are lazy and take little pride in the presentation of their work.

Re:LaTeX (5, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261095)

You're the lazy one. You know, avoiding all that tracking of cross references, mindless reformatting, applying styles, and doing battle with the (still) inadequate equation editor. Slacker.

Re:LaTeX (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261401)

The compromise is to use a TeX based wysiwig like TeXmacs. [] It's pretty slick and has really nice typesetting.

True story... (4, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260925)

When I started working at the huge multinational company I work at now, there were three things that I had very little experience with that everyone swore would last at the company for decades to come: Token Ring, Netware, and Lotus Notes. I insisted that within the next few years, these technologies would be dead and the company would have to change, and I was constantly reminded of the millions of dollars invested in them.

It's eight years later. We have no Token Ring network. We have no Netware servers. I'm doing my damned best to convince people of how bad Lotus Notes sucks, and most everyone agrees, but we have a Notes support team that really likes their jobs and somehow manages to convince upper level management that it would cost billions of dollars to change to a real e-mail and collaboration solution. But I'm still holding out hope.

Godwilling, Lotus Notes will soon be on this list as well.

Re:True story... (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261087)

Frighteningly enough, the company that I worked for before I struck out on my own was still using cc:Mail in 2003. I've heard that they switched to Notes/Domino since then, but DAMN!!!!

Re:True story... (1)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261127)

Our company went the other way. The Lotus Notes group was able to remove all (non-Notes) email servers in the other division because "Notes would be easier to support". Anyone in the other divisions who wasn't a Notes admin (meaning everyone) was pink-slipped and escorted out.

I expect their Novell admins to start ripping out the AD controllers any day now...

If only... (4, Funny)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260933)

...writing unreliable, poorly-documented, just-about-does-the-job-and-only-if-you-get-lucky code would go out of fashion.

Sadly it seems to be here to stay. In fact with the better availability/quality of scripting languages it is, if anything, becoming more popular...

Skills, Schmills #$#%^%$$#$@#$ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260935)

Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

However, only an illiterate and innumerate population would support War Criminals In Washington, D.C. (including most of Congress) [] .

Thanks for nothing,
Philboyd Studge

10 more dying computer skills (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260971)

1. secure software coding
  2. data management theory
  3. data modeling
  4. usability
  5. interface design
  6. use of testing, version control, refactoring, and other best practices
  7. space or time efficient algorithms
  8. general communications skills
  9. basic business concepts like ROI
10. business ethics

Marketshare (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260973)

Most of the items on the list had a significant marketshare at their peak, except OS/2. Why is OS/2 even on the list? I'd put FORTRAN on the list before I put OS/2 there.

Re:Marketshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261285)

OS/2's use in consumer systems was pretty neglidible but its use in business systems was a bit bigger. Several large organisations (e.g. US post office) made use of it and perhaps the best known is cash machines which up until recently almost exclusively ran OS/2.

ColdFusion (1)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260977)

I beg to defer here. I made the mistake of putting this on my resume (which hasn't been circulated by *me* in the past year or so) and get a call a month asking if I want to do cold fusion. Most offers are in the 100k+ range and they all tell me its because they can't find anyone to do it. I agree its a crappy solution but the market is there but mainly due to lack of interest on the programmers part.

Assembly language (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260987)

Maybe this belongs in a different category, but it seems to me that per capita, it's much harder now to find an engineer who could write a line of assembly for any processor.

That isn't much of a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261435)

The tools are a lot better. I used to optimize code for DSPs by hand. That just doesn't work any more. I don't know anyone who can do a better job than the tools.

Given that the chips are cheaper and more powerful, it is pretty rare to find a case where it pays to spend the extra engineering time fooling around with assembler.

On the other hand, C is still the lingua franca in the embedded world. Maybe that will change but C has the advantage that almost any chip has a C comiler. So, to get the advantages of C, everyone would have to agree to use some other common language.

Is "Buzzword whore" one of those skills? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19260993)

I encourage everyone to disable Javascript for in his settings
and to disable the loading of images from other servers than as
long as that FUD spewing loser is wasting our precious time here.

The name of his own site says it all: []
[...]"I have random things to say."[...]

That is what I get when I read Zonk's articles. Random
sensation about bullshit only Zonk cares about. I guess
as a kid Zonk watched too much CNN where every sack of
rice in china is a important and threatening story.

I would rather read the whole duped SCO and Jack Thompson bullshit AGAIN
than any new Zonk story.

Forget it... it's TOO LATE! The market has already decided: tab=0&geo=all&date=all []

The list: for the javascript:void(0); (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261001)

1. Cobol
2. Nonrelational DBMS
3. Non-IP networks
4. cc:Mail
5. ColdFusion
6. C programming
7. PowerBuilder
8. Certified NetWare Engineers
9. PC network administrators
10. OS/2

C? not dying yet. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261017)

It may be declining since it's heyday but in the embedded world, C is King and will be for a while yet.

What? C? (2)

Aoreias (721149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261021)

C is just the next highest step above assembly if you don't use standard libaries. C is still the de facto standard for embedded systems, drivers, and kernel modules. The only thing likely to replace C is a similarly low-level language with more useful features.

Re:What? C? (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261235)

I understand that there is a popular OS written in C++. Here's what Linus [] has to say about it:

"we did try C++ once already, back in 1992. It sucks. Trust me - writing kernel code in C++ is a BLOODY STUPID IDEA."

They are nuts on the C front. (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261029)

Maybe nobody hires C programmers for coding jobs anymore but it is hardly an obsolete skill. There are millions of lines of C code that require an actual C programmer (a C programmer can move to C++ without a problem but the reverse is not true) to maintain and update.

Further anyone working in the *nix world administrating systems and networks is far more likely to get hired with C skills.

Re:They are nuts on the C front. (4, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261147)

a C programmer can move to C++ without a problem but the reverse is not true
I find the opposite to be true. A C++ programmer is able to move to C without much problems, but the oppose it just not true.

Delphi (2, Interesting)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261047)

Anyone out there still use Delphi? Does it even exist anymore? I'm a bit nostalgic for it - that was my first professional programming gig.

Re:Delphi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261269)

I do! In fact, it displaced VB as my primary tool of choice back in 1997, for technical reasons (mainly, performance, & yet it is as readable as VB is imo, as well).

Delphi 2.0 swept the floor with BOTH MSVC++ & MSVB (of all places), in "VB Programmer's Journal" October 1997 issue entitled "INSIDE THE VB5 COMPILER ENGINE"!

That's where Delphi absolutely blew away VB in ALL of the tests (except ActiveX form loads, which VB even took MSVC++ out in), & took C++ out on 8 of 10 of the tests!

Most importantly, by HUGE margins (especially in math & strings work, which EVERY program does).

Where Delphi did lose to MSVC++ (only 2 of 10 tests) it was by VERY SMALL MARGINS, far less than where it blew away MSVC++....

It was enough for me to see that developing shareware @ least, Delphi rules. I like it a lot, & used it to create this tool (runs essentially unaltered since its birthdate in 1997 to this day, across ALL Win32 platforms):

APK Registry Cleaning Engine 2002++ SR-7: ermakesgooglehappy.html []

That IS the safest & most comprehensive/thorough registry cleaning program there is, bar-none, to this day, even 5 years after I quit developing it, to this day. Enjoy it, if you try it.

(Anyhow/anyway - In shareware/freeware I have done on the side is where I solely control the tools I use, unlike @ work locations, where mgt. calls the shots on tools used & today they follow "He who has the money, wins" because "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" (replace IBM today, with Microsoft)).

Mgt., even though I showed them such results, was like "Well, can't argue the fact that Delphi IS the superior tool for performance AND rapid application development, but... Microsoft has the ca$h, & will be here tomorrow: WILL BORLAND BE?"

You can't win there, not really, not on a technical superiority level. Much like VHS vs. BetaMax, the 'best man for the job' does NOT always win.


If they are outdated, why do we need them? (1)

El Icaro (816679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261051)

Besides C, every other computer skill has a newer (and better, not just newer) alternative. Besides learning them for the sake of learning, which should be good enough to anyone really interested in computers, is it really good for anything? I'm sure knowing these will guarantee you a job for a long time in some company somewhere, but it won't help you anywhere else if you're looking for bigger, more exciting things. And what if this company realizes it's time move on to some other language/development paradigm/database? In the tech world there always seems to be this huge need of "moving on". I'm not arguing it's either good or bad. To me it just is... and seems pretty much unstoppable. We might as well stick with it and play with our Commodores on weekends.

C programming? (2, Informative)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261079)

dead or dying? Most if not all OSes are written in C (Not C++ or C#). Most server software is written in C (Not C++ or C#). Dear God, most languages, compiler and utilities in UNIX/Linux and Windows are written in C. The person who included C in the list is either not a programmer or simply an underpaid VB programmer :).

I think you made a mistake... (1)

Necreia (954727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261395)

...a paid VB programmer is overpaid .

Web Design (4, Insightful)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261089)

Judging by their web page, all design jobs are dead too. We should all just write web pages to serve ads, because C is dead.

This article is trash, even if it does have some technologies that are irrelevant. It has very little value to the reader. I'd rather read a 10 top list for reasons Paris Hilton should be locked up for life.

C, dead or dying!?!?! OUTRAGEOUS!!! (1)

marvlush (752384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261103)

the author of this article must think that all computers use web pages to communicate with the hardware.

Re:C, dead or dying!?!?! OUTRAGEOUS!!! (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261321)

Well they are agents. if there's one group of people I've come across that don't understand technology its technical staffing agencies.

WHAT! (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261105)

Basic for the Apple II+ is NOT on there!

Sigh... I'm soooo outta touch.....

command line skills! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261125)

I think command line skills are dying. I look at the next generation and they are always surprised to see me using awk/gawk/sed/perl/... from the command line to do simple things. Emacs macros, which defined my university years, seem to be totally lost on the new graduates as well. I can recall days when I never used the mouse once while sitting at a computer doing various things. My dotfiles were insanely long. Anyways, these are all just a matter of style, I suppose. But still I certainly feel that my style is different than the new generation.

C and PC network administrators? (4, Informative)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261137)

I don't see where either of these are going away.

There just aren't that many people that know networking outside of IT and there are still a lot of people that get confused about what is going on. I have seen where many people have cluged together a network at their office, but then they find out it sucks after awhile, so they have to call somebody in to look at it.
C programming is going away. I'm always seeing algorithms with some part of C in them. Partly because these guys with VB skills say hey there is no reason to learn all that hard stuff. We'll just get more/bigger hardware. So far they have spent $300K on hardware and 5 man years of programming. They've got a lot of code but nothing to show for it. Runs fast and cranks through a lot of data, but nobody can figure out what it's good for.

The List (1, Redundant)

martinelli (1082609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261155)

1. Cobol
2. Nonrelational DBMS
3. Non-IP networks
4. cc:Mail
5. ColdFusion
6. C programming
7. PowerBuilder
8. Certified NetWare Engineers
9. PC network administrators
10. OS/2

-John Martinelli Security

qmail not there?? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261399)

Can we please, *please* make this a list of eleven and add qmail?


C programmers? (1)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261201)

Given the source I am not surprised to see this. I can tell you thought that C programming is and will be dominant in small embedded systems (8/16 bit microcontrollers) for a long time.

Wow (1)

jzuska (65827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261209)

If you are an expert in one of the listed technologies:
1: die
2: adapt

No sarcasm here. Everything on that list is so old anyone that is doing production work needs to be killed.

The list (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261211)

Another one of those stories where you read only 2 of the 10 and hit Next Page (more ads)
So to save you time RFTA:
1. Cobol
2. Nonrelational DBMS
3. Non-IP networks
4. cc:Mail
5. ColdFusion
6. C programming
7. PowerBuilder
8. Certified NetWare Engineers
9. PC network administrators
10. OS/2

How to learn COBOL (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261291)

I submitted this as an "ask Slashdot" a while back but it was rejected:
How would one go about learning COBOL today? After reading about it off and on for years, I have become interested in learning some basic COBOL. What books or resources would you recommend, and what compilers are available for Linux that generate good COBOL?
There do indeed seem to be less and less people who know anything about COBOL, but there also seems to be a dwindling supply of COBOL materials to work with and learn from.

PC network admins? (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261305)

With the accelerating move to consolidate Windows servers, some see substantially less demand for PC network administrators.

Apparently this guy's never dealt with users. If there's a way to screw up a system, even a dumb terminal, they WILL find a way.

C will die when hell freezes over (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261319)

So you want to you Ajax? Great! So your client is using a web browser written in Perl and an OS written in Java? And the Perl interpreter is written in assembly? Good good.

C will live as long as performance is important in computing, but I suspect it will be THE low level language (i.e. higher than fortran, lower than Python/Perl/Ruby/Java) and that if anything, Fortran/Cobol will/have become irrelevant since (1) C is very popular and (2) C can be seamlessly integrated into C++. C++ will also live forever due to C's popularity (can write complex graphics code and object oriented code in the same code base (i.e. Civ4)).

I'd vote for FORTH (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261323)

In the 80s I came into being a professional developer primarily using FORTH in embedded systems. Unfortunately after spending about 8 years becoming a master FORTH programmer, I had to move on to another company. Sure I've become fluent in C, C++, Python, Ruby. But none of these other 'languages'; not a single one; allows me to express the solution to a problem as succinctly, elegantly, and beautifully as FORTH. I know there are still a few FORTH jobs around, just none where I happen to be living these days. And to me this is a crying shame.

I disagree with some of the list. (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261339)

Cobol has died back as much as it's going to, same as Fortran. It won't reduce in scale any further, because of maintenance requirements, so it is meaningless to say it is "dying". It's a stagnant segment, but it's a perfectly stable segment.

Non-IP networks are dying? Must tell that to makers of Infiniband cards, who are carving out a very nice LAN niche and are set on moving into the WAN market. Also need to tell that to xDSL providers, who invariably use ATM, not IP. And if you consider IP to mean IPv4, then the US Government should be informed forthwith that its migration to IPv6 is "dead". Oh, and for satellite communication, they've only just got IP to even work. Since they weren't using string and tin cans before, I can only assume most in use are controlled via non-IP protocols and that this will be true for a very long time. More down-to-earth, PCI's latest specs allows for multiple hosts and is becoming a LAN protocol. USB, FireWire and Bluetooth are all networks of a sort - Bluetooth has a range of a mile, if you connect the devices via rifle.

C programming. Well, yes, the web is making pure C less useful for some applications, but I somehow don't think pure C developers will be begging in the streets any time soon. Device driver writers are in heavy demand, and you don't get far with those if you're working in Java. There are also an awful lot of patches/additions to Linux (a pure C environment), given this alleged death of C. I'd love to see someone code a hard realtime application (again, something in heavy demand) in AJAX. What about those relational databases mentioned earlier in the story? Those written in DHTML? Or do I C an indication of other languages at work?

Netware - well, given the talk about non-IP dying, this is redundant and just a filler. It's probably right, but it has no business being there with the other claim. One should go.

What should be there? Well, Formal Methods is dying, replaced by Extreme Programming. BSD is dying, but only according to Netcraft. Web programming is dying - people no longer write stuff, they use pre-built components. Pure parallel programming is dying -- it's far more efficient to have the OS divide up the work and rely on multi-CPU, multi-core, hyperthreaded systems to take care of all the tracking than it is to mess with very advanced programming techniques, message-passing libraries and the inevitable deadlock issues. Asynchronous hardware is essentially dead. Object-Oriented Databases seem to be pretty much dead. 3D outside of games seems to be dead. Memory-efficient and CPU-efficient programming methods are certainly dead. I guess that would be my list.

Non Ad Print Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261345)

Click Here []

Yet more netware bashing... (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261353)

I guess this shouldn't surprise me. Even though Netware was pulling "five nines" (of reliability, for those not familiar with the term) long before anyone considered running any flavor of windows on a server, we see another article bashing Netware.

Sure, its sales have declined drastically, but I wouldn't say that its relevance has. I'd be willing to bet that if we were to actually survey what file servers are still running out there, we'll see a much larger representation of NetWare. Just because people aren't buying the latest version doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't using the old ones.

For two years, I managed the computer network of a daily newspaper - including through the election debacle of 2000 and the 9/11 events. We ran that network primarily off of four netware 4.11 (later netware 5.0) servers. One of those servers had been running for over 400 days continuously when I left, and it served files and print jobs. That kind of reliability is hard to match.

Alternative title suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19261393)

Top 10 most valuable skills for freelancers.

Not growing != dead (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261449)

Probably what those skills dont have is future, in the sense of new companies/developments probably will not be based on them. But still there are working plenty of things that require those skills and must keep being maintained, adapted, or even grow a bit all around. IF you got those skills and are already working on one of such legacy systems, then while they last your skills will even worth more. But if not, better to learn something newer.

Also, I learnt a lot of things based on i.e. programming languages that are long dead and buried by now (like modula/pascal). But not only learnt a particular language, learnt to program, and also to learn. That skill, behind whatever technology is the current implementation, last forever.

F77/F90/F95 aren't on the list. (4, Funny)

i_like_spam (874080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19261451)

Yeah! Does that mean that my FORTRAN programming skills are still marketable?

"What will the language of the year 2000 look like? Nobody knows, but it will be called FORTRAN." John W. Backus
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