Computer question: What is success?

There is currently much chatter on the social media as well as a fair amount of serious (not to suggest that a “tweet” cannot be serious) discussion in various other forums about the importance of a formal education leading to some kind of vocational certification to anyone hoping to succeed in this digital age.

Up until the end of the Second World War, qualifying in one of  the so-called professions (medicine, law, engineering, teaching, etc.) or learning a trade gave one a better than average chance of succeeding, financially and socially, by applying a well-defined and understood acquired skill set. Then in the two decades following the war an elephant entered the room disguised as a digital computer.

People working in just about any field began to feel its presence, subtly at first, like noticing funny printing on the bottom of your personal cheques and strange lines on the labels of some products at the grocery store. Pretty soon you may have received a memo from the payroll department where you work that you would no longer be receiving a pay cheque, only a notice that your net pay had been directly deposited to your bank account; and if the amount differed from what you were expecting it was probably the computer’s fault.

As the years went by and the elephant began increasingly to exert its influence, like the lyrics in a song from the show The Music Man, you knew something nefarious was going on when your kids started using terms like “game controller,” “software,” “binary code” and “C++” interspersed with a “cool” or “crazy” adjective. Then the elephant started a family, giving out names like Desktop, Laptop, Handheld, Smartfone and the like. Christmas wish lists began to include items you’d never heard of, most of which contained one or more computer chips, so you knew times were changing, big time.

So folks, any discussion about what form of education it will take to succeed going forward has absolutely got to include some elephant hide.

The Vernon PC Users’ Club meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre in the cafeteria. Call Betty at 542-7024 or Olive at 542-8490 for more information.


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