Looking back, the main maintenance work is where I first started doing more analysis than coding. Figuring out what the system was doing and how to change it to do what new thing was being asked for, that took more time and effort that the actual coding changes.
I was also lucky to start out in area that literally supported more systems than there were people in the department, so I got to work on many applications over time, from Real Estate Management to Shareholder Reporting to IT Chargeback. I contrast this with the company's main individual life insurance system, which was huge and had a whole department just for its care and feeding.
Other things to note about this period, first half of the 80s:
- All the systems in use had been developed in-house
- Batch systems were on their way out; the life system I mentioned above was on-line, using IMS DB and DC. This led to the first down/out-sizing I saw in my career; the internal keypunch group was phased out. The current staff were offered positions with an outside company that continued to do the same work for Crown while it was still needed, but with the obvious expectation that it would be needed less and less over time. At some point, the cards themselves were phased out, with the data being entered in files that mimicked the cards, and those files being used as input to batch jobs.
- The technology/tools used by programmers was also changing; more on that next time.