A Case of the MUMPS
You may not realize it, but the majority of us developers have been living a sheltered professional life. Sure, we’ve got that living disaster of a C++ application and that ridiculous interface between PHP and COBOL written by the boss, but I can assure you, that all pales in comparison to what many, less fortunate programmers have to work with each day. These programmers remain mostly forgotten, toiling away at a dead-end career maintaining ancient information systems whose ridiculously shoddy architecture is surpassed only by the tools used to create it. Bryan H lived in such a world for over two years. Specifically, he worked at a “MUMPS shop.” With no experience and a three-week old college diploma, Bryan was pretty happy to land his first programming job. He had never heard of the programming language that the company used, but he was assured that he’d receive plenty of training and should have trouble picking it up. And they weren’t joking about “plenty of training.” Bryan’s first three months were spent entirely in a classroom filled with other recent grads, all learning about what the next forty years of their lives had in store: MUMPS, MUMPS, more MUMPS, and, if they were extra lucky, a dash of Visual Basic.