Thinking in DOS

dos 2

I started my new job this week. Three days in and I’m having to take my knowledge of computer programs back some 15-20 years.

Back in 1994 I took a year long accounting program. We learned ACCPAC and BEDFORD which, at the time were DOS based accounting programs.

Basically you enter a series of information that will result in various reports. The thing with a DOS based program is that you have to enter all the information correctly and usually repetitively in order to garner said result. You are, in fact programming the result.

I also took a course in BASIC which was programming computer speak at that time. I think it’s still around.

With a Windows operating system, everything has been formatted. You have an empty template that is structured and ready for you to just feed it the information.

Some people responded rather surprised that I took a job that is still using a DOS based system.

They will be transferring over to a new custom made platform on November 1, 2014.

I will admit to being a little intimidated when I first started. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in a program such as this.  Still, the challenge was too good to pass up.

Happily, its coming back. And you know, it made me recall when we were switching from a DOS based program to a WINDOWS based program. I can recall being terrified. I couldn’t find anything and well, I had to change how I thought about computing.

Strangely enough, DOS for me is a visual program. I have to think and visualize everything I want to do in order to dredge up the commands.

A WINDOWS based program already has the template in place so it is simply a question of plugging in the information correctly.  In other words, you need to understand the application and product that you’re working with.

Oh, there are errors and such.  They’ve not had an accountant for about four months or so and the good people who have stepped in to assist don’t understand bookkeeping so they are simply doing what they’ve been asked to do without understanding the purpose of it.

But that’s cool.  They have done their best and that’s what counts.  At least to me.

I felt a sense of relief coupled with determination once the program knowledge began to come back to me.  I understand accounting.  I know how to apply it.  This is simply a question of learning the application tool I’ve been provided with.

I love a challenge to boot!

My new boss, John, came up to me today.  I was puzzling through something in my head.  He thought it was a cry for help.  This made me smile.

It also gave me insight into the man.  He takes note of his staff and what they are working on.  Oh, I will have the bank reconciliations completed and get things organized very quickly.  Things are not THAT much of a mess.

As I drove home tonight I felt so totally in my element.  I’ve got a rather systematic way of thinking at times that compliments my organizational skills.

They hired me to organize and detail certain functions….well, yes, they shall have it, and then some!

For the moment I will parrot how things are done then make suggestions for efficiency.  The people there are very nice.  I like them. If I can make everyone’s job run a bit smoother, then I will.

And I love my hours!  I start at 7:30 AM and finish up at 4:00 PM.  How sweet is that?

The other aspect to this is the opportunity to step back and really appreciate technology on a whole different level.  When I was first introduced to the world of computers it was a quite intimidating.  I didn’t have a clue about much of the stuff but as per usual, I faked it.

In time though, the technology grew on me.  I learn a little differently as well and how I filter in knowledge is just as odd. This is the opportunity to go back and just see how far we’ve come so fast.

To appreciate the wealth of knowledge that’s been bestowed upon me and my good fortune that I’ve been able to utilize the skills as a result.

Good stuff!

I would love to hear where some of you started off in this field of computing.

Thanks for stopping by!




5 thoughts on “Thinking in DOS

  1. Congrats on the new job, Nancy, and way to kick it old school. I remember when word-processing programs were DOS-based, and you’re right – it was a big adjustment to Windows. I had all the old keyboard commands memorized and had to relearn how to do everything (although to this day I still use keyboard shortcuts way more than Windows menus).


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