NASA is Hiring If You Know A 60-Year-Old Programming Language
You should always be looking to add new skills during your career, that’s a given. But what about old skills? And I mean really old skills. Like a 60-year-old programming language. Because that’s what could get you a job at NASA.
The last original engineer on the Voyager project, Larry Zottarelli, is retiring and a replacement needs to be found. He’s 80, so he deserves the rest. The catch is that Voyager 1 and 2 are carrying NASA’s very first on-board computers. The programming languages most people are familiar with today are nowhere to be seen. Instead, Cobol, FORTRAN and Algol are the order of the day.[caption id="attachment_592" align="alignleft" width="300"]
Voyager 2[/caption]These are the assembly languages that were used in the early days of computing. State-of-the-art at the time Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977, the languages have since fallen by the wayside.Suzanne Dodd, program manager for Voyager, isn’t expecting 20-something coders to hunt down a FORTRAN guide and add it to their repertoire, though. She thinks it’s more likely that she’ll find someone in their 50s with a basis in assembly languages."Although some people can program an assembly language and understand the intricacy of the spacecraft, most younger people can't or really don't want to," said Dodd.[caption id="attachment_594" align="alignright" width="291"]
An image of Jupiter taken by Voyager[/caption]The Voyager craft still have enough power to keep running for another ten years but one of the tasks facing whoever gets the job will be to try and increase that lifespan by examining power usage and shutting down unnecessary systems.The moral of this story is that you never know what skill(s) may land you your next job. So you should not only add to what you know but also make sure you don’t forget things learned earlier in your career. This is a pretty extreme example but, on a very feasible level, if you switch from a PR role to a marketing one, or from frontend to backend development, you never know when those old skills might come in handy.Like this article? Get more delivered directly into your inbox! Sign up for our newsletter here:[mc4wp_form id="1711"]
Taledo is funded by the Investitions Bank Berlin Pro FIT program to further develop its platform to enable and research modern Headhunting through the interplay of AI and human factors. The project is co-financed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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