Over my long career, I have written thousands of corporate programs. In 99 percent of themprograms created in many different languages, for hundreds of different companiesIve had to use only a very limited set of instructions: READ, WRITE, ADD, SUBTRACT, MULTIPLY, DIVIDE, MOVE, IF, PERFORM. Just those, and perhaps fifty additional instructions of similar simplicity. Computer languages do contain hundreds of additional, complex instructions, but they are rarely, if ever, usedat least by me and by most corporate programmers. Sometimes I wonder why they were ever put into the language.
Yes, you can probably find a way to utilize almost every complex instruction in your source program, but the people who follow you will pay the priceand perhaps you will pay the price, too, in making something that really is simple into something complex. Complex, hard-to-maintain programs cost the company money, for they waste the time of the programmer who has to puzzle them out.
I include the following illustration of the fundamental structure of corporate programs for those readers who are not yet corporate programmers, and for those corporate programmers who have not yet grasped the virtue of keeping it simple.
To a non-programmer, code looks perplexing. And yet, given a short course in its grammar and syntax, the non-programmer can interpret the code. Take this sentence : If its sunny Wednesday, lets go to the beach. But if its not sunny, lets go to the movies. The COBOL code for that might be IF SUNNY WEDNESDAY, GO TO BEACH , ELSE GO TO MOVIES.
If you were to code that sentence in RPG, the sentence might read like this:
WED IFEQ SUNNY GOTO BEACH ELSE GOTO MOVIES END
This is not particle physics. Nowfull disclosureyou wont be writing code about the beach and movies; youll be writing code that tells the computer how to check inventory records, or cut a velvet dress, or load merchandise into cartons. And there will be some code-like symbols. But theyre easily learned.
Virtually all corporate programmingacross all hardware platforms and across all programming languages (at least the fifteen or so languages in which I have been paid to program) is based on the simple elements of a condition (IF) followed by an action (GOTO). Those programmers who are offended by using a GOTO, or GO TO, may ITER to the beach.
So, basically, if you can think somewhat logically (for instance, not writing; IF it RAINS THEN GOTO the BEACH), then you can probably be a good corporate programmer. The programming conditional IF statement is simply an English question whose answer is true (THEN), or false (ELSE). Corporate programming really doesnt get much harder than that.