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The Computer Boys Take OverComputers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise$
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Nathan L. Ensmenger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262050937

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262050937.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

The Black Art of Programming

The Black Art of Programming

(p.27) 2 The Black Art of Programming
The Computer Boys Take Over

Nathan Ensmenger

The MIT Press

This chapter traces the history of computer programming from its origins as low-status clerical work, often performed by women, into one of the highest-paid technical occupations of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It explores the emergence of the computer programmer as a well-compensated technical expert and explains while they continued to struggle with questions of status and identity, they were generally considered to be anything but routine clerical workers by the end of the 1950s. It also highlights widespread perception that programming was a black art during 1950s and 1960s.

Keywords:   computer programming, clerical work, technical occupations, computer programmer, technical expert, black art

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