KATHY FOSTER
Database Analyst, Senior Member of Technical Staff

Company—
Texas Instruments

Years in IT—
41 (including college IT job years)

My first mainframe job—
It was in 1974 as a “research programmer” at the University of North Texas (NTSU at the time). I assisted students doing master’s theses and Ph.D. dissertations by performing statistical analysis calculations on their data. Many times I designed the questionnaire they used to gather their data. It had to be designed so that the data could be efficiently punched into cards. Our statistical analysis programs were homegrown, but produced stats similar to what SAS does now.

My favorite mainframe memory—
I have thoroughly enjoyed training dozens of great programmers, over the years, to become DBAs. Some have gone on to be great DBAs. Others decided they wanted to be able to get some sleep at night and went back to being great programmers. I think my biggest recent technical breakthrough was figuring out how we could use HALDB databases at my company without having to re-partition our databases every few months or years (our keys were always increasing). With my expert IMS system programmer, we developed a partitioning exit that randomly distributes our data across all our partitions. I love working with experts to solve difficult problems!
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