Y2K Over, What's Next?

Those who spent years working on Y2K computer fixes begin looking for next job

With the Y2K computer bug behind them, consultants and computer experts are looking at what to do next. It seems they were so successful at their job that there is no job left. There are no serious Y2K computer failures anywhere, and now it's time for the experts to move on.

Even the man who coined the term "Y2K" is out of work. David Eddy came up with the phrase in June of 1995, and has been working on the potential computer problems ever since.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is history," David Eddy told the Associated Press. "This has been difficult for me to withdraw from."

Eddy plans to stick with computer consulting and will turn his attention toward the World Wide Web.

What about President Clinton's Y2K chief? John Koskinen, the White House's Y2K czar, is thinking about what he is going to do next. For a while, he'll remain at the Information Coordination Center set up in Washington D.C. The $40 million facility will stay operational until at least the end of February. There are still concerns that leap year could cause Y2K computer problems. It's unknown just how long the facility will continue operating after that milestone is reached.

Koskinen feels there is plenty of use for center after February comes and goes. Koskinen thinks the potential next role for the facility should be to monitor information security from viruses, hackers, cyber terrorists or others. Koskinen also told the Associated Press he was pleased with how the public and private sectors worked together on the Y2K problem at the Information Center, and would like those relationships to continue on other important issues.

President Clinton has left the door open for the future of the Information Coordination Center also. The president said there could be a need for a permanent government role monitoring technological crises.

As for the private sector, many companies plan to keep some of their technical employees on the case to handle any Y2K issues that crop up over the next six months or so. However, program managers are likely to jockey for other technology positions within companies.

For some companies the Y2K issue has taught its technicians so much about the computer that their services will be needed for a long time to come. At GTE Corp. The company believes what it has learned about Y2K will actually be transferred to other projects, like electronic billing and online purchasing of products.

CCD Online Systems Inc., a major software vendor that did Y2K work for federal agencies and others, says it's not planning to close shop any time soon.

``We're around for the long haul,'' senior vice president Ted Haddad told the Associated Press ``we have a tool set that expands beyond Y2K.''

Haddad says his company can help customers remake databases to accommodate change, and customers will need to protect against ``undoing'' their Y2K fixes if they alter their computer operations in the future.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 1/5/2000

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