Meet John Carty: IBM Mainframe Programmer Who Is Visually Impaired

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we are happy to share another story of an employee with vision loss who is succeeding in the workplace. Today, we are sharing John Carty’s story.

John is a computer programmer who has learned to adapt quickly in an ever-changing industry. Read how John has managed to stay on top of his field for 20 years by asking all of the right questions.

Meet John Carty, Visually Impaired Computer Programmer

John Carty sitting at his desk, facing the camera

My name is John Carty, and my career as a computer programmer began when I graduated from El Centro College Computer Programmer Training for People with Disabilities in the spring of 1997. This training was comprised of intensive classroom training in TSO/ISPF, JCL/Utilities, and COBOL/CICS. At the end of the eight-month course, each student was assigned to a two-month internship with a company in the Dallas area. Successful completion of the internship was required for graduation and gave me a taste of what working as a programmer is like as well as valuable professional experience. Overall, this program was excellent preparation for me to begin a career as an IBM mainframe programmer. Due to the Y2K scare of the late ’90s, the skills I learned were in great demand in the job market

When I began the El Centro training program, I had nothing to compare it to and like most aspiring programmers, I was falsely convinced that the most important skills I needed to develop were an understanding of programming languages and related technology. However, this later proved to be incorrect. I didn’t realize this during training, but I’ve come to realize the most important skill I learned during my time at El Centro was to understand the "why" and the "how."

  • Why do my users/customers perform their business activities the way they do?
  • Why and how do the different data elements that are captured during their operation become organized to produce actionable information?
  • How is this data captured, stored, and retrieved?
  • How well is any existing data processing solution performing?
  • How can it be improved in a way to make the daily operations easier, faster, and cheaper?

It is true that computer technology changes rapidly, and there is a constant upward learning curve. However, if one genuinely understands the "why" and "how" then this rapidly changing environment becomes far less burdensome. Business is business and data is data. Understand this, and you can become successful as a programmer.

Learn more about John Carty and his career by reading his Our Stories article.