Take Diego Valderrama, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. If he were an economist 40 years ago, he may have used a paper, pencil and slide rule to figure out and chart by hand how the local economy might change with a 1 percent boost in taxes. But because he's a thoroughly modern guy, he uses knowledge of the C++ programming language to create mathematical algorithms to compute answers and produce elaborate projections on the impact of macroeconomic changes to work forces or consumer consumption.Posted by James Zellmer at September 20, 2005 12:03 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Does that mean he's not as bright as an economist from the 1950s? Is he smarter? The answer is probably "no" on both counts. He traded one skill for another. Computer skills make him far more efficient and allow him to present more accurate--more intelligent--information. And without them, he'd have a tough time doing his job. But drop him into the Federal Reserve 40 years ago, and a lack of skill with the slide rule could put an equal crimp on his career.