The legions of software programmers banks have relied on to develop and maintain their breadand-butter computer systems are facing up to a harsh reality -- their once-prized skills are becoming obsolete as fast as any other worker's in the Information Age.

After decades of rock-solid job security as demand outstripped supply for competent programmers able to harness the power of big banks' multimillion-dollar mainframe systems, bankers now concede many of their technology staffers' abilities don't match up well with the new technological order, where networks of personal computers are slowly but surely gaining preeminence.

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