"We are producing information services for professionals. Accuracy and quality are of paramount importance."
– Mark Mooney, Director, Information Systems Development

IBM mainframe clone, DEC VAXes, Wang
Publishing Mid-size shop


The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) gathers and publishes information in five major areas: labor relations, taxes, legal affairs, business and economic issues, and environment and safety issues, with extensive indices to court cases in those areas.

BNA's customers are primarily lawyers, tax accountants, personnel managers, CPAs, and librarians. The federal government is its largest single customer. Founded in 1933, BNA is a $175 million employee-owned organization with almost 1,400 employees.



BNA has a Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) mainframe (an IBM 4381 clone) running under MVS with VTAM. In addition, there are DEC VAXes, Wang VS/80s, and PDP-11s which run the ATEX turnkey text processing system. There are twelve local area networks connected to a corporate network.BNA's primary programming language is COBOL. The HDS runs CICS, IMS, ROSCOE, UFO, and SAS. On the VAX, they run DM (a relational database from IDI, a Battelle subsidiary) for text processing systems. About 50 percent of the work at BNA is new development. The business staff is responsible for financial and subscriber systems. The publications staff has an IMS database which creates indices for publications.

There are approximately 55 computer professionals working in the Information Systems Development Division, the Publishing Technology Division, and the MicroComputer Resource Center. Job titles range from Senior Programmer to Programmer Analyst, Senior Programmer Analyst, Systems Analyst, Senior Systems Analyst, and Project Manager.The existing subscriber systems are being redesigned into an integrated Customer Information System. Relational databases, CASE tools, prototyping, and Rapid Development tools are being used to implement these systems on multiple hardware platforms.


Computer professionals at BNA work at the Washington office in individual cubicles or private offices. Smoking lounges are provided. Everyone has a terminal or PC.Travel is minimal. BNA has a 37 1/2-hour work week with flexible starting times. There is very little overtime. Programmers are paid overtime at time and a half. BNA offers computer professionals a good benefits package and competitive salaries as well as intricate and interesting projects, with opportunities for promotion and training.

BNA observes the 10 federal holidays. They offer 2 weeks of vacation the first 2 years, 3 weeks through the fifth year, 4 weeks through the fourteenth year, and 5 weeks after 14 years. There is company-paid medical, long-term disability, dental, and life insurance (two times the annual salary), a prescription drug payment plan and tuition reimbursement. The 401(k) retirement plan is a deferred stock purchase plan. All employees may purchase stock in BNA after one year of employment. There is also a transportation subsidy.


BNA looks for candidates with a minimum of two years of experience in COBOL and MVS. Experience with database management systems and online programming is critical, preferably matching BNA's technical environment, as well as the ability to communicate.

BNA does not hire entry-level programmers. Most computer professionals have between two and eight years of experience. Ninety-five percent of new hires are hired through employment agencies, the rest from referrals.


A letter with a resume is preferred.

Mr. Mark Mooney, Director, Information Systems Development

(202) 452-4459

Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.

1231 25th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20037

Copyright 1993. Vandamere Press. Covin’s Washington Area Computer Job Guide