"SJL" <sjl_abc@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I have not yet met an AS/400 - iSeries - System i (and that's with a little "i", NOT a big
one..) that has a degree in computer science.

I have a B.S. in Computer Science, with a systems option that included
compiler design and assembly language. That said, after I graduated
my first job was programming COBOL on a Unisys mainframe. When the
shop I work at converted to an AS/400 in 1994, I learned RPG III. Like
with the COBOL we were using, I missed the sub-procedures, pointers
and local variables I had learned with Pascal and C in college. But
that's okay, because IBM eventually added those to RPG.
I never get bored with the System i, because there is so much to learn
and do. I not only program in RPG, I also do CGI web programming,
LPAR configurations with the Hardware Management Console, HA with
Vision Solutions, performance monitoring and capacity planning,
hardware and i5/OS upgrades, install and replace disks and cards, you
name it. As someone interested in systems, I love working with every
aspect of the System i. Our IBM CE is never working on one of our
System i's without me looking over his shoulder and helping when I
can. He calls me before he shows up. I'm as familiar with the cards
and disk drives in our systems as I am with the OS and applications.

As any good IBM midrange technical professional will attest, a degree in Computer Science
is totally irrelevant to programming on this platform - we're not creating new hardware,
writing compilers, or _any_ kind of bare metal stuff like is taught in any Computer
Science curriculum.

I learned a lot about programming techniques when I got my degree.
Stuff I use to this day, especially after IBM added modules,
procedures, pointers, and local variables to RPG. While I don't do
the things you mention above, understanding those things and what goes
into them makes me a better programmer. I was also a Computer
Operator for two years, and that too makes me a better programmer.

Any person with a CompSci degree would be totally bored with the System i - on the other
hand, a more reasonable expectation would be having a degree in Computer Information
Systems.

Not true. I am far from bored. The more one understands about the
underlying concepts of what goes into building a computer system, the
more one can appreciate what IBM accomplished with the AS/400
architecture. Frank Soltis and the people he worked with are
geniuses. I dare say most people can't fully appreciate what IBM did
when it moved the AS/400 from 48bit to 64bit without the need for
programs to be manually recompiled from source. I'm not sure I can.
It still blows me away when I think about it.

As much as I've learned over the past 13 years about this system,
there is still so much I don't know. Every time I go to an IBM
Technical Conference I'm reminded of that. I'll never be bored with
the System i because there is always more to learn.

--
Terry Herrin
therrin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
==
La Paz, Bolivia is the world's most
fireproof city. At 12,000 feet about
sea level, the amount of oxygen in the
air barely supports a flame.


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