"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

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
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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