• From: HAVEAJOB@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 23:56:46 -0400 (EDT)

Dean - just a few comments on the education of AS/400 programmers...I never
meant to imply the the quality of all students, instructors, etc. were all
the top of the line.  Obviously, this is not just not so in any setting.
 However, not only are the forces of supply and demand at work here, the
employment track itself also needs consideration.

I would venture to say that while most of my client companies start new hires
from CC's out programming, a very significant portion of them start out the
"degreed programmers" in operations (night shift report printing, etc).
 Looking from the viewpoint of the recent AS degree graduate ... while not
solid programming experience, it does beat working as a stock person down at
the local Kroger.  I can respect someone who at least makes an effort in
their given field if they use the time as an opportunity to learn what they
can.  Besides - I also have companies that need operations people.  You don't
see many degree or occupational educational programs out there that train
people on performance tuning...obviously, someone who has both progrmming and
operations skills will be a more valuable employee to a company.

On the other hand, I think most companies have lost sight of reality and are
selling themselves short on talent.  Granted, I'll take advantage of their
need and make a trip down to my bank, but companies have no one to blame but
themselves.  I have a client company that routinely hires employees with two
brief interviews and not even giving a programming test; when the new hires
don't get the job done, they let them go...which decreases their reputation
in the marketplace...which means they have to hire more inexperienced workers
(probably from out of town!)...who don't get the job done....and so on in a
vicious cycle.  Companies complain when they find out that the programmer who
shows 3 yrs exp on their resume actually has 1 yr of exp three times...but
they never qualified them prior to hiring!  I think it is true that the
education institutions have not devoted enough time and effort into the
AS/400 platform, but when industry will accept what is given to them, the
blame has to go around.

One thing I WOULD like to see is more of an emphasis on breaking up the
COBOL/RPG educational track beyond the basic courses.  While I deal with a
few companies that still use COBOL, they are outnumbered at least 10-1 by RPG
users.  The CC's usually teach about equal amounts of COBOL and RPG classes,
and I think they are doing the students a disservice in their efforts to make
them well-rounded.  Not enough students have the cutting edge background
because two years is just not enough time to get in-depth in some of the
features provided by the latest generations of RPG.  Also, there are a lot of
things developing that sure would be nice to have, JAVA, etc.  Even though
Synon has been around for a while...well, two years is just not enough time.

Finally...are you sure that "snoring" quote wasn't written by my wife?  That
sure sound familiar!

Dave Brown

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