At one time IBM had a program where they would give an AS/400 system to
a school if local business(es) would agree to supply instructors.  I
thought this was a great idea on their part.  Does anyone know if they
still do this? 

As far as the rumors of RPG's death being exaggerated, every one says
COBOL is dead too but I haven't seen the hearse drive away yet.  There
was nothing I couldn't do in COBOL that others could do in any other
language.  For the most part it is a factor of how well you know the
language, not how many fancy opcodes are in it.  (Any more it is how
smooth the salesman is.  One company I was at was thinking of replacing
DB/2 with Oracle on the 400, because the salesman had nearly convinced
the top brass that DB/2 was dead. . . )

Like any other language, the ease with which one learns RPG depends on
the tutoring/mentoring available.  I was from a non-IBM mainframe COBOL
background when I got a job in an AS/400 RPG shop.  All they gave me was
an account and a couple of cassette tapes on RPG to listen to.  We
maintained custom code in a 'canned' RPG application the company had
bought.  The code was a mess, a mixture of cyclic and procedural logic
and not commented worth a darn.  I kept looking for the 'secret decoder
ring' to figure out the use of the indicators.  To top it off the
listings were done via some program that indented the code, but also
displaced the indicators in the <=> columns.  That made figuring out
what they were doing quite difficult unless all three columns were used.
Even with that, I was writing code by the middle of the next week.  

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