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October 22, 2007


Bruce Guetzkow

Susan & Jon:

Bravo! Thank you for getting this message out. Not only is this important for the folks trying to get into this field, but for companies using System i. These newbies may not know all of the ins and outs of the cycle, or recognize REDPE or other cryptic operation codes, but anyone with knowledge of RPG, a manual and a mentor can work that out. We need the new skills that these folks bring to the table...and their fresh approach.

I'm on the Advisory Committee for the Programmer/Analyst track at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, WI, and they have been turning out quality students, most of whom have been finding employment. In fact I've spoken with some of the employers and they are not only happy with their new hires, they want more!

The company I work for can not support a second programmer, but I've done the next best thing: I've brought in students as interns the last 2 summers. This gives me an extra pair of hands to do some tasks, and it give them a little experience at a "real" job.

I encourage all of your readers to seriously consider these new graduates for full-time positions or, at the very least, intern positions. You may find yourself learning something yourself!

Thanks for promoting this valuable opportunity to keep the System i platform viable for decades to come.


Jon, Susan,

I also discovered something interesting recently about the academic process and System i.

Universities and colleges are mostly way behind on the computing timeline. We were talking with a NY university, and they were unable to change their current curriculum. They were also finding it difficult to add new curriculum in the next semester and even the next year. The best they could guarantee was the year after next. Add to that the required ~marketing~ effort to let the students know about the new classes, and sell them on why they should take System i classes (when it appeared there were no jobs out there), and the timelines were exaggerated further.

And then, these particular academics had not heard of RPG "for years". They, personally, were not easily convinced there was a market out there to which they could target RPG graduates. Which means your point about companies hiring graduates, becomes more and more important if we want universities to teach System i and RPG.

The "compromise" I heard from them was that they might be able to add System i operations classes to their curriculum much faster. Maybe the days where operators became CL programmers became RPG programmers needs to be revisited?


Susan Gantner

Bruce -

Thanks for sharing your experiences with students and graduates of the Academic Initiative program at Gateway. I've visited Gateway and I know they have a strong System i program. That's probably in large part due to partnerships with companies like yours and the enthusiastic System i faculty members.

See folks? It works. Bruce and his company have seen the value of giving the kids a chance.

Linda Grigoleit

As the program manager for the System i Academic Initiative, I can wholeheartedly echo Jon and Susan's comments. As they pointed out in "Nurturing the Next Generation of Developers", student enrollment in all IT related programs has significantly declined over the last several years, for a number of reasons. As a result many schools are combining programs and eliminating those with fewer enrollees. When we can demonstrate and qualify that there are jobs for their students with System i skills, colleges and universities are willing to work with us. But we need to "put our money where our mouth is" and provide internships and jobs for these students and entry-level graduates. If grads can't find jobs, the System i courses and programs will fade away.

To find out more about our program and to get involved with a college or university, contact us at

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