This blog was written by Rick Flagler, adjunct professor of computer science at Keene State College. Rick has 30+ years of IBM midrange experience encompassing programming, analysis, management and consulting. He teaches RPG and DB2/SQL for Keene State.
At Keene State College, the recipe for a good IBM i programmer goes like this:
> Start with a community-oriented college, which is part of the larger University of New Hampshire system
> Add students who receive a foundation of CS-101 exposure early on
> Provide personal productivity and PC hardware knowledge
> Add several semesters of traditional CS curriculum including algorithms, data structures and modern language constructs
To this, add IBM i operations, green screen and GUI, CL training, plus a pinch of RPG programming and top off with DB2 and SQL. Of course the opportunity exists to delve into other computer science classes as well as non-CS subject matter while at KSC.
This isn’t the only recipe for success, but one that has worked for a number of hardworking students graduating from this institution located in southwestern NH in a city also know for the annual Pumpkin Festival.
Students traveling the IBM i path, or any other for that matter, have graduated into a tough job market over the past two to three years. Despite the nature of this market, we get feedback that students are having successful interviews and being hired. Sometimes, hiring managers contact me and comment that they never thought they'd get an entry-level candidate with this knowledge.
Our IBM education platform is presently powered by a POWER6 720 with IBM i 6.1 installed. An upgrade to i 7.1 is proposed and waiting for funding. We also want to dip our toes into the new RPG Open Access, because clearly the Web and mobile are places where both students and application development are headed and IBM i is ready to go there too!
As an adjunct professor of computer science at KSC, one of my personal objectives is to attempt to prepare the student for the task of business interaction—including analysis, communication, presentation skills and confidence—not just twiddling a bunch of bits and bytes. To this end, I hope to help Keene State College generate CS graduates who become astute business people and not just a "backroom coder” while, at the same time, expanding the IBM i ecosystem.
Long live the IBM i business proposition! I hope these past, present and future students enjoy the same long, fruitful and rewarding career with IBM i (or whatever it may be called next) as I have with the AS/400 and its successor platforms!
Adjunct Professor Computer Science