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Generation i: New AS/400 calls for a new kind of programmer

This tip looks at the impact IBM's support for Linux will have on AS/400 programmers.

"IBM eserver iSeries 400" is more than a mouthful of Manhattan; it's also your next box. Search400 contributing editor Mark Baard recently spoke to AS/400 recruiter Ed Baldwin ( about IBM's next-generation midrange servers and their support for multiple platforms.

SEARCH400: What impact do you think IBM's support for Linux will have on AS/400 programmers?

BALDWIN: I think Linux may best demonstrate the flexibility of the AS/400 platform. There's clearly some utility in Linux,, and we're going to see significant deployment of the operating system in the next year or two.

But Linux is just the beginning for AS/400 programmers. An old RPG or Cobol dinosaur may be able to hang on in a manufacturing shop somewhere, but young programmers are learning HTML, XML, Visual Basicyou name it because they know it's the only way they're going to survive.

SEARCH400: Where are the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and the Wireless Markup Language (WML) on your radar screen?

BALDWIN: We're not trying to fill any jobs that require wireless skills at the moment. But that's going to change; wireless technologies are absolutely where all of us are headed. Within 10 years, all office networks will be wireless. We're starting to see that encroachment now, with [the wireless standard] Bluetooth in home offices and small businesses.

SEARCH400: Are you seeing these new skills in the programmers you've been interviewing?

BALDWIN: That's the problem. The people we're seeing often leave their current positions out of frustration with their managers. They want to learn J.D. Edwards OneWorld and other B-to-B e-commerce solutions, but the managers are unwilling to pay for their training.


Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.

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