Java fuels AS/400 programmers' careers
Many AS/400 shops are "e-ready" and hungry for Java programmers, says Dino Grigorakakis, regional manager for Menlo Park, Calif.-based RHI Consulting, Inc. A former AS/400 programmer, Grigorakakis now finds full-time and contract positions for AS/400 professionals in the Mid-Atlantic states and southern New England. Search400.com spoke with him recently about Java's impact on AS/400 programmers.
Search400.com: First, how bleak is the picture for AS/400 programmers who don't have Java skills?
Grigorakakis: It's not bleak at all. There's still a need for good RPG programmers. Five years ago, many of them fled the scene to go after client/server tools. But the AS/400 never went away, and RPG programmers became a rare commodity. The situation today is similar -- everyone is moving toward Java and other languages for e-commerce, and demand is high for the programmers who are left behind.
Still, there is an even greater demand for AS/400 programmers with Java experience. That's why they should be learning VisualAge for Java, VisualAge for RPG and Toolbox for Java. These applications provide the hooks between HTML pages and the AS/400.
Search400.com: And where should programmers go to master these Java tools?
Grigorakakis: One of the best, tried-and-true methods is to simply go to a bookstore. Of course, many companies will send their people to daylong seminars -- it's a fast way to get up on the learning curve. But, at some point, you're going to want to grab a book about a specific tool and start experimenting with it.
Written by Mark Baard, a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.