Who to hire for IBM i 

 

There’s a common misconception in the IT world that young developers don’t want to learn RPG programming or the IBM i system because they believe it to be a dead language and system. It is never mentioned in their news feed but nothing could be further from the truth. The proof for that is your successful business! 

Consequently, as seasoned RPG programmers reach retirement age, some businesses consider migrating off the platform to modernize. Expending the effort to locate skilled developers does not seem worth doing.

Rather than spending unnecessary money and time moving off IBM i, we suggest hiring new developers and offering them IBM i and RPG training. We’ve found that young developers are eager to learn the new RPG and love the IBM i system – once they get a taste of its potential power.

Define RPG Programmer vs IBM i Developer 

We should make a distinction between an RPG developer and an IBM i Developer. RPG developers have traditional skills that served businesses so well in the past. Most are generally not familiar with the newer technologies: SQL, HTML, JSON, Web technologies and Services.

 RPG Developer

Traditional Skills 
RPG II, III,  IV and some coding in RPG Free
Expert with PDM, SDA, SEU & DFU
Control Language
IBM i operating system skills
Traditional ERP skills

 

The IBM i Developer on the other hand is invaluable because they have the skills necessary to move your code base to the 21st century. The ability to use the power of the IBM i combined with new technologies allows your company’s software to work smoothly into today’s business needs.

 IBM i Developer

Primary Skills – IBM i Secondary Skills – Web / Open Source
Modern ILE RPG Skills XML, HTML, HTML5
Expert with RDi, ACS Visual Studio and Eclipse
DB2 – SQL DML & DDL Skills MySQL, NoSQL
Web Services JavaScript, JSON, jQuery, Java, PHP, NodeJS
Rational Developer for i / ACS Apache, IWS, Zend Server, WebSphere Servers
System Security Basics .Net, C, C#, Perl or Apple Swift
Major ERP Systems Vendor Modernization Skills
Traditional RPG Skills Experience converting “Old Code!”

 

Where do I find IBM i developers?

If you have a developer who’s retiring soon, your can: train current RPG programmers, hire young IT graduates, or retrain current employees. And the sooner the better.

Train current RPG programmers to become IBM i developers 

Your current RPG programmers know your business. With structured training they can easily update their skills on the IBM i platform. Working with young developers and exchanging their business knowledge with skills surrounding the new technologies creates a smooth transition that works well.

Hire young developers from college

New graduates are eager and willing to learn both RPG programming and the IBM i platform. They are skilled in coding for multiple languages and quickly master new technologies. Young developers may also bring new ideas to your outdated system.  With their current  programming skills, they can work alongside your current developers to learn your business applications while receiving formal training on the IBM i platform. New RPG programmers also understand the new RPG, which will help modernize your system.

College classes do not focus on IBM i education; an IBM i training program is the best course.

Retrain current employees who are not developers but know your business

Look for employees in other departments who may be interested in IT. Your employee already knows your business operations and likely your computer systems giving them insight into your business processes.  

It will require an investment in training to teach them IBM i and RPG programming, but an employee eager to learn the back end development will be highly successful.  

How do I train new IBM i developers? 

The best way to train your new hire is by online courses that offer accountability, one-on-one training, and programming exercises. 

All other forms of training have their challenges. In-house training is informal with no accountability or oversite. College training will give new developers skills in several coding languages but limited IBM i knowledge. Onsite professional training programs don’t allow for one-on-one learning or accountability. You may not know what your employee learned, resulting in mistakes and retraining in the future.

Professional online training is the way to go

We suggest sending your new hire through a proven online IBM i training program first. Allow them to work alongside your seasoned developer to learn your business processes. They will learn your business from the inside out giving them a deeper understanding.

With online training, students get more in depth education, covering the exact information they need to make your business successful with the IBM i platform. These trainings can be completed at the convenience of the attendee and your business. 

Students get one-on-one instruction to ask questions and get guidance on challenging sections. They can go through section videos and exercises as many times as they need to make sure they understand the information.

Lastly, online training options have full accountability for the attendee and business with the use of regularly evaluated quizzes, assignments and timely progress reports. As a business owner you will know you got your return on investment from day one.

Why choose imPower Technologies online courses?

imPower Technologies offers online courses in IBM i, RPG and RDi programming. You can enroll new hires at any time and expect them to be ready in 10 weeks or less. 

Our courses have the most accountability of any online training including, graded quizzes, programming assignments, and progress reports to show your employee’s progress. 

If you still aren’t sure about our training, here’s a quote from Allan Mortenson, VP of IT at Burgers’ Smokehouse. He sent his young new hire through our training and this is what he had to say,

 

“Going into any process where you are spending money on training, the concern is always whether you will get value received for the money you spend.  I can say without a doubt that we got that value and more from imPower Technologies and Jim Buck. The classes were great. They were very detailed and comprehensive. I spoke with my new hire Programmer trainee, who had no previous RPG experience, several times during the process and his responses about the classes were always positive and he was impressed.  I think Jim is both down to earth in his engagement during the process, and very knowledgeable.

I have been an RPG programmer for 41 years and it was amazing to see our young trainee grasp knowledge that put him ahead of even me after all this time.

Overall, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate the classes and the process as a 10.   I seldom give 10 ratings, but I think this case warrants an exception.

Thanks to Jim and his company for providing training that will yield a very valuable asset to our company, that we will realize for many years to come.”

Allan Mortenson

VP of IT , Burgers’ Smokehouse

If you are ready to send your new hire through our training, contact us today!