“What am I letting myself in for? “
One of many thoughts going through the mind of the Aspie on his way to the i-power event in the middle of his third minor panic attack.
Maybe not the intro you’re expecting, but I’d like to talk now about why it’s worth the trip. For background the third i-ug event I’ve been to having started on IBMi in early 2012, and only stopped calling it an AS/400 in the last year or so.
It really is quite amazing how much you can find on the platform once you start looking. Going from being quite happy churning out fixed width RPG code that the customer has been using for years to free-format is a leap, but then consider the opportunities you can discover in a myriad of open source languages available to you. It’s amazing to learn as well, when you’ve never felt the need to look before, how much you can do with SQL embedded into your programs.
You might say that if the customer is happy with what they know, then there’s not a drive to learn these things, but I think it’s up to us to be pushing the end client to take best advantage of what they can do. With a bit of SQL know-how I have a job that was taking hours to run that’s now down on average to one hour.
Stepping outside the coder bubble for a moment. If you’re feeling confident in your security because QSECURITY is at a good level and you’ve got your special authorities under control nestled behind some menu security, time to learn about FTP/ODBC connections. When did you last check your audit journal or your exit points? I had a customer ask me the other day about options to encrypt their data and it’s great to know who’s out there with solutions ready for me to take off the shelf and run with.
How’re your backups by the way? Ok you have a tape in your hand but shall we talk Virtualisation? What’s your plan for DR? HA?
Slightly wider in the community, there’s so many opportunities to learn as well. Whether you prefer webinars or a good book, accredited or simply the feeling of realising you learned a new trick. There’s no shortage of people willing to offer a helping hand as well, all you have to do is ask.
You can even find a lot of online sites (hello there) with articles detailing tips/tricks, if you’re having a problem, odds are someone else out there has had it in the past and someone else will in the future. If you find the answer but it doesn’t look like anyone else has, then why not post onto one of these sites to help the next person along?
In summary this is always going to be a terrifying experience for me going to the events, but I’m convinced it’ll be a worthwhile one and I’d seriously encourage anyone else out there to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.