Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A GSE z/OS Working Group Meeting through the eyes of students

Hogeschool Gent (HoGent) is one of the Belgian schools participating in the Academic Initiative program for System z. Teachers and students of the IT Department attended the latest GSE z/OS Working Group Meeting in December 2011 at our RealDolmen Headquarters (Presentations are here). Of course I was very curious to find out what their impressions were about such an event. A couple of them wrote down their experiences and their teacher, Angeline van Achter, was so kind to share them with me, and . . . allowed me to share them with you too.

Overall, the impressions are very positive. In general, the students had no real problems to follow the sessions. I thought, that e.g. 'Batch Modernization' would be a tough one but it was pretty understandable to them. I can only conclude from this that the course is quite thorough and really prepares them well for their future life in mainframe. And if you see through a presentation as not much more than a sales talk (which it actually was), you must be on the right track of becoming a real system engineer ;-)

Students also found a confirmation that mainframe is not dead at all and that it's adapting to modern life computing and even evolving more than they thought. But still more important to them were the contacts with this small but, as they stated, very open community, willing to share information and knowledge. People all know each other and where this was a bit intimidating at first, this really changed after a few coffee breaks, since many people engaged in conversations with them. Of course, they also were curious to find out why young people are choosing a mainframe career.

For most of them, the second half of the course is a practical training in a company. So they had a chance to meet their supervisors up front. They also found it interesting to meet other young people who did the same trajectory before them and who could already share their first year(s) of experience with them.

So, content and perhaps even more important, contacts with the people in the field, gave these students a good feeling about this event which bears repetition. So, I would say to them, feel free to come back and I'd also like to invite the other schools to join us at a future session . . .

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