(the original article can be found HERE)
“We are leaving the platform, because we cannot find RPG programmers” I am sick and tired of this comment. For me this is pure BS and I will tell you why.
First of all, to be a bit more humble, if you are still running RPGII and RPGIII code from 1970s and 1980s you might be correct (It is awesome you can still run this on completely different and hyper modern hardware architecture that would have blown the programmer away when the code was written). You will even find it impossible to get someone who wants to learn those versions (even if I have a very inspiring example when this happened and they are now using AI in the modernised RPG application). Learn, yes people are still interested in learning things such as MODERN programming languages where Full Free Form RPG is one of them. Remember new programming languages comes out every now and then and people learn how to program in them.
To be successful you therefore need to do your homework and give the developers an environment that is attractive to them. Most likely you have a pretty cool business to support with the application already, IBM i is always involved in business critical stuff after all. Btw, an attractive environment for developers today includes modern IDE’s, open source and modern tooling like Git based stuff. I hope I don’t have to remind you that SQL should be your other No1 programming language. It is time jump off the steam locomotive and jump on the high speed train that is on the same platform.
Learn modern RPG is not difficult for a decent smart person. To learn your or your clients business though is often the tricky part. If you have other developers in house already who knows at least the basics of your “business logic” I would start by reaching out to them. If you hired people with the right attitude and curiosity to begin with they will say H*LL YEAH!
By the way, like Paul Tuohy (the picture is not of his best side should be mentioned) says there are two kinds of programmers. Maintenance programers and business application developers. You should most likely to go for the latter. Well, not if you are still looking for a RPGII person perhaps 🙂
“No schools educate people in RPG”, is another comment I virtually punch people in the face when I hear. One reason is because this is not true, the second reason is I rarely hear companies in the need of programming skills in R, D, Rust, Go or any new programming language crying out the same complaints. Instead they are reaching out to schools and companies learning these languages or just put courses up themselves if they have the resources, like Asseco PST in Portugal or Sanmarco Informatica in Italy.
Therefore I have put together a list of alternatives for you (Thank you Michael Mayer for your list on your great site https://ibmireference.blogspot.com for a number of links) when you are planning for the future of your IBM i application.
IBM Education (still around and updated)
In Europe you have a number of local provides teaching in their native (speaking) language as well.
There are also hundreds of smaller firms helping out if needed.
And my own little hobby www.ibmicompetence.com
Now repeat after me