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Straight from Innovate2014 - Day 2 Highlights
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By Craig C. Branham,
Technical Enablement Specialist- Enterprise Modernization.
Greetings from Orlando! It's Day 2 of IBM Innovate 2014. The weather is warm, the topics are hot, and conversations are ongoing. We could all get used to this!
My role at IBM Rational is technical enablement and learning development for our System z solutions, so at this conference (when not redesigning the presenters' slides in my head--old habits), I've kept an eye open for insights about mainframe talent development from the industry leaders speaking here.
At yesterday's DevOps Analyst Keynote with Forrester's Phil Murphy ("DevOps for the Enterprise: Mission Impossible?"), co-presenter Hayden Lindsey debunked some mainframe and DevOps myths, showing the urgency to embrace change and the dire consequences of clinging to business as usual. The motivations behind DevOps are nothing new: from the first compilers to our modern development tools, the goal has always been to free the developer from mechanical tasks to enable the creative work and problem-solving that drives innovation in business. One of the myths Lindsey debunked was that young developers, steeped in new technology, can't or won't learn COBOL. He pointed out that developers learn new programming languages all the time—he cut his own teeth in college, he said, coding in that still much-used language, Pascal.
Today I caught Tim Hahn and Venkat Balabhadrapatruni ("Bridging the Mainframe Skills Gap") leading an engaging discussion on how to combine mainframe and distributed development skills. Rational Developer for System z provides a modern IDE to help distributed developers learn and apply mainframe programming languages on the job. For the "seasoned" z/OS developers, as Hahn described them, RDz provides more efficient ways to complete common tasks, and automation that enables code review and automated unit testing. With mainframe and distributed developers using a common tool set, the main challenges are cultural (and sometimes merely semantic). A spontaneous demonstration of RDz for the ISPF developer then broke out at the back of the room!