Reader Feedback on Forget About Platforms, Let’s Talk About Jobs
June 16, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
You live, you learn. And most of the time, it is a collective effort, whether we all want to admit it or not. I didn’t claim to be the king of the job posting engines of the world in last week’s story, Forget About Platforms, Let’s Talk About Jobs. In that story, I queried the big three job sites in the States–Dice, CareerBuilder, and Monster–for jobs that had been posted within the past 30 days and ranked job hits by various terms.
The AS/400 and the iSeries did not do so well when ranked against other platforms, and RPG and COBOL were far less prevalent than Java, C++, C#, and other programming languages. As it turns out, I may have inadvertently suppressed the AS/400 platform, according to one reader, who actually looks for AS/400 jobs for a living. Check out his feedback, and a few others:
From one who is scouring the Web sources for work and has been for a long time especially since his primary target market is in major decline, I suggest the following: Use “AS400” not “AS/400.” The search engines choke on the slash. You will find five to 15 times as many “AS400” responses as you will “iSeries” responses. And that’s on search engines that it’s easier to do single searches by system time than to use “or” logic like command line with indeed.com, which is a really nice aggregating search engine.
I am as fascinated by the “word cloud” concept as you are. I have played the language count game on Dice since 2000, where there were a total of 59,000 jobs. Total jobs dropped below 24,000 during the dot-com blowout, and is now up to 91,000 today.
In fact, it was just this kind of analysis that convinced me to learn Java, which provided at least three years of revenue during those lean years. Several of my RPG programmer friends said they would get out of programming rather than learn Java, and they have. I don’t think there are as many active RPG practitioners as the box count would suggest. Operating system popularity seems to be consistent with my gut feel from Web and magazine article reading. I think Gartner once predicted a bi-polar world of Java and .NET.
One thing I have learned while job searching recently: By adding “AND NOT SAP AND NOT ORACLE” to my search term, it cuts down the list results and reduces my frustration at not having learned those applications years ago. At age 60, it is not worth doing making the effort to learn them now, I will be content to help customers de-commission their AS/400 custom, poorly coded legacies as they move to the those packages and others. It’s been a good run since 1982, and while I don’t blame IBM for treating the midrange platform like a cash cow on the Power Systems, there is no love lost either. Waste of emotional energy to love something that can’t love you back.
It’s about jobs. I’ve left the System i market after more than 30 years in the IBM midrange space as both an IBMer and self-employed independent software vendor. My new IT job offers big challenges, the opportunity for creative thinking, and substantial personal responsibility. It’s a huge step up and forward.
The System i isn’t stagnant, it’s decaying.
OK, so that was depressing, Doug and Reeve. Thanks? HA!
Next week, I will look at this indeed.com job search aggregation site and also take Don’s advice on “AS400” searches and see how the data changes and redo the word clouds.