Manta Is Listening To Your IBM i Training Needs
August 26, 2013 Jenny Thomas
If you’re looking for IBM i specific training, one of the people you’ll want to talk to is Bill Hansen, president of Manta Technologies. He’s the right person to go to not just because he’s been in the training industry since the 1980s, but because he’ll listen.
Hansen has made a business of creating the training courses that people want. Just last year, he introduced a COBOL training series for programming students, which his customers had been telling him was at the top of their wish lists. Since then, he has been rolling out additional courses, and has just announced the latest in the series.
The sixth course, COBOL File Processing, is now available. It covers the statements and techniques used by a COBOL programmer to process IBM i files, including instruction on accessing physical or logical data files, programming techniques, and I/O error detection and handling in a COBOL program.
Hansen said the current plan to round out the COBOL series is to release one more course, to be called Writing Subprograms in COBOL, before the end of this year. After that, Hansen said he will survey customers who have completed or are currently taking Manta’s COBOL courses to determine what additional COBOL training they are looking for.
“IBM has done all sorts of extensions to the COBOL language,” Hansen said, “so we’re going to poll our users and see what they need.”
On Hansen’s agenda for 2014 is a set of PHP courses, which is again the result of requests from current and potential customers.
“PHP seems to be a really big hot button at the present time,” Hansen said. “Going to COMMON there were about 15 courses on PHP, and it’s definitely a trend in IBM i shops.”
Hansen estimates PHP usage on the IBM i to be similar to COBOL, about 5 percent of the population. That might seem like a small number to some, but to Hansen it’s an opportunity to fill a niche in the IBM i marketplace.
“We encountered this with Java years ago,” Hansen said of the requests he’s been getting for PHP training. “Both are made to be platform independent, so while there is a ton of training out there, there is a lack of training that is IBM i specific.”
The PHP series will likely consist of two courses: one on the basics, and one on what makes PHP different in the IBM i environment.
Also in the works at Manta is finishing up the audio tracks for the SQL series. Once that’s complete, Hansen says “that pushes us past the two-thirds mark for the number of courses with audio. The RPG series will be the next to get audio.”
Current Manta students are already familiar with the pricing breakdown. Customers who have an existing license to the IBM i Training Library, the Program Development Combination Pack, or the COBOL Programming Combination Pack will discover that the new course has already been added to their menu options. For new students not interested in a package deal, a one-year, single-user license for the new course COBOL File Processing costs $120.
You can check out the COBOL series by visiting www.mantatech.com, where you can also take the first session of any of Manta’s 117 courses and competency exams.