What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage



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What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby DIVAN » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:26 am

I've recently been employed as a mainframe operator, my employer has offered me a mainframe learnership, specialising in one of the following: MVS support, DB2, CICS, MVS Storage.

What is CICS, why choose CICS?
What is MVS support, why choose MVS support?
What is DB2, why choose DB2?
What is MVS Storage, why choose MVS storage?

As I'm a beginner in the mainframe enviroment how do I start to make sence of the whole mainframe concept?
Which above mentioned area is the most sought after by employers?
Are there any books availeble on the subject, maybe "Mainframe for Dummies"?
Which one of these is the least complecated to master: MVS support, DB2, CICS, MVS Storage?

Any expert opinion will be highly appreciated. (please don't get too technical with your reply's)
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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

 

Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby Robert Sample » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:15 am

CICS is an online transaction processing system. It is widely used to enter and process data.
DB2 is a database system used to store data.
MVS support is maintaining the operating system, fixing problems and helping programmers.
MVS storage is maintaining the storage subsystem, monitoring disk space usage (and sometimes tape pools) to prevent space problems.

Probably MVS storage is the simplest of these to learn. CICS and DB2 can both be approached from a support standpoint or from a development standpoint. MVS support is probably the most complicated to learn. They are all sought by employers but I'm not sure of the relative scarcity of the skill sets.

The mainframe platform has been used for over 40 years now, so it is a complex environment, with many tools in all areas. Unlike the Windows environment, where Office is pretty much the key application, there are many different applications and systems used on mainframes. You can find much on mainframes on the Internet (hint: Google is your friend).

Which should you pursue? That depends upon your interests -- you are far better off picking one that you believe is interesting rather than attempting to pick the one in most demand (which varies over time, anyway). In the long term, doing something you find fun will be more lucrative than attempting to find the job most in demand.
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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby dick scherrer » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:43 am

Hello and welcome to the forum,

Assuming you want to spend some time with this employer, you might ask whoever made the training offer which position(s) would allow you to make the most contribution to the organization while you are growing in the profession.

Which above mentioned area is the most sought after by employers?
This changes from time to time and place to place. A true expert in any of them will usually find work. If one is willing to relocate, often for higher pay or more responsibility.

If you stay in IT for your career, you will be here for a long, long time. You will spend much/most of your hours awake doing this. Suggest that it is more important to do something you really enjoy rather than something that might pay a bit more. . .
Hope this helps,
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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby DIVAN » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:26 am

Thanks for the reply's guys.

If for example I decide to move into storage, and then after a few years I realise that I should rather have chosen support, how easy /difficult would it be for me to switch over?
Do mainframes differ from country to country? The reason I ask, is I'm from South Africa and would like to work internationally if given the chance.

As I was reading your reply's it seemed to me that you guys have been in the game for quite a while and have built up quite a wealth of experience and useful info.

so,

I wasn't planning on a career in mainframes, but as this opportunity has come my way and I'm still young (25 without any other real promising ventures), even though I don't really know anything about mainframes would you recommend it?
I don’t want to get too personal, but I would really like an insiders point of view, as I’ve decided to give it a shot, and would just like to research the subject as thoroughly as possible.

How have you experienced the mainframe environment?

@Robert

I agree google is your friend, that’s how I found this site. However I.T. and mainframe jargon is not so friendly to a beginner :?


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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby Robert Sample » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:47 am

A lot of system programmers (MVS support) start in development or operations and move over after getting some experience. In general, it is possible to move between the various areas but it usually requires some additional training since the areas are so different. There may be some minor differences between countries, but for the most part mainframes work the same the world over.

There has been a decline in the number of mainframes as smaller organizations are moving to servers instead (most large sites are committed to mainframes and would have a hard time getting off them). However, IBM continues to sell a lot of mainframe systems every year -- usually there's an increase in the amount of mainframe power (MSUs or millions of service units, which is one way to measure mainframe capacity) sold each year. IBM has recognized an upcoming shortage of mainframe people (many of whom will be able to retire in the next few years) and has created several initiatives to get younger people into mainframes. So IBM is promoting the mainframe as a career choice.

Some places to do research would include http://www.s390.ibm.com and http://www.redbooks.ibm.com (Redbooks are usually written by IBM people and include how-to manuals as well as more theoretical topics). Google terms that can help include system 390, z10, z/os, z/linux, z/390, hercules emulator, dinos and other anachronisms
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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby xubair » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:21 pm

MVS is always the best option if you want to learn it without having too many problems
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Re: What do I choose? DB2, CICS, MVS Sup. or MVS Storage

Postby steve-myers » Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:17 pm

A person doing "MVS support" will often find themselves doing "MVS storage management" tasks, at least part of the time, so any skills you acquire for storage management are often also used for support.
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