Jnr System programmer interview questions.



Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby DIVAN » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:56 am

I'm currently on a mainframe learnership, and a few days back the administrators informed us that they had created a Jnr System Programmer position, and that all of the learners should apply. All of the learners including myself are currently employed as operators. My question is:

What kind of interview questions could we expect? Taking into consisderation that we just started on the learnership programme and the only mainframe experience we have is as operators.
Senior guys, what question would you ask?

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Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

 

Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby William Thompson » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:57 am

Having never done this, I think the first thing I would look for is what you would do in an unusual situation:

All hell breaks loose, you are operations, you see it first, how do you react?

System codes appear, where is the manual with the guidance you need to know what to do next?

All hell doesn't break loose, but something weird is going on;
Too long for this step/job?
Warning messages for spool output?
A pending tape mount where there never was one?
A console request that you haven't ever seen?
What do you do? Where do you look? Who do you contact?

On the other side of the coin, what do you know/understand of the various control blocks the tie the operating system together? Not so much know but more understand that there are control blocks that do tie the operating system together.

Curiosity killed the cat but not the Sysprog, to ask why, and attempt to find out why before you break down to asking, is a good trait.

Can you translate a portion of HEX dump to assembler instructions (green card allowed)?
Do you have a green (or any other color) card?

Extra credit:
What does CLI BNE represent (my license plate is not the correct answer...grin....)?
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Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby DIVAN » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:29 am

Thanx William, the last part of your post was greek to me, so I'll look into that.
In addition, what are some character traits you would look for in a canidate in relation to System Prog?
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Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby Robert Sample » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:25 am

System programmers have to be curious, detail-oriented, analytical, and cautious. I once told a programmer the difference between my job and his was that when he makes a mistake, the on-call person, his lead, and he may be the only ones to know about it; when I make a mistake, EVERYBODY knows about it (usually because the system is down). System programmers learn not to do something without a back up, because sooner or later you mess up and when you do, it's nice (i.e., vital) to be able to recover.

If you want a head start, look into SMP/E (one of the main tools of system programmers), Assembler, and dump reading. Depending upon the site, utilities like IDCAMS, ADRDSSU (DF/DSS), IEBCOPY are usually important to know. Being able to work through problems, one step at a time, even when there are lots of distractions, is a useful skill. People skills are, surprising to some, helpful -- system programmers often have to explain very technical concepts to non-technical people (such as managers), not to mention deal with programmer problems that the programmers cannot resolve themselves as well as dealing with vendors for support and so forth.
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Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby hambim336 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:44 am

Hi,

Thanks very much for this comment. It help me to think about my ideals.

Tks again and pls keep posting.
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Re: Jnr System programmer interview questions.

Postby mongan » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:14 pm

Robert gave a very good comment. One of the most important things is to be able to research and read the manuals. An IBM worker said that he was a beginner in the system programming group. I asked how long he was in the group. 7 years! A lot depends upon how many sys progs you have - we are a medium sized company and I have to cover a lot of territory, z/OS, z/VM, HSM, SMS, RMM, vendor products, etc. Try getting your hands on the documentation DVDs, you will be amazed at how many manuals there are, but don't get frightened - the most important thing is to know where to look, not to know everything.
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