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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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Lord Yupa

"Now about those skills of yours. . ."

I've just found out I'm going to be doing some VM/MVS work with my next project, including learning Rexx.

I've always thought it'd be good to get at least a little bit of mainframe experience while I was here with IBM, but I'm a little hesitant, too.

You see, I'm comfortable with smaller systems. Give me an x86 PC, or even a Unix workstation or Server and I'm ready to go at it. Admittedly, I have very limited experience with the high end "enterprise" Unix systems, but I'm comfortable enough with Unix that they don't bother me much, and neither would working with them. Sure, it's a very different mind set working on "enterprise" systems, but the environment is the same. It's still Unix.

However, the more I see of mainframes, the more I'm convinced it's truly a different world of computing than the one I know. When I bring up a host login to a VM system, I feel like a fish out of water. I feel like most of my computer knowledge is worthless for this work, and that feeling sucks.

I've made a huge investment in my skills and knowledge in computing, and I'm good at what I do. I could build a PC from parts in 30 minutes without blinking, I could set up a mail server, a web server, a file server, a DNS server, or a firewall and have it ready for you after lunch. I can program with reasonable proficiency in half a dozen languages.

And I don't know my ass from yours when I'm dealing with a mainframe. I guess I'm just frustrated because I feel so ineffective and pathetic. Here I am, so confident and arrogant in my abilities, and I can't get a directory listing of files in my account without having my hand held by my project leader.

I feel like Will Smith's character in Men In Black when "K" (Tommy Lee Jones) says,
"Cool, Slick. Now about those skills of yours. . . as of right now, they mean precisely dick."
Ah, well. I suppose now's a good time to go find a book on VM, MVS, and Rexx. . . and start reading. ;-)