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LongEx Mainframe Quarterly - Feb 2023


Making Systems Programming Easier

z/OS Systems Programmers are always busy. It seems like we're constantly upgrading software, there's always a performance problem to solve somewhere, and you can guarantee that we'll get a phone call every day with a new problem to solve.

To make matters worse, there aren't enough Systems Programmers to go around. Wouldn't it be nice if we could magically reduce the work that Systems Programmers need to do?

That's exactly what we're doing in this edition.

In our management article, we get straight into it, and offer eight ways to quickly reduce the work that Systems Programmers need to do.

In our technical article we add six recent z/OS features and enhancements that make a Systems Programmer's life easier.

Finally, in our opinion article David Stephens argues that there are some 'legacy' skills and knowledge that Systems Programmers today are unlikely to need. However, this is balanced by new knowledge that is now essential.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

management: Eight Ways to Make z/OS Administration Easier

It's a good time to be a z/OS systems programmer looking for work: there simply aren't enough experienced z/OS systems programmers to go around.

Because of this, it makes sense take steps to reduce systems programmer workloads: the less work, the less systems programmers you need. Or in other words, make systems programmers jobs easier.

But how can you do this? Here are my eight best ways of reducing the work of a systems programmer.


technical: Six z/OS Features to Reduce a Systems Programmer's Workload

Although many see z/OS as an 'old' operating system that rarely changes, the reality is different. New z/OS versions every two years regularly introduce new features and benefits. Over the past 10 years or so, this has included some features that make the lives of z/OS systems programmers easier. Let's look at my six favourite z/OS enhancements or features that make my life easier.


opinion: What Old Skills Don't z/OS Systems Programmer Need to Know?

z/OS administrators are called 'systems programmers.' And this is no accident: in the old days, systems administrators had to be programmers working with the system. z/OS was configured by coding assembler macros and assembling them (systems generation). Every site coded its own assembler exits and routines to get z/OS to do what they wanted. And documentation wasn't great, so some hardy individuals looked at the source code (yes, the source code used to be supplied) to find out what was going on.

Today, z/OS administration is similar to other operating systems like UNIX. So, some of those skills that used to be needed are now no longer required for most z/OS systems programmers. Let's look at some of these skills.



LongEx Quarterly is a quarterly eZine produced by Longpela Expertise. It provides System z Mainframe and z/OS related articles for management and technical experts. It is published every November, February, May and August.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of any other person or organisation. All trademarks, trade names, service marks and logos referenced in these articles belong to their respective companies.

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