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Manta Technologies: Your Resource for IBM i Training

Manta offers a complete library of courses for programmers, operators, system administrators, and users of the IBM i operating system, which runs on IBM Power Systems.

All of our courses are web based and run in all popular browsers.

Build Your Own Combo Pack!

Regular visitors to this site know that Manta offers a different combination pack on sale every month. For August, we are offering a deal that was suggested by several of our customers. Until August 31, you can build you own combination package by selecting any number and combination of series and stand-alone courses. We'll take 20% off the total.

Why Manta? Because it is better to train an employee who might leave than it is to not train an employee who stays.

One of the worst excuses we have heard for not training employees is that, by improving their skills, you make them more valuable to other employers. This false logic ignores the following facts:

Quality training from Manta is the smart way to stay current. You can view detailed course descriptions here. Or, call us at (800) 406-2682 and begin training today!

Free-Form RPG Programming Status

Fundamentals of Free-Form RPG, File Processing with Free-Form RPG, Rounding Out the Essentials of Free-Form RPG, and Working with Complex Data Types in Free-Form RPG are now available. These are the first four of seven courses in the new Free-Form RPG Programming series, which is intended for students new to RPG. If you purchase the series now, your license will be reset to a full year when we finish the series this fall.

People who already know RPG should take the Coding Free-Form RPG course to learn the differences with the free-form format.

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President's Letter

I have recently been thinking about general trends in IBM i training. I'd like to elaborate on two that I find quite interesting.

While many mainframe professionals have no need for skills beyond their immediate responsibilities, that has never been the case for us in the IBM i world. In the small shops which make up much of our ecosystem, it is not uncommon for one or two people to be responsible for hardware and software systems that require the support of dozens of people in larger companies. My favorite example is a student who was in charge of a one-woman shop. Not only was she the computer operator, RPG programmer, IBM i system administrator, network administrator, and Windows administrator/help desk manager, she bragged that she was also in charge of the company's telephone system.

While the "WonderGeek" is common in small shops, large companies have tended to separate the IBM i professionals from the network personnel and Windows people. The first sign I noticed of a change to this unwritten rule was when the system administrator had to learn TCP/IP to connect the (then) iSeries machine to the company network. Today, the administrator needs to know how to set up an Apache server and an Integrated Application Server. A basic understanding of Linux is also needed to set up and maintain the VIOS. Similarly, the application programming side of our profession needs to be conversant in HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and languages such as PHP.

For someone shopping for training, the good news is that these topics are supported in the larger world of Linux, Unix, and Windows. Some great training is available at extremely low (or no!) cost thanks to the order-of-magnitude larger customer base and the existence of shareware solutions. For a smart IBM i training vendor, the best option is to acknowledge the existence of these other training solutions and concentrate on what we do best, which is to explain how such software relates to the IBM i environment and to provide the skills to bridge such general knowledge with the reality of the IBM i work environment.. Manta first took this approach in 2000 with the Java Fundamentals series, in which we kept Java concepts to a minimum, but thoroughly covered how to develop Java programs on an IBM i system. More recently, Manta's Configuring the HTTP Server course teaches how to set up a web server on an IBM i machine, while leaving the coverage of more esoteric Apache server directives to others.

To summarize the first trend, as IBM i shops use more open-source and multi-platform software products, training their existing personnel now involves a combination of courses from traditional IBM i training vendors, colleges, and other sources.

The second trend — which is actually more of a first sign — has an interesting connection to the first. I've noticed that more and more Manta customers are getting serious about hiring recent IT graduates and training them to be RPG programmers. While existing RPG programmers have had to learn all the non-IBM i stuff, these students come with all of this in their heads. It's the IBM i skills they need to learn.

Evidence of this trend has been the unusually quick acceptance of free-form RPG. This seems to be one of those important improvements that was driven by customer demand rather than by IBM marketing. Similar improvements to RDi, SQL, and the various web-based interfaces have gone far to bring IBM i to the available pool of new hires, rather than forcing everyone to start at "here is how we did things in 1989." Whether you need to train new hires or experienced pros, where's the best place to get such training? You know where to find us.

Keep learning,


William A. Hansen, Ph.D.