Monday, November 28, 2011

PHP jobs and IBM i

If you were wondering where the next opportunity is in IT then PHP might be just the thing for you.

I was reading a newsletter from another IBM i pundit who was disparaging the future of the IBM i & for RPG programmers using a statistical grid from the job trends section of is a site that tracks IT job opportunities and has a nifty graph that lays them in so you can make comparisons. The best part is that it is very easy to use. The author of the newsletter was trying to diminish RPG as a language with little future because had very few hits. I was not happy with his assessment and posted a response. Unfortunately he is moderating his postings and chose to not allow mine through, as of this writing. So here is what his graphic looks like as he put it forth:

As you can see from this image, the future for the typical RPG programmer looks pretty bleak. That was what the author was trying to portray. But these graphs can be interpreted in many ways. First of all, the entire RPG job market is not very big to begin with. Also, I had gotten my last 3 RPG opportunities via recruiters and they do not post openings via boards like this. As this graphics is display Percentage of opportunities over all, then yes I would agree that there are not nearly as many job opportunities for RPG developers as there are for Java developers, etc. But I could hardly put this on RPG or the IBM i. Another thing to point out is that some of those Java jobs might be on IBM i. That skews the whole equation. What I did when I read the piece and followed the authors link is I added one more language to the chart. This language is called PHP and look at the graphic it created:

In this graphic we can see that the market for PHP developers is on a steep incline. Are any of these opportunities on IBM i? I am not sure. But I have heard of a few IBM i shops leveraging their significant investment in RPG and COBOL while opening up to the open source continuum with PHP. One can also infer fro the above graphic that PHP job growth is far more explosive than many other contemporary languages and that since PHP runs natively on IBM i there might be a future! I believe there is a future to IBM i and that future is made up of many technologies and third party solutions. All should be evaluated and considered when the traditional green screen shop starts looking to go to a GUI solution. And then in the spirit of the season, you select PHP.

The truth, as many of you already know is that statistics can be manipulated to support or defend nearly any idea or agenda. Please read as much as you can about a certain topic but do NOT accept any one persons view as the truth without first evaluating it creditability with at least a little Googling.

Happy Holiday's!