An insight into some of the courses in the IT job market and what one can expect from them

Unlike most other fields, IT sector is human resource-intensive. The skills of its human resources – software professionals – are critical in keeping the sector running.

IT industry is heavily dependent on the analytical skills of its workforce unlike other sectors such as heavy industries, banking etc., where there is considerable scope for automation of major chunk of the operations at the cost of manpower.

As such, there is a huge demand from the IT industry for skilled professionals well-versed with software. But with a range of courses in demand in the job market, there exists some confusion in the minds of budding software professionals on which domain they should opt for.

To help clear the air, here is some fodder on some of the courses in the job market and what one could expect from them.

Solaris, a Sun Microsystems product now acquired by Oracle is an operating system, a close variant of Unix.

This is pretty popular as a programming environment and also as a server system. Although entry level trainings are there, this is more of an advanced topic, says Puran B. Kalapala, an IIT graduate working with a city-based start-up.

Microsoft SharePoint is a family of software products developed by Microsoft for collaboration, file sharing and web publishing. It is pretty popular in the job market nowadays due to the increasing need for common collaboration portals across teams or requirements distributed across geographical locations. As a course, you will get handsome jobs in good companies, as only good companies can afford to buy Enterprise products from Microsoft, reasons Mr. Puran.

ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), a high-level programming language (panic not, high level means an advanced language easy for humans) created by SAP has been around for quite sometime. It is mainly used for programming the SAP-Application Server.

SAP is divided into four distinct modules covering typical functions in an organization – HR (Human Resources) Financials and Controlling (FICO), Materials Management (MM) and Sales and Distribution (SD). “In the SAP world ABAP is unavoidable, and for enterprise level systems, SAP is unavoidable,” points out Mr. Puran, “which means, ABAP professionals will be in considerable demand in the market.”

Common Business Oriented Language (Cobol) is one of the most oft-heard software in the market today. But it is pretty much out of favour among the masses except for in IBM where they have legacy systems called Mainframes. “These huge computers (Mainframes) are still in use because of the heavy dependence of large and typically old industries on them, banking institutions and financial giants for example,” says Mr. Puran. “The cost of shifting to newer technologies is way too high when compared to maintaining those old computers, so they stay.”

Job Control Language (JCL) is a scripting language, part of the Mainframes Operating systems. It is used for controlling large batch processes like calculating interests on all savings accounts in a bank. A scripting language is comprised of scripts or pieces of code which do not need to be compiled, and can be put into an already running system and they start running as if it is any other program. Typically programs need to be compiled before they can be run, not so with scripts.

Another of the legacy systems that continues to be in some demand is Customer Information Control System (CICS), part of the four-part IBM Mainframe software. “This is a 'transaction server' and is mainly used to control the database transactions that take place in an IBM Mainframe Operating System.”

DB2 is a flavour of Database. Learning DB2 means learning how to create, manipulate and maintain databases, just like any of the other databases, says Mr. Puran, senior software engineer with Asymptopica Pvt. Ltd. There are many databases in existence like Oracle DB, Microsoft SQLServer, POSTGRE SQL and DB2, and our existence depends on these databases.

DB2 was initially a part of the IBM mainframes system, but now DB2 has moved on and is one of the five most used databases in the world. They can now be used on Windows or Linux systems and so there is a good demand for DB2 administrators or programmers in the market.

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