What It’s Like to Attend z/OS Bug Busterz

Does spending the day focused on learning various debugging techniques when traversing a user or system dump with the IPCS sound like it’s right up your alley? Then the SHARE Academy z/OS Bug Busterz class might be a good fit.

Taking place Sunday March, 5 prior to the kick-off of SHARE San Jose 2017, SHARE Academy provides an opportunity to dive deep into topics relevant to enterprise IT professionals today. 

The SHARE Academy z/OS Bug Busterz class is presented by experienced z/OS IBM Level 2 professionals, and will provide you with the skills to analyze and make sense of diagnostic data captured by z/OS. What you will gain is the knowledge necessary to perform preliminary analysis of dumps and efficient techniques for using IPCS, and how to capture information through diagnostic tools, including GTF trace, CTRACE and SLIP.   

The class: 

  • Is designed for z/OS Systems Programmers and Application Programmers
  • Supports products running on z/OS
  • Requires no prior IPCS experience

Do you want to know what it is like to attend a z/OS Bug Busterz class? Take it from Holden O’Neal, Senior Associate Software Developer – System z R&D with the SAS Institute, who took part in the class during SHARE 2016 in Atlanta.

 "Problem solving is a big portion of this course,” says O’Neal. “So bring your thinking caps.”

 He describes the overall experience as one with real world examples and exercises, but also a lot of discussion on how to approach new or never before seen problems. The instructors are approachable for questions, both during the course and breaks. 

“I had already used IPCS to analyze dumps prior to the course but had not received any formal training. I felt that the session would be a great way to help me learn new tricks of the trade and find out more about IPCS,” O’Neal says. “The z/OS Bug Busterz class was a great way for me to answer a lot of questions I had, as well as learn about new approaches to diving into a dump.”

O’Neal says he walked away with a much better understanding of how to use the powerful features of IPCS, as well as several new ways to approach tricky problems. In addition, he still uses the handouts provided to him during the session as reference in his work.

“It is a worthwhile experience and one that should be approached like a cram session for a final exam in a top-tier university. It is a full day of content and critical thinking; I highly recommend a ​good night sleep and a good breakfast prior to attending.”

The experience, he adds, is one that can be very personal as well. He suggests coming with questions from your own experiences. “I [came with many of my own questions] and got a lot of great feedback on my approaches to tough problems and how I could approach similar ones in the future to save time and energy.”

He believes that attending z/OS Bug Busterz can instill great confidence in the ability to solve problems quicker and with more knowledge than ever before.

“If you spend time analyzing customer reported problems or work in a company that has a monolithic code base, sometimes the best way to hunt down a tricky problem can be to force an abend and capture a dump. This approach can be tedious, but can also unravel some of the most difficult problems. Having this tool in my tool belt is a major plus when I think about how I can become a better developer, provide better solutions for my customers, and handle problems reported by users. This course gave me a lot more confidence when I approach some of the most difficult customer problems put in front of me.”

To register for the z/OS Bug Busterz session at SHARE Academy, and to check out the full day’s agenda, head to the SHARE San Jose 2017 page here.

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