Cics Courses

Written by Shirley Parker
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CICS refers to Customer Information Control System. It's a program environment from IBM that's designed to allow transactions entered at remote computers to be processed concurrently by a mainframe host. The term also refers to the software itself that permits this scenario.

Ben Riggins, a systems engineer at IBM wrote the CICS program back in the 1960s. Since then, the system has been godfathered by Bob Yelavich for over 35 years, as hundreds of other people have contributed to its development. IBM first offered it to customers at no charge in 1968, but began charging $600 per month for it the following year. In today's dollars, that would amount to $3,000 a month.

CICS had features ahead of its time, such as virtual operating systems. When this particular concept was incorporated, developers had to be certain not to interfere with earlier real storage, for example, or ruin customers' own refinements. By 1975, CICS brought in recovery restart. What this did was enable a system to be restarted after a failure, so that the original data was undamaged. With the arrival of the Internet, CICS didn't roll over and die; it adapted. The history of support for the product so far has been that if CICS removed a technology item, it replaced it with something more up-to-date.

Classes for Learning CICS

Taught across the United States and Canada, as well as in many European cities, CICS classes are for the pro or the programmer who wants to be counted among their numbers. The best are hands-on, where students spend a good chunk of class time coding, testing and debugging CICS programs on z/OS and OS/390. Some instructors don't allow their course outlines to be posted on the Internet; prospective students must telephone for the details. If you are interested in signing up, it might also be worth asking if the instructor will let you bring in one of your own projects that you've started or finished. There's nothing like real world situations to make a class relevant.


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