Andy, thanks for that. Wow, that’s awesome.
For those who haven’t yet checked it out, it’s a free program from IBM, and anyone can signup (there is a separate aspect of it that is suited to students, but anyone can sign up for the main program).
When I refer to it as “program”, I don’t mean an “app”. I mean it’s quite a complete introduction, comprised of many parts. You’ll be given an account on a real system, and the program then offers detailed instructions for getting started (broken into several steps). It starts with walking someone through the process of first logging into and using TSO and getting around ISPF–even having you dip into Unix briefly.
By accomplishing steps (which include brief youtube videos and a quiz at the end of each step), you progress through the program. There are badges you can achieve, and even a talent match program to connect employers to successful participants.
While the TSO steps (and instructions) will seem clunky to modern developers, the point is that it will give you real experience working on such a real system (including sometimes tedious old-school instructions, which a newcomer may as well get used to, also!)
I didn’t proceed past the first section before writing this, but I see from digging into the menus that eventually Cobol is covered, as is use of Java and C as well! and even Linux. And of course many other traditional mainframe topics are covered, like jcl, rexx, vsam, db2, and more. So it’s a pretty complete introduction, though sadly, no coverage (not even a mention) of CICS. But I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
It’s indeed a great place for someone to start, so again, thanks for sharing it, Andy. Hope it may benefit others following along here.