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My Experience Using the zXplore Platform


Hi I’m Amro, and I’m a R&D Placement Student at Macro 4. During the first two years of my BSc Computer Science degree at the University of Bath, I don’t remember once hearing the word ‘mainframe’, so you can imagine how confusing things were for me at the beginning of this role. Thankfully, at the start of my placement I was given some training into the mainframe and other related things – which included online training through the zXplore platform.

This platform provides a series of bite-sized lessons, aimed for complete beginners, to help you get a bit more clued up on everything mainframe. The training is split up into 3 sections: Fundamentals+Concepts, Advanced and Extended. As you can imagine, these start with the basics and go more in depth as you go on. It also doesn’t expect you to have much prior knowledge, which is helpful if you’re a beginner!

These lessons cover things such as:

  • How files are stored on z/OS
  • What JCL is and how to run a job
  • How to use the zowe platform on VS Code
  • Python basics
  • SSH
  • An intro to IBM assembly
  • ...and more!

But don’t worry, these lessons don’t just simply blurt out a bunch of information at you. Instead, they focus heavily on the practical aspect, allowing you to learn by carrying out the exercises provided in your own VS Code environment. This means:

  • You get hands-on experience with these concepts
  • You're (hopefully) less likely to forget them once you're done
  • And of course it's a lot more interesting than just reading an information from a screen the whole time!

Although you may get stuck at times and find some parts challenging, the zXplore page has a discussion board and forum where you can check to see if anyone else has had your problem, or ask for help yourself.

These lessons provided me with some beneficial knowledge before (or near the beginning) of starting my work on enhancing Macro 4’s InSync product – a data management and manipulation tool for z/OS. 

Also, complete enough of the lessons and you’ll get badges which you can put on your LinkedIn!

Overall, if you’re a beginner and looking to develop your mainframe skills, then zXplore is a great resource for you. It provides a series of short, bite-sized lessons that teach you some of the core concepts you need to know if you want to become a mainframer.