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Passing the Torch

Second-generation PowerBuilder developers are born

I personally witnessed something silently happening in the PowerBuilder community a couple of weeks ago that that was so uplifting and significant that I want to share it you.  Here's the story:

My friend and colleague, Paul VanBeverhoudt is an expert, seasoned PowerBuilder programmer.  I met Paul through Greg Fisher, another longtime member of the PowerBuilder community.  Paul and I worked together in Manhattan, two floors below ground level, on an intense, short duration refactoring and maintenance project.  Like me, Paul is a middle aged family oriented professional.  Paul's daughter Katherine recently graduated from Queen's College with a dual major in Computer Science and Management of Information Science.  Given the current state of the economy Katherine was finding it difficult to land a position in the IT industry.

Simultaneously, Paul was on a project, reengineering and migrating a PowerBuilder 7 Health Care application to version 11.5 and from ASE to ASA.  Paul was assisted by another person who for various reasons was unable to continue on the project.  In order to keep the project on schedule another developer was needed ASAP.  As we all know, quality PowerBuilder developers with current version skills can be tough to find.

Being a resourceful fellow, Paul proposed bringing his daughter onboard to work together with him.  Project management went with the decision.  Being eager, bright and glad to have a challenge, Katherine picked up PowerBuilder basics from Dad in short order.  Paul also convinced his management to bring me in to tutor and mentor Katherine for two days.  Now I've been teaching PowerBuilder live in the classroom and via the internet for 13 years and I have never had such an experience.  One on one, Katherine and I ripped through four days' worth of basic and advanced content in 16 hours.  She soaked it up like a sponge and kept asking for more.  I was impressed!  I bet given more budget we could have done ten days' worth of content in four!

This episode clearly showed me two things.  First, there's a new generation of developers joining the PowerBuilder camp.  Developers clearly believe in the PowerBuilder platform to the point that they're willing to bring their offspring into the fold.  Second, young eager to work Computer Science grads, with training in programming fundamentals, OO SQL and development methodolgy can rapidly pick up PowerBuilder under the tutelage of a skilled mentor.  They can then gradually begin shouldering the workload and relieving the development backlog.  So if anyone tells you it's hard to find PowerBuilder skills and they want to rewrite in C# or Java, tell ‘em this story.  I'll bet  you'll get their attention.

Long live PowerBuilder!

More Stories By Yakov Werde

Yakov Werde, a 25 year IT industry veteran, is a member of TeamSybase and the newly formed Sybase Customer Evangelist Team. Yakov is a recognized author, speaker and trainer who has been designing and delivering PowerBuilder, .NET, EaServer, Web App Development, and Java training for over 14 years to corporate, military and government developers. Prior to discovering his aptitude as an educator, Yakov worked as an architect, project manager and application coder in the trenches of application software development. Yakov holds a Masters in Education with a specialty in instructional design for online learning from Capella University and a BS in math and computer science from Florida International University. Yakov, managing partner of eLearnIT LLC (www.elearnitonline.com), authors and delivers workshops and web based eLearning tutorials to guide professional developers toward PowerBuilder Classic and .NET mastery. Follow Yakov on Twitter as @eLearnPB