Hiring guide for Time Sharing Option (TSO) Engineers

Time Sharing Option (TSO) Developer Hiring Guide

Time Sharing Option (TSO) is a command-driven system that was developed by IBM for its mainframe operating systems, specifically OS/360 and successors. It is designed to allow multiple users to interact concurrently with the operating system on the same computer, each user having a separate terminal (Feldman & Brown, 1974). The advent of TSO marked a significant shift in computing paradigms during the mid-20th century. Prior to this innovation, batch processing was the dominant model where programs were run one after another without any interactive input from users during their execution (Pugh et al., 1991). With TSO's introduction as part of IBM's System/360 line in 1964, it became possible for several users to share resources simultaneously on large-scale computers. TSO provides an environment that allows direct communication between individual end-users and the computer system. This interaction occurs via terminals which act as interfaces between humans and computers. Users can s

Ask the right questions secure the right Time Sharing Option (TSO) talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General Time Sharing Option (TSO) app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in Time Sharing Option (TSO) application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What are the main components of TSO?
The main components of TSO are the command processor, the editor, and the utilities.
How would you use TSO to access a mainframe system?
To access a mainframe system using TSO, you would need to log in with a valid user ID and password. Once logged in, you can execute commands, run jobs, and access data sets.
What is the purpose of the ISPF in TSO?
ISPF (Interactive System Productivity Facility) is a software product for the z/OS operating system that provides an interactive, user-friendly interface for the TSO. It provides a set of utilities and services for developing, testing, and deploying z/OS applications.
Describe the difference between TSO and ISPF.
TSO is a command-driven interface used for interacting with z/OS. ISPF is a full-screen, panel-driven interface that runs on top of TSO, providing a more user-friendly way to access TSO functionality.
What are some common TSO commands and their functions?
Some common TSO commands include 'ALLOCATE' to allocate a new data set, 'DELETE' to delete an existing data set, 'EDIT' to edit a data set, and 'SUBMIT' to submit a job for execution.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of TSO?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?
Does the candidate have experience with similar systems or technologies?

Next 20 minutes

Specific Time Sharing Option (TSO) development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

How would you handle errors in TSO?
Errors in TSO can be handled by checking the return codes of commands and taking appropriate action based on the return code. Additionally, TSO provides error messages that can help in diagnosing and correcting the problem.
What is the role of JCL in TSO?
JCL (Job Control Language) is used in TSO to instruct the system on how to run a job or a step within a job. It specifies the resources needed, the program to be run, and the disposition of the output.
How would you use TSO to manage data sets?
TSO provides several commands for managing data sets, including 'ALLOCATE' to create a new data set, 'RENAME' to rename an existing data set, 'DELETE' to delete a data set, and 'LISTCAT' to list the attributes of a data set.
What is the purpose of the TSO/E environment?
TSO/E (Time Sharing Option/Extensions) is an enhanced version of TSO that provides additional functionality, such as extended command syntax, improved performance, and support for REXX, a high-level programming language.
Describe the difference between batch processing and time-sharing in TSO.
Batch processing involves executing a series of jobs without user interaction, while time-sharing allows multiple users to interact with the system at the same time, with the system dividing its resources among the users.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the Time Sharing Option (TSO) engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled Time Sharing Option (TSO) engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in Time Sharing Option (TSO) programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with Time Sharing Option (TSO).

What does this simple TSO command do?
LISTC ENT('/u/user1') ALL
This command lists all the catalog entries under the path '/u/user1'.
What will be the output of this TSO command?
This command lists all the members of the data set 'USER1.DATA'.
What does this TSO command do with an array of files?
This command allocates the data sets 'USER1.DATA.FILE1', 'USER1.DATA.FILE2', and 'USER1.DATA.FILE3' to the DD name 'DSNFILES' in shared mode.
What does this TSO command do in terms of concurrency?
This command enqueues the data set 'USER1.DATA', preventing other users from accessing it until it is dequeued.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for Time Sharing Option (TSO) Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle Time Sharing Option (TSO) application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

How would you use TSO to submit a batch job?
To submit a batch job in TSO, you would use the 'SUBMIT' command followed by the name of the job. The job would then be queued for execution by the system.
What are some techniques for optimizing performance in TSO?
Performance in TSO can be optimized by efficient use of system resources, minimizing I/O operations, using efficient algorithms in programs, and tuning system parameters.
How would you use TSO to debug a program?
To debug a program in TSO, you could use the 'TEST' command to execute the program in debug mode. This allows you to step through the program, examine variables, and set breakpoints.

Time Sharing Option (TSO) application related

Product Perfect's Time Sharing Option (TSO) development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your Time Sharing Option (TSO) engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in Time Sharing Option (TSO) projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.