Hiring guide for TP/IX Engineers

TP/IX Developer Hiring Guide

The TP/IX computer programming language, developed by IBM in the 1980s, was designed for use on their Series/1 minicomputers. It is a high-level language that combines elements of both procedural and object-oriented programming. The name TP/IX stands for "Transaction Processing / Information eXchange", reflecting its primary use in business applications. Despite its innovative features, TP/IX did not gain widespread adoption and was eventually superseded by more popular languages like C++ and Java. This information is sourced from IBM's historical archives and various scholarly articles on the evolution of computer languages.

Ask the right questions secure the right TP/IX talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General TP/IX app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in TP/IX application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you describe the role of a TP/IX developer?
A TP/IX developer is responsible for designing, coding, testing, and debugging applications written in TP/IX and related technologies. They also maintain and enhance existing applications, and troubleshoot issues as they arise.
What are some common tools or software you use in TP/IX development?
Common tools used in TP/IX development include text editors, compilers, debuggers, and version control systems. Specific software may include IBM's Transaction Processing Facility, and related tools.
Describe the difference between TP/IX and other transaction processing systems.
TP/IX, or Transaction Processing / Information eXchange, is a specific type of transaction processing system developed by IBM. It is designed to handle large volumes of transactions and is particularly well-suited for applications in the airline and banking industries. Other transaction processing systems may not have the same level of scalability or industry-specific features.
How would you handle a situation where a TP/IX application is not performing as expected?
I would first try to identify the problem by checking the application logs or using debugging tools. Then, I would make necessary changes to the code or configuration to fix the issue. If the problem persists, I would seek help from colleagues or online communities.
What are some challenges you might face when developing in TP/IX and how would you overcome them?
Some challenges might include dealing with legacy code, understanding complex business logic, and optimizing performance. To overcome these challenges, I would take time to understand the existing codebase, communicate with stakeholders to clarify requirements, and use profiling tools to identify performance bottlenecks.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of TP/IX development?
Has the candidate demonstrated problem-solving skills?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?
Does the candidate have relevant experience in similar roles?

Next 20 minutes

Specific TP/IX 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.

Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous transaction processing in TP/IX.
In synchronous transaction processing, the system waits for each transaction to complete before starting the next one. In asynchronous processing, multiple transactions can be processed at the same time, which can improve performance but also makes error handling more complex.
How would you ensure the security of a TP/IX application?
I would follow best practices for secure coding, such as validating input, using secure communication protocols, and regularly updating software to patch security vulnerabilities. I would also implement access controls to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data.
What are some ways to optimize the performance of a TP/IX application?
Performance can be optimized by using efficient algorithms, minimizing disk I/O, and properly indexing databases. It's also important to monitor the application and make adjustments as needed to handle changes in load.
Describe the difference between a TP/IX application and a traditional web application.
A TP/IX application is typically used for processing large volumes of transactions, such as airline reservations or bank transactions. A traditional web application, on the other hand, might be used for displaying information or collecting user input. The two types of applications have different requirements and challenges.
How would you test a TP/IX application?
I would use a combination of unit tests, integration tests, and system tests to ensure that the application works correctly. I would also use load testing to ensure that the application can handle the expected volume of transactions.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the TP/IX engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled TP/IX engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in TP/IX 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 TP/IX.

What does the following code do?
  "name": "John",
  "age": 30,
  "city": "New York"
This code snippet defines a JSON object with three name/value pairs. The names are 'name', 'age', and 'city' and their corresponding values are 'John', 30, and 'New York'.
What will be the output of the following code?
    {"firstName":"John", "lastName":"Doe"},
    {"firstName":"Anna", "lastName":"Smith"},
    {"firstName":"Peter", "lastName":"Jones"}
The output of this code will be a JSON object containing an array of employees. Each element in the array is an object representing an employee with properties 'firstName' and 'lastName'.
What does this code do?
  "colors": [
This code snippet creates a JSON object with a single property 'colors'. The value of 'colors' is an array of strings representing color names.
What is the purpose of the following code?
  "thread": {
    "id": 1,
    "name": "Thread-1",
    "priority": 10
This code snippet defines a JSON object representing a thread. The object has properties 'id', 'name', and 'priority', representing the thread's ID, name, and priority level respectively.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for TP/IX 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 TP/IX application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are some best practices for TP/IX development?
Best practices include following a consistent coding style, documenting code, using version control, and regularly testing the application. It's also important to communicate effectively with team members and stakeholders.
Describe the difference between TP/IX and other IBM transaction processing systems.
TP/IX is specifically designed for high-volume, high-speed transaction processing, and has features tailored for industries like airlines and banking. Other IBM transaction processing systems may be more general-purpose, or designed for different types of applications.
How would you handle a situation where a TP/IX application needs to be updated while it's still in use?
I would use techniques like blue-green deployment or canary releases to minimize disruption. These techniques allow you to gradually roll out changes and quickly roll back if problems occur.

TP/IX application related

Product Perfect's TP/IX development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your TP/IX engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in TP/IX projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.