About the Author
Clayton Neff

Clayton Neff

My first exposure to personal computers was in college when a friend bought an Apple ][. We had great fun altering Adventure to make it more surreal. I later did some tinkering with C and Assembler, but once I was introduced to Object Orientation, I never looked back. I had a series of jobs using various OO languages (all of which are defunct now except C++) before I started working primarily in Java. When not traveling back in time as a Medieval recreationist, I enjoy traveling the world. There are few things sadder than an empty passport (one being not having one).

Web Development Business

Performing Technical Interviews For Consulting Clients

Clayton Neff Business, Consulting, Opinion, Soft Skills Leave a Comment

The situation will occasionally arise when we have gained enough respect and confidence from our clients that they will ask us to help them interview new technical people to join the team. As consultants, it’s important for us to be the person that our client needs us to be at the time, so we are definitely willing to help. But, needless to say, this situation must be handled with ‘kid gloves.’

Many managers are uncomfortable performing a technical interview in an area they do not feel competent in. Typically, that is when they will ask for your help in the interview process. As technical consultants, we should be able to provide useful feedback to them about the person’s apparent abilities. When it comes to the ‘soft skills,’ we want to ensure we’re on the same page with the client as to if we should limit the interactions to just the technical topics.

Whether you’re a consultant helping your client, or the client manager looking to fill your employee team, there are a number of topics that must be considered when searching for the right technical person. In this post, I will point out some useful topics to concentrate on while performing a technical interview– and why they are important questions to ask before hiring a new person to the team

Modernization Lessons: FTP & the Mainframe

Clayton Neff Consulting, Java, Problem Solving, Programming, Spring Batch, Technology Snapshot Leave a Comment

One of my most recent projects involved helping a client move many decades of code from a mainframe environment to a distributed Java web environment. The client had engaged another company to actually transform the mainframe code to Java, and our team was tasked with making it all actually work.

One of the major areas we had to deal with was the transition of all of the batch processes. Of course, Spring Batch came to our rescue for most of the work, and was an easy choice as we were already using Spring Boot to wrapper the converted applications.

The most challenging part of the entire project was that the client did not want to move everything at once in a Big Bang, but rather a few programs as a time. This meant that some programs would be running in the Java environment while others remained on the mainframe.

In this blog, I discuss three data challenges we encountered in the transition of an enterprise mainframe to Java web application with Spring Batch, how we overcame them, and tips to keep in mind going forward when in similar migration situations.