I'm forty something, living in a mid-size city in Kentucky, making money I cannot hope to match again doing applications work in a Medical facility.

I feel useless.

I have 20 years background on the AS/400 - iSeries platform, about 15 years as an RPG 400 programmer. In spite of the enuendo the AS/400 is a fine database-integrated system with a dynamite set of built-in commands, and I feel it gives me a good background in the basic principles / problems of a multi-user system.

There are colleges around here that can update my skill set, but here's the question. Is this profession (programming / development) out-trending to Asia. I read the horror stories, and I suspect that the big companies are going to slaughter on-shore developers during the next recession (shockholder responsibility to make profit and all the normal excuses)

I don't get a view of whether this profession is a losing proposition around here, as there is zero significant IT work occuring in this region.


Well. AS400 is a niche, how many AS400 shops are around in your area ? Out sourced development is mostly .NET and Java...

Chin up. I have gone from Mainframes to Windows GUI to web... funny thing, web is a major headache to the "modal" single user windows application developers. We is asynchonous tansaction processing. New generations web is closer mainframe programming than you may expect.

I would not dwell on the fact that AS400 and RPG are fading technologies. I would celebrate that you have 20 years head start on the fresh graduates when it comes to building async transactional, multi-user systems.

Sure RPG is fading away, but all you need to do is pick up a new syntax, (.net C# or PHP) and your experience and knowlege will make you a hot commodity.

I run an outsource company based in Asia. Do I think that all the US work is going to go to Asia? Absolutely NOT. For one, the US dollar is so weak outsourcing is getting more expensive due to exchange rates. India is the spoiled kid on the block and has boosted prices to the breaking point. China, Vietnam are catching up, but face other problems such as language and quality as well as IP ownership issues. So don't let the gossip get you down.

Most CTO's I know are not idiots, they are not going to rush offshore without "eyes open". I would say, with a weak dollar, the high quality of US developers, the pressure is going to be on to repatriate work, rather than ship it off shore.