As one might expect, advertising agencies, while continuing to use traditional advertising media, such as print, radio and television, have embraced the Internet as a new and vocal marketing outlet. And part of that acceptance of the Web means having advertising-communications media developed with the aid of Web-based technologies. With that in mind, AdWare has begun to develop applications using Web-based languages such as Java and extensible markup language (XML).
Making the transition, however, hasn't been easy for AdWare. Accustomed to programming in RPG, it has had to learn to ride the technology bicycle all over again. "Java architecture is a lot different than what we're used to," Trasatti says, "but that's the way everythings going. If you're going to compete, you need to have a Web presence."
Realizing it had to keep up with the times in order to keep its customers, AdWare began investing in new-technology training. Much of this is done with the aid of The 400 School, which has come to the AdWare training facility to orient some of AdWares programmers to Java programming.
"What we're trying to do is reinvent our applications," Trasatti explains. "I say that because our current RPG code didn't go bad just because of the Web. We want to use what we currently have and give it a Web presence with Java. It's working out nicely."
As in the cases of Cintas and Omnium, AdWare uses a variety of educational resources. Its XML education, for example, came from a small company also based in Louisville. The company also relies on its own internal expertise, with more experienced programmers sharing their knowledge with relative newcomers.
Survival of the Fittest
Some might wonder if giving programmers this type of advanced programming knowledge might encourage them to walk out the door to get a higher-paying job. None of the companies mentioned here, however, has seen anyone deserting ship as a direct result of company-paid education. In fact, while Brush, Messmore, Leake and Trasatti all admit that offering this type of training makes programmers more marketable, they see it more as a method of retaining employees.