These CICS interview questions and answers are designed to help you familiarize yourself with the kind of questions you will most likely encounter during your CICS interview. They will ease your preparation and help you to ace your next interview.
1. What Is Cics?
CICS is the acronym for Customer Information Control System. CICS is a server designed by IBM to process countless transactions globally. This mixed language application server can host several programming languages. This ability makes it a great solution for monitoring, managing and securing transactions. In other words, CICS is a transactions manager that is built for high-volume and rapid online processing. Most of the processing that is facilitated by this server is screen-oriented or interactive.
2. Which Industry Benefits Most From The Services Of Cics?
While many industries use and benefit from CICS, my take on this is that this transaction server is most beneficial for the financial services industry. Companies in the financial industry work with huge quantities of confidential information. CICS helps them to handle this information securely and process large quantities of transactions. Because of its enhanced cybersecurity, CICS enables financial institutions to reduce operating costs as well as deliver quick and efficient services. Other than being used in ATM systems and bank-teller applications, CICS is also used in insurance applications, industrial production control systems, and other interactive applications.
3. What Is A Cics Task?
A CICS task refers to a one-time execution or a single instance of execution that is performed in a CICS transaction. A CICS task has its own private data regarding a specific user. The CICS dispatches tasks based on their readiness and priority. Once the execution process begins, it continues until a program takes back control to the CICS.
4. Tell Us What EIB Stands For?
EIB is an acronym for Executive Interface Block, a control block that CICS loads automatically for every program when it is compiling. EIB functions as an interface that facilitates communication between the CICS and the application programs. It stores information that is needed during program execution.
5. What Are Some Of The Cics Programs You Have Used?
Over the years I have worked with Customer Information Control Systems, I have had an opportunity to use storage control, task control, terminal control, and file control. So, I am experienced in using these CICS programs, which are the most common applications.
6. Explain What Frset, Fset, And Mdt Do In CICS
Fset sets Mdt while the work of the First is to reset the Mdt. The latter is the bit that is found within the attribute byte that provides a notification to the CICS when there is an on-screen field modification. So, Fset sets Mdt to ensure a field is transmitted on an output operation. Mdt continues to send the field until it is reset by the First.
7. What Can You Comment On RCT And TCT?
RCT means Resource Control Table while TCT means Terminal Control Table. TCT works by defining remote systems to CICS. TCT specifies every remotely located system using a DFHTCT definition. Thus, the main work of the TCT is to register all remote systems or terminals that are under the control of CICS. On the other hand, RCT is defined as a CICS or DB2 region and it comprises control characteristics that are gathered through the DSNCRCT macros, which is a database table. Within a CICS, all the DB2 plans should be registered in RCT.
8. What Is Ppt And What Is It Used For?
A PPT means Program Processing Table. This table contains a list of program names as well as Mapset names. So, every CICS program has to be registered in the PPT. The program control program (PCP), an application that improves an operating system, refers to the PPT for processing. If a program has not yet been registered in the program processing table, CICS does not recognize it.
9. What Is The Difference Between Tdq And Tsq?
Records in Transient Data Queue (TDQ) are read just once while those in Temporary Storage Queue (TSQ) can be read multiple times. Records in TDQ are only read sequentially while those in TSQ can be read randomly. One can update an item that is existing in a TSQ. However, it is not possible to update a record or item in a TDQ. Names in TDQ ought to be defined first in Destination Control Table (DCT). But in TSQ, names are defined dynamically in application programs. While batch applications can use TDQ, it is not possible to access TSQ in batch. TDQ can start a CICS transaction automatically but TSQ cannot do that.
10. Explain The Difference Between Fct And Pct.
FCT stands for File Control Table, which contains a list of all files that the Customer Information Control System has used. FCT stores these files along with their record length and status. On the other hand, PCT means Program Control Table and it mainly comprises the list of transaction identifiers, which are usually paired according to corresponding programs.
11. If A Cics Command Has A Nohandle Option, What Happens?
No action is taken when this command is being executed. If an abnormal situation occurs, it is usually overlooked even when the existence of an EXEC CICS HANDLE condition is detected. In other words, the NO HANDLE Option is used together with this or any other command to indicate that no action should be taken regarding any condition that may result from the execution of the command.
12. What Is Mdt And What Is It Made Of?
MDT is used to refer to Modified Data Tag. MDT works as a bit of an attribute byte whenever a field modification needs to be done on the screen. Thus, the Modified Data Tag is used during an input operation. It preserves a single bit of attribute character. An MDT contains two value types, that is, 0 and 1. If the value is 1, then the MDT is on, meaning that the field has been modified. In this case, field data is transmitted to the host computer. But if the value is 0, it remains off, meaning that the field is not yet modified.
13. What Primary Roles Does A Customer Information Control System Perform?
A Customer Information Control System primarily executes transactions. It also manages related applications. In particular, it provides a communication medium through involved communication terminals. It also helps to send and receive formatted data. It also facilitates different programs to access the database. These roles help to perform quick and efficient transactions. A lot of manual work is eliminated and this not only enhances services but also helps companies to cut their operating costs.
14. How Is A Transaction Initiated In A Cics?
The starting of a CICS transaction is mainly facilitated by several control programs and tables. This process follows these steps.
- A transaction ID is fed into a terminal resource.
- The terminal control table and terminal control program recognize the incoming data.
- The storage control program secures the storage for the Terminal Input-Output Area (TIOA).
- The task control program prepares control data, and through the program control table, it attempts to identify the application program related to the transaction ID.
- If the program processing table does not indicate the resident address of the program, then, the task control program passes control to the program control program. This program fetches and places the associated application program into the main storage.
- Then, the application program assumes control from the task control program
- Lastly, the application program begins processing
15. What Is The Meaning Of Commarea?
COMMAREA refers to a temporary storage area in the memory of the mainframe. A CICS provides this memory area to every task. COMMAREA acts as a passing medium for data of different programs that are being executed on a CICS. In other words, this storage area names a data storage or communication area that is used to pass transaction or program data. COMMAREA can be accessed by different programs associated with the CICS. It is recommendable to pass data of not more than 24K in length through this memory area.
16. What Is Meant By Cemt?
CEMT is another acronym in CICS that means Master Terminal Transaction. This is an ID that is assigned to a transaction. It is mainly used to inquire as well as update the status of different environments in CICS. CEMT loads new programs or new copies of programs into the CICS whenever a mapset or program changes. The CEMT command helps to manage programs, files, tasks, and transactions.
17. Explain The Use Of Dct In Cics
DCT or Destination Control Table holds entries for Intra partition and extra partition transient data queues. Extra partition queues offer access to the sequential files that reside outside the CICS region. On the contrary, Intra partition queues facilitate access to sequential files that are inside the CICS region. The latter files are used together with the automatic transaction initiation (ATI) feature to start transactions on another terminal.
18. State Common Tables Associated With CICS?
CICS works with several tables including command list table, data conversion table, file control table, monitoring control table, program list table, recoverable service table, and system initialization table. Other are system recovery table, temporary storage table, terminal control table, terminal list table, and transaction list table.
19. What Role Does The Terminal List Table Play In Cics?
The Terminal List Table mainly contains a set of related terminals. The table allows the logical grouping of the operator or terminal identifications, or both. The supervisory terminal operation requires the terminal list table to limit as well as define an effective range of operation. This table is also used by the master terminal operation to implement a function to a determined number of terminals. In addition, this table is used singly or together with other tables to offer predetermined message switching destinations.
20. Highlight The Difference Between START And XCTL In CICS
START is an interval control command that is used when starting a new task in CICS. In particular, it can start a transaction in the background or from an application program. On the other hand, XCTL is a CICS command that is used when one wants to transfer control from one program to another. Once control is moved, the previous program is released. In case the program that is handed over control by XCTL is not in the main storage, the system loads it immediately.
21. State One Way You Can Terminate A Program In Cics
To end a transaction in CICS, begin by using the OMEGAMON system monitoring tool to identify the program I want to terminate. Then, I would use the CEMT command to terminate the program. In case this does not work, I would opt for the KILL option to quickly remove the program from the CICS region. The termination of a task or program is often used when a transaction has gotten stuck or goes into the infinite loop.
22. Does Cics Use Dynamic Calls?
Yes. It is possible to use dynamic calls in customer information control systems. The procedure for doing this is to define the calling routine in the program processing table. Also, the calling program must use the call identifier feature.
23. What Is Bms And What Is It Used For?
BMS stands for Basic Mapping Support, an application programming interface that exists between terminal devices and CICS programs. BMS contains formatted screens that are used to create screen designs using the right attributes and proper positions. BMS plays several functions. It works as an interface between CICS programs and the terminal. It helps to make application hardware independent. In addition, it helps to keep the format and design of the screens independent of the logic of an application.
24. How Is The Dsect Parameter Used In Bms?
The DSECT Parameter is used to create a symbolic map. The TYPE=DSECT assembly in BMS is used to generate an array of data structures that are known as the symbolic map set. Symbolic map sets are utilized during the compile or assembly time. These maps are usually copied into a program. Once this is done, they allow the user to refer fields in a map by name. Then, the user can pass the variable data using the form that the physical map set dictates.
25. How Would You Read A Vsam File In A Cics Program?
I can read a VSAM file in a CICS program pretty easily using the File Control commands. There are several file control commands available for this operation. These are sequential, random, forward, and backward commands.
26. How Does Message Routing Work In Bms?
Message routing in BMS allows users to send messages to terminals, except your task’s principal facility. Routing does not provide tasks with direct control of terminals. Instead, it schedules tasks for every destination to deliver related messages. Message switching is very useful in message switching. Terminal users utilize this feature to forward messages to other terminal users and terminals as well.
27. Briefly Tell Us What A Cics Translator Does?
The CICS translator reads and interprets the COBOL code together with embedded CICS commands. It also checks the validity of the customer information control system command syntax. The translator proceeds to convert the system commands to corresponding CALL and MOVE statements. It accomplishes this by inserting related CALL and MOVE statements and commenting out CICS statements to obtain desired functions.
28. Define Three Storage Areas Provided By Cics
There are up to five storage areas that are provided by CICS. Three of these are:
- Common Work Area
The common work area is one of the storage areas provided by CICS. This area is accessed by all the transactions being executed in the CICS region. All the system transactions that choose to use this area must agree on the format through which they will use this area. The entire CICS region has only one common work area.
- Transaction Work Area
This is another CICS storage whose role is to pass information between application programs, which are executed in a single transaction. This area is only present while a transaction is being executed. The program control table defines the size of the transaction work area.
- Temporary Storage Queue
The temporary storage queue is provided by the Temporary storage control program. It is a list of records, which can be read, created as well as deleted by various programs or tasks in one CICS region. Within a temporary storage queue, a record remains accessible till the queue is deleted. Records in this storage area can be read either directly or sequentially. Temporary storage queues can be written in the main or auxiliary storage areas of the system.
29. What Is An Attribute Byte In Cics?
An attribute byte defines a specific transmission field or displays in CICS. It stores data related to a field’s physical properties. The attribute byte contains either “1” or “0” values.
30. What Makes You The Right Candidate For This Job?
I have relevant qualifications, skills, and experience. I have worked with customer information control systems for more than five years. I can manage these systems effectively and ensure their best performance. Besides, I work well both individually and as part of a team. Also, I am a hardworking, self-driven, and fast learner who is open to new ideas.
These CICS interview questions and answers will refresh your memory and help you get adequately prepared for your upcoming interview. Practice them to understand the best way to respond to each CICS question. Don’t forget to wear decently and arrive early for your interview.