11 CICS Interview Questions (With Example Answers And Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A customer information control system (CICS) is a general-purpose online transaction processing system for building customer transaction application programs. Employers looking for CICS programmers, engineers, advisors and analysts often require candidates with knowledge and experience in this area. Reviewing sample questions and answers can help you prepare for interview questions when applying for various CICS positions. In this article, we discuss some CICS interview questions with example answers and share some useful tips to help you prepare for the CICS interview.

CICS Interview Questions With Example Answers

Here are some CICS interview questions with sample answers you can study when preparing for your interview:

1. Explain CICS.

Usually, hiring managers start an interview with this question. Though this question may appear easy, it helps the interviewer determine your knowledge about CICS. This question allows them to check your communication skills and how you explain a complex idea in simple terms. Start your response with the CICS full form, then give a description of the software's features.

Example: 'CICS is the acronym for customer information control system. It is a mixed-language application server that manages a large volume of worldwide transactions. CICS can support a wide range of programming languages, which makes it an incredible tool for management, security and transactions.'

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2. Which sector can benefit from the CICS?

This question allows the hiring manager to determine whether you have relevant CICS knowledge. While answering, explain how this application server can benefit a particular industry. You can also explain its various features to support your answer.

Example: 'I am aware that many industries employ CICS, but primarily the financial services sector benefits from it the most. Big businesses mostly work with sensitive information and private data and can securely process a large number of transactions with CICS. It also enables financial institutions to reduce costs and provide more effective operations besides improved cybersecurity.'

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3. What is the function of modified data tag (MDT), field set (Fset) and field reset (Frset)?

When applying for a CICS-related position, an interviewer may ask questions to test your technical knowledge. Reviewing the fundamental CICS terms before your interview can be beneficial. In your response, be sure to demonstrate that you understand the meaning of each term the hiring manager asks you to define.

Example: 'MDT is a bit in the attribute byte that indicates the field modification on screen. Fset modifies MDT to secure the transmission of a field. This takes place during an output operation. Lastly, Frset resets the MDT. The field transmission continues while awaiting the reset.'

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4. Tell me about the CICS programs you have used.

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your level of expertise. Compile a list of relevant CICS programs you have previously worked with to answer this question. Review the job description to identify any interviewer's preference for a particular program and mention them in your response, if applicable.

Example: 'I am familiar with file, task, terminal and storage management. These appear to be the most prevalent CICS programs.'

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5. Tell me the key difference between the EXEC CICS RECEIVE MAP command's SET and the INTO option

The hiring manager often asks this question to test your general understanding of an EXECUTE CICS command. In response to this question, you can simply mention the function that differentiates these two commands.

Example: 'While the SET option merely returns the address of the terminal input/output area, or TIOA, to the designated BLL cell or address of a linkage section, the INTO option moves the data in the TIOA into the designated reserved area.'

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6. What is the full form of EIB, and what do you know about it?

With this question, the hiring manager may want to assess your familiarity with technical terms. This may also allow them to determine your practical knowledge of various concepts. You can respond to this question by mentioning its full form and explaining its function within the context of CICS.

Example: 'EIB stands for executive interface block. An EIB connects to a task until its completion. As the task progresses through the program, the EIB remains the same throughout the entire procedure. When viewing your COBOL program in reading mode, we can get access to EIB fields.'

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7. Explain PPT in your own words.

The hiring manager may ask this question to test your technical knowledge and familiarity with advanced terms. It also allows the interviewer to gauge your comprehension level. While answering, define program processing table (PPT) and explain how you use it.

Example: 'PPT is the acronym for program processing table. It contains all the program names and associated maps. I use it to determine if an updated program version is available or if I may require downloading a fresh copy.'

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8. What is the key difference between TCT and RCT?

The hiring manager may ask this question to test if you can differentiate between two similar-sounding concepts. This question can also help the interviewer determine your attention to detail. You can simply mention the terms' full forms and key roles in your answer.

Example: 'TCT is the acronym for terminal control table, which is a compilation of all terminals. RCT, meanwhile, stands for resource control table and is a collection of DB2 plan names and transaction identifiers.'

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9. What is the difference between PCT and FCT?

Interviewers typically ask many questions about similar concepts. These questions allow the interviewer to determine your knowledge and proficiency in the field. While answering, start with the full form and mention the key role of the terms.

Example: 'PCT refers to the program control table, which contains a comprehensive list of transaction identifiers paired with their respective programs. FCT is the acronym for the file control table that contains a comprehensive list of all files the CICS uses, along with their status and record length.'

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10. Describe MRO.

The hiring manager may want to check your familiarity with basic concepts by asking descriptive questions. Sometimes the interviewer also asks such questions to determine your knowledge of the role. Consider reading your job description sincerely to prepare for such questions.

Example: 'MRO stands for multi-region operation. It is a system that enables sharing and communicating data and resources among CICS address spaces located on the same CPU.'

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11. Explain the deadlock.

With this question, the interviewer may want to test whether you are familiar with the concept. When interviewers ask to explain any term, consider describing the term briefly in simple and precise words.

Example: 'A deadlock occurs when one task awaits a resource that some other task holds, which in turn awaits resources the first task holds.'

Tips To Better Prepare For The Interview

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your CICS interview:

  • Review the job description. Review the job description before the interview and consider how to discuss your skills that match the job's roles and responsibilities. For instance, you can emphasise your ability to work simultaneously with multiple clients by emphasising your multitasking skills.

  • Research about the company. Research the company, its work culture, products and services, goals and mission prior to the interview. This information may help you improve your answers and demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the hiring manager.

  • Prepare yourself for the interview. Practice your answers to some common questions for the CICS interview. You may ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview to allow you to build confidence before the actual interview.

  • Understand the situation, task, action and outcome (STAR) method. Learning the STAR method can help you answer more effectively in the interview.

  • Follow up to the interview. You may email the hiring manager, thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in the position. If they do not respond within a week, consider sending another email to inquire about the status of your application.

  • Wear proper attire for the interview. It is important to wear proper and clean clothing to your interview. You may do some research on suitable attire for a CICS interview to learn more about the available options.

  • Prepare questions to ask your interviewer. The hiring manager might ask you if you have any questions about the role, business or hiring procedure at the end of the interview. Consider preparing some appropriate and thoughtful questions in advance that you can ask during your interview.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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