Job Scheduling

What Does Job Scheduling Mean?

Job scheduling is the process of allocating system resources to many different tasks by an operating system (OS). The system handles prioritized job queues that are awaiting CPU time and it should determine which job to be taken from which queue and the amount of time to be allocated for the job. This type of scheduling makes sure that all jobs are carried out fairly and on time.


Most OSs like Unix, Windows, etc., include standard job-scheduling abilities. A number of programs including database management systems (DBMS), backup, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business process management (BPM) feature specific job-scheduling capabilities as well.

Techopedia Explains Job Scheduling

Job scheduling is performed using job schedulers. Job schedulers are programs that enable scheduling and, at times, track computer “batch” jobs, or units of work like the operation of a payroll program. Job schedulers have the ability to start and control jobs automatically by running prepared job-control-language statements or by means of similar communication with a human operator. Generally, the present-day job schedulers include a graphical user interface (GUI) along with a single point of control.

Organizations wishing to automate unrelated IT workload could also use more sophisticated attributes from a job scheduler, for example:

  • Real-time scheduling in accordance with external, unforeseen events
  • Automated restart and recovery in case of failures
  • Notifying the operations personnel
  • Generating reports of incidents
  • Audit trails meant for regulation compliance purposes

In-house developers can write these advanced capabilities; however, these are usually offered by providers who are experts in systems-management software.

In scheduling, many different schemes are used to determine which specific job to run. Some parameters that may be considered are as follows:

  • Job priority
  • Availability of computing resource
  • License key if the job is utilizing a licensed software
  • Execution time assigned to the user
  • Number of parallel jobs permitted for a user
  • Projected execution time
  • Elapsed execution time
  • Presence of peripheral devices
  • Number of cases of prescribed events

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.