This is the Dawning of the Age of…Mainframers?

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IBM Z13

IBM’s new Z13 mainframe (via IBM.com)

A lot of people ask me what I think about mainframes.  While I’d love to pretend it’s because my insight has a reputation for excellence, the real reason is because of my age.  I’m 24 years old, and not many millennials are aware of the mainframe – and even fewer consider it a field with job prospects.  So it should come as no surprise that new graduates rarely consider jobs on the mainframe.

Plenty of organizations are trying to fix that, however.  IBM is hosting the Master the Mainframe finals at IBM Innovation Space in San Francisco this month, which includes 10 college students from around the world selected from a global pool of more than 100 entries.  We at Rocket just said goodbye to our 47 summer interns throughout the company – many of whom were working on mainframe-related projects. There are more millennials working with mainframes than you might think. That’s good news for organizations that depend on big iron and are facing a skills shortage as their mainframe professionals move on.

Programs like Master the Mainframe are great for all parties involved.  The students get invaluable experience and exposure to a world flush with opportunity.  Companies like Rocket can build relationships with many talented students who solve relevant challenges during the contest.  And the mainframe community spreads the message that the mainframe is thriving.

Working on the mainframe is a rewarding career path, and it’s great to see the community continue to grow as more people learn about these powerful machines.  Hopefully, a day will once again come when it’s no longer strange to see mainframers in their 20s without wondering what they think of the mainframe.

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Kyle Beausoleil is an engineer working on z/OS projects, predominantly dealing with storage solutions. He often visits Massachusetts colleges attempting to reach out to students who have never considered a career on the mainframe and helps interns with the transition from the classroom to the office.

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One Response to This is the Dawning of the Age of…Mainframers?

  1. alxstuart@gmail.com'
    AJFS February 9, 2017 at 4:13 am #

    As another Generation-z(/OS-er), I heartily agree Kyle. It’s also great to see some universities bringing the mainframe back to their course catalog; I believe UNT has a course in the states, and here in the UK Bedfordshire University also include mainframing. Rocket’s data virtualisation and IBM LinuxOne will also help bring in young professionals that might have otherwise felt uncertain about this alien system by letting them see something a little more familiar, and I look forward to attending future meetups of young mainframers to find that our numbers are growing!

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