IBM Z for the Next Generation: What New Graduates Need to Know
“Why is IBM Z® important?”
It’s a phrase I hear often when I talk with fellow coders who ask what kind of developing I did at Rocket Software. My answer to this question is usually, “Well, they are still widely used in almost every essential service across the world.”.” I’m the first to admit that, until I started working, I had absolutely no idea that many banks, governments, and large companies rely on IBM Z every single day to make sure “business as usual” stays that way.
I grew up in California and graduated from the University of California Davis. I moved to Silicon Valley for my first job with IBM. The tech companies were looking for skills in areas like app development, web development, and AI, which was probably common knowledge for the students graduating around the time when I graduated. Skills in Db2 for z/OS or PL/I were certainly not in high demand. But there I was, at IBM’s Silicon Valley Lab in 2016, figuring out what exactly is this “Db2 for z/OS” and what did I sign up for.
What I uncovered, and still continue to uncover, is a world of complexity and legacy. After a few years of figuring out IBM Z (it really is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me), I heard of a few friends becoming bored with the work they were doing in app and web development after a year. This wasn’t the case with my work in IBM Z tooling. Since joining Rocket and developing on the Db2 Administration Tool for three and a half years, I moved to product management, where I have yet to encounter a dull moment. There is always something to learn and a new problem to solve. I have the opportunity to talk with our customers and learn their pain points to help improve their IBM Z experience through our tool. Everything we can develop and deliver to our customers truly makes a difference; it just may not be as noticeable as the latest phone app craze.
To the millennials not on IBM Z: if you are looking for a challenge, if you are looking to expand your knowledge, and if you are looking to make your mark in an industry that needs new experts, you’ve found it.
Check back soon for the second part in this series, where I’ll explore essential lessons for the next generation of IBM Z developers.