The students were very attentive and appreciated hearing real-world examples of migrating to DevOps. As it turns out, they were also very interested in the mainframe.

Mainframe DevOps: Comp Sci Grads Get It

I think before I spoke with Dr. Chidella’s students, they thought the mainframe was this mythical black box:

  • What does it do?
  • Why is it valuable?
  • What was the OS?
  • What makes it so reliable?
  • How is it different than a super computer?
  • How do you interface to it?
  • What makes it so fast?

But these comp sci students were not at all turned off by the mainframe, as many would assume—they were very intrigued by it. They had no bigotry toward the mainframe; they wanted to understand how the biggest organizations use mainframes to solve their biggest problems, the types of problems people entering the IT workforce want to work on.

Certainly, the students in Dr. Chidella’s class want to work on big things, bring efficiencies to large organizations, remove constraints to development and use their training in DevOps to make a difference—they told me so!

So, the next time you hear someone say people entering the workforce don’t want to work with mainframes, think again. It’s probably that they just haven’t had exposure to the platform.

Perhaps colleges and universities should think about creating some curriculum to expose students to mainframes. Perhaps businesses need to step up their recruiting efforts.

Either way, mainframes are not going away—they are an integral part of large-business computing and will be for a long time to come, and we need new talent to step up to the challenge. From what I experienced in Dr. Chidella’s classroom, there is plenty of interest in doing just that.

What is your mainframe organization doing to grab the attention of talented comp sci grads? Becoming a more vocal advocate for the mainframe and starting down a path that would enable your team to leverage the DevOps skills and knowledge of younger programmers would be valuable steps in building your next-gen workforce. Join the conversation on LinkedIn to share your thoughts with us.

For some powerful advice from millennials on why they love the mainframe, why they think mainframe development is a viable career and how your mainframe team can attract others like them, watch our two-minute video here.

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