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You’ve just graduated and are looking for that important first job.  With some experience developing apps with friends and a comfort level with PCs and maybe UNIX, you enter a job market filled with others who have exactly the same qualifications as you do.  At the same time, you’re competing with generations of people who are more experienced in modern tech and they aren’t going anywhere.  It’s a crowded field.  But there is a way to compete successfully for tech job and build a solid career for yourself.

Check it out!  Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, leaving open a large number of mainframe jobs. Though some cling to full-time jobs, these represent potential mentors and teachers; they won’t be staying all that much longer.  

BABY BOOMER RETIREMENT RATE

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“But aren’t mainframes dead,” you might say.  This myth, which mainframers have heard repeatedly throughout their career, persists, despite the lack of evidence to support it.  MicroFocus did a survey in 2009, finding that 70% of business and transaction systems run COBOL, which amounts to 30 billion transactions a day.  Ninety percent of all financial transactions globally run on COBOL[2]. That’s a lot of important work that needs programming, systems programming and operational support.

In addition, mainframe workloads are growing.  There were attempts to migrate workloads off the mainframe, but now, the reliability, scalability and most important, the security of the platform is attracting a lot of attention.

You may have heard your parents’ generation telling you that it takes 20 years to become a mainframe expert, a prospect that seems dismal and daunting.  That may have been true when we had to carry tools to work on the back plane and manually moved tapes and disks around, but it isn’t now.  IBM has created better tools to make mainframe management accessible to a wider audience and they and other vendors, as well as select universities offer crash courses to help you get started on the right foot.

There’s another resource you may not have considered.  Those of us who have spent our careers on the mainframe don’t want to see the platform wither away from neglect.  We want to help the next generation get ready to carry the torch; you’ll find passionate senior team members excited to mentor you.  SHARE’s zNextGen group is also designed to support your ambition.  

As you search for that first job or the next job, check out the great opportunities in the mainframe world.  They’re only growing, as more of ‘us’ leave the job market and companies continue to grow their mainframe footprint.  Make a smart career move and prepare to have as much fun as we’ve had working on this great platform.