By Manny Veiga
We’ve all heard it repeated ad nauseam: There’s a skills gap in mainframe, and the industry must find a way to fill the gap. Of course, where there’s a gap, there’s an opportunity. Specifically, the opportunity for young IT professionals looking to find a fulfilling career. But where are the mainframe jobs?
In the United States, those jobs can be found in the variety of companies that are looking to replace retiring mainframe talent. A 2015 survey conducted by Signet Research, commissioned by SHARE and IBM Systems Magazine, , found that 67 percent of IT professionals believe retirement is the top challenge contributing to the widening mainframe skills gap.
The gap only looks more daunting when businesses realize how much more they depend on the mainframe. Half of all respondents said they expect their mainframe workloads to increase over the next five years, and 47 percent said the biggest roadblock to a solution is finding qualified personnel with the appropriate skills to fill the position.
Positions are available all throughout the organization, from entry level (58 percent) to upper management (43 percent). This means young professionals entering the industry have plenty of chances for upward mobility and well-paying jobs.
Most of the time, these jobs are found in large enterprises that depend on the mainframe for high volumes of transactions, such as in the finance, retail and airline industries. These traditional industries have often held on to the same core mainframe staff the longest, and therefore stand to lose a lot in experience and technology familiarity once those individuals retire.
However, industries like government or software development also value mainframe expertise as they look to integrate legacy technologies with next-generation systems. Mobile applications, for example, will depend heavily on the high-processing power of today’s new mainframe solutions. Mainframes will also power today’s real-time business intelligence and big data capabilities, which further increases the pool of potential companies that will hire young mainframe talent.
Jobs aren’t only restricted to the enterprise. Third-party service providers are also hiring mainframe professionals in big numbers, with the goal to staff large groups to deliver mainframe outsourcing and managed services.
No matter the type of company or industry, the skills needed to fill mainframe jobs are consistent. Our survey found 80 percent of respondents need their new hires to have knowledge of z/OS, while DB2 was the second-most in-demand skill at 71 percent. Some older programming languages, including COBOL (64 percent), are also still hotly in demand, and acquiring those rarely found skills could differentiate candidates from the pack.
So, where can you find a mainframe job? Provided you have the right skillset, the options are plentiful.
SHARE is a mainframe organization that offers the knowledge and resources professionals need to begin or enhance a career in mainframe. Visit our Content Center to learn more or find out how to get involved as a SHARE volunteer.