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(USA Today)   Detroit firm tries to rebuild local economy by training unemployed youth in highly in-demand mainframe software maintenance jobs. Student "had heard references to mainframes only from movies made in the 1980s"   (usatoday.com) divider line 65
    More: Obvious, Wayne State University, Detroit, VCR, 3d graphics, Wayne State, Josh Gorges, table reservation, Thyrus Gorges  
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2955 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Aug 2012 at 8:13 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-19 06:10:04 PM  
The only 80s movies that matter were Bloodsport and Road House, and I don't remember any mainframes in those.
 
2012-08-19 06:14:28 PM  
yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.
 
2012-08-19 06:22:31 PM  
There are still a surprising number of applications and systems out in the world. They work fine and their age simplicity is desirable in some circumstances, but it's getting increasingly difficult to find people trained in mainframe adminstration because it is such an older architecture and older admins are retiring.

It may not be a job with any appreciable future (eventually there will be no more mainframes I'm sure), but for now there's still a demand for it.
 
2012-08-19 07:24:22 PM  

Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.


Difficulty: You have to move to Detroit.
 
2012-08-19 07:25:31 PM  

Ambivalence: There are still a surprising number of applications and systems out in the world. They work fine and their age simplicity is desirable in some circumstances, but it's getting increasingly difficult to find people trained in mainframe adminstration because it is such an older architecture and older admins are retiring.

It may not be a job with any appreciable future (eventually there will be no more mainframes I'm sure), but for now there's still a demand for it.


Where? I've heard this for years, and also heard of many, many mainframe admins out of work. So, where is the magical source of all these jobs? I'm sure Weaver and several of my acquaintances would love to know.
 
2012-08-19 07:57:22 PM  

MacEnvy: Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.

Difficulty: You have to move to Detroit.


as much as I like reading about post-apocalyptic living I'm not sure i'd want to live in the wasteland.
 
Slu
2012-08-19 08:16:30 PM  
I work at a large bank. All of our mainframe developers are old guys. Sounds like a good idea to me to get some young people trained.
 
2012-08-19 08:27:52 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Where? I've heard this for years, and also heard of many, many mainframe admins out of work. So, where is the magical source of all these jobs? I'm sure Weaver and several of my acquaintances would love to know.


IBM, pretty much. They are THE name for mainframe. (My work employs multiple mainframe apps that are maintained by IBM.)
 
2012-08-19 08:28:19 PM  
There is no Mainframe anymore.

There is only Megaframe.
 
2012-08-19 08:29:55 PM  

Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.


Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Slu: I work at a large bank. All of our mainframe developers are old guys. Sounds like a good idea to me to get some young people trained.


Me too, but the area is still atrophying.

"It is not as sexy as developing new mobile apps," Paul acknowledged. "But if you want a secure and highly valued career, this is a great place to go."

Hard to dedicate yourself to a area of expertise with an uncertain future.
 
2012-08-19 08:31:56 PM  
i.ytimg.com

www.cosmicbaseball.com

COBOL is making a come back!
 
2012-08-19 08:34:42 PM  

Bondith: There is no Mainframe anymore.

There is only Megaframe.


When the jeff is the new movie coming out??
 
2012-08-19 08:39:54 PM  

JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).


Our mainframe guys make 100k+.

JasonOfOrillia: Hard to dedicate yourself to a area of expertise with an uncertain future.


And your basis for this is what again? Mainframes aren't going anywhere.

/my dad was a mainframe guy for 30+ years before retiring (twice) so I'm getting a kick
 
2012-08-19 08:44:33 PM  

gingerjet: JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Our mainframe guys make 100k+.


Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?
 
2012-08-19 08:45:30 PM  

johnnyboog: Bondith: There is no Mainframe anymore.

There is only Megaframe.

When the jeff is the new movie coming out??


Well, the guy who does Megabyte's voice is dead, so it may be a while.
 
2012-08-19 08:46:57 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Our mainframe guys make 100k+.


Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?


That's not an unusual salary for enterprise data center work in a metropolitan area. Mid-career, even.
 
2012-08-19 08:49:43 PM  

beantowndog: The only 80s movies that matter were Bloodsport and Road House, and I don't remember any mainframes in those.


*ahem* The Geek tab would like a word with you.

WarGames (1983)
 
2012-08-19 08:50:46 PM  

Weaver95: as much as I like reading about post-apocalyptic living I'm not sure i'd want to live in the wasteland.


A lot of it has to do where you live. A week doesn't go by that I don't get some recruiter who wants me to move to roughly near your area for a gig for 40 bucks an hour where anywhere else it would be 60 to 90 bucks an hour. There are a ton of tech workers in that area - Americans and sponsored workers. Sometimes you have to make a major change in your life to get the job and pay you want.

/but I suspect you live where you do for other reasons than work
//moving in two weeks to take a job out west
 
2012-08-19 08:51:22 PM  

MacEnvy: Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Our mainframe guys make 100k+.


Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

That's not an unusual salary for enterprise data center work in a metropolitan area. Mid-career, even.


Well, damn. It's probably too late for me to switch careers from Librarian to mainframe programmer. But I'd like the work, I bet.
 
2012-08-19 08:52:57 PM  

Bondith: johnnyboog: Bondith: There is no Mainframe anymore.

There is only Megaframe.

When the jeff is the new movie coming out??

Well, the guy who does Megabyte's voice is dead, so it may be a while.


No, they wanted new characters, and maybe even a new city. Honestly, I don't want to see anything that doesn't feature bob, or dot's uniboob.
 
2012-08-19 08:53:56 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?


Highly in demand technology positions are frequently 100k+. After a brief downturn after Y2K - people who know how to do mainframe work (capacity planning, development, etc) are in demand again.
 
2012-08-19 08:59:40 PM  

gingerjet: JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Our mainframe guys make 100k+.

JasonOfOrillia: Hard to dedicate yourself to a area of expertise with an uncertain future.

And your basis for this is what again? Mainframes aren't going anywhere.

/my dad was a mainframe guy for 30+ years before retiring (twice) so I'm getting a kick


My basis for this is that the college I went to more than 10 years ago was the last place in the area to teach COBOL and mainframe assembler and that all the folks who work in the area where I can see them are contractors or codgers. New folks can be brought up to speed as needed but it's not top of the pile in terms of careers.
 
2012-08-19 09:01:16 PM  
images3.wikia.nocookie.net

Inconsolable.
/or thrilled with joy
//never could tell
 
2012-08-19 09:02:10 PM  
One of our mainframes had some guys come in and use a tool to clone all the data on it. It now runs on a linux box in a virtual machine. Much faster. It is babysat and runs, but mostly as a reference system, all the new data goes into new software. Most just seems like the company is too cheap to pay to migrate the data.
 
2012-08-19 09:08:26 PM  

gingerjet: Benevolent Misanthrope: Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

Highly in demand technology positions are frequently 100k+. After a brief downturn after Y2K - people who know how to do mainframe work (capacity planning, development, etc) are in demand again.


AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.
 
2012-08-19 09:08:50 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: MacEnvy: Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: JasonOfOrillia: Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Our mainframe guys make 100k+.


Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

That's not an unusual salary for enterprise data center work in a metropolitan area. Mid-career, even.

Well, damn. It's probably too late for me to switch careers from Librarian to mainframe programmer. But I'd like the work, I bet.


Don't worry friend, we've been working hard for decades to make you obsolete anyway!

(Kidding, kidding, I know that's a sore spot.)
 
2012-08-19 09:13:39 PM  
In the early aughts, web design classes were filled with Cobol guys trying to keep ahead of outsourcing. It was hilarious watching them bring the seriousness and attention to detail from mainframe programming to building convoluted sites in all tables.
 
2012-08-19 09:19:13 PM  
We've converted tons of loads from stuff from Mainframe systems and handled a lot of data loads to make the information accessible via more standard BI tools.

There likely is a demand but part of a job is being excited about what you do and the possibilities that exist there. In terms of career path "take care of an ancient system because some guy died until we eventually scrap together the cash to replace it and leave you out in the cold" seems like a really hard sell.

Then again to a lot of people jumping into something that's 50k+ right out of school could be really appealing. Still I wonder how many true "computer people" they'll get instead of those who simply go because there's a chance of a job.
 
2012-08-19 09:21:03 PM  

Erder: they'll get instead of those who simply go because there's a chance of a job.


I thought those people learned SQL
 
2012-08-19 09:25:58 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: Benevolent Misanthrope: Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

Highly in demand technology positions are frequently 100k+. After a brief downturn after Y2K - people who know how to do mainframe work (capacity planning, development, etc) are in demand again.

AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.


Start teaching yourself C/C++/C#/Java see if you like that. Those are basically free, if it's something you enjoy as a hobby, then something more challenging as a career might not be as big an obsticle as you imagine.
 
2012-08-19 09:34:31 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: Benevolent Misanthrope: Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

Highly in demand technology positions are frequently 100k+. After a brief downturn after Y2K - people who know how to do mainframe work (capacity planning, development, etc) are in demand again.

AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.


Go learn about stuff like NLM JATS and TEI. Fully encoded text and the like is going to be a big issue in future libraries. You can be the librarian who develops the plan to digitize stuff and get paid just as well as the guy who hammers it out, if not more.
 
2012-08-19 09:35:42 PM  

Slu: I work at a large bank. All of our mainframe developers are old guys. Sounds like a good idea to me to get some young people trained.


Meh, I'd rather see who are 45+ who've been laid off and can't get jobs because they are supposedly "too old" to get hired developing mobile apps or whatever to get retrained.
 
2012-08-19 09:35:46 PM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: gingerjet: Benevolent Misanthrope: Jesus. What the deuce do I have to do to move into that career path?

Highly in demand technology positions are frequently 100k+. After a brief downturn after Y2K - people who know how to do mainframe work (capacity planning, development, etc) are in demand again.

AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.


Most mainframe people are older. It's an older technology that doesn't attract a lot of young talent. Being older isn't going to prevent you from doing it if it's something you can get GOOD at.
 
2012-08-19 09:35:47 PM  

Weaver95: MacEnvy: Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.

Difficulty: You have to move to Detroit.

as much as I like reading about post-apocalyptic living I'm not sure i'd want to live in the wasteland.


Detroit sucks and I wouldn't willingly live downriver if for no other reason than that they get major, major floods about every other year. Detroit AREA on the other hand is pretty nice. Lots of pretty lakes (not just the Great ones. There's a whole mess of lakes between ~15 Mile and Flint plus the whole north of the state), decent if moderately racist people, low cost of living (3 bed, 2 bath with nice schools is currently about $110K, and everything else is between a third and half of what I was paying in Boston this summer), the lowest taxes of any state I've been in (though I'm not certain what they're doing with them), decent traffic*, and lenient state cops (and I think the locals are banned from the freeway because I've never, ever seen them on the interstate) so you can do 85 on the freeway on the rural bits (or the Lodge. The Lodge scares me).

And since the cops aren't stupid, they keep downtown/midtown (Sports Stadiums/Wayne State aka Where White People Go) fairly safe. It's still Detroit (ruin porn), but you won't get shot or mugged going to see a Tigers game as long as you take the freeway into downtown.

*It does help once you realize that the whole thing is more or less a grid, and that you're better off doing (as a true example) 45 with some stoplights on 12 Mile where you can jump to 11/13 mile as needed than doing 5 MPH on I-696 during rush hour.
 
2012-08-19 09:41:33 PM  
I just started my first job out of college and I ended up as a business/tech analyst for mainframe databases. I had never seen a line of Cobol before. I'm doing the analysis and getting things set up to send overseas for them to do the Cobol programming.
 
2012-08-19 09:50:03 PM  

Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.


If you were in Phoenix, I know of at least two open positions :)
 
Slu
2012-08-19 09:51:32 PM  

JasonOfOrillia: Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.

Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Slu: I work at a large bank. All of our mainframe developers are old guys. Sounds like a good idea to me to get some young people trained.

Me too, but the area is still atrophying.

"It is not as sexy as developing new mobile apps," Paul acknowledged. "But if you want a secure and highly valued career, this is a great place to go."

Hard to dedicate yourself to a area of expertise with an uncertain future.


We outsource tons of development to India. Very little of it is mainframe stuff. They don't have people that know those systems either. I still think there is a need for young mainframe developers in the US. But is it a good career path for a recent grad? Don't know, but there is a need right now, for sure.
 
2012-08-19 10:14:57 PM  
I'm still waiting for my years of QBasic experience to pay off.
 
2012-08-19 10:44:55 PM  

MacEnvy: Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.

Difficulty: You have to move to Detroit.


It is asinine to move anywhere for an IT position in the 21st century. Our shiat systems staff is in farking Ba ngalore.
 
2012-08-19 11:18:56 PM  
I love Grace Hopper

as a retired COBOL programmer, i miss JCL and writing code
 
2012-08-19 11:27:59 PM  

Slu: We outsource tons of development to India. Very little of it is mainframe stuff. They don't have people that know those systems either. I still think there is a need for young mainframe developers in the US. But is it a good career path for a recent grad? Don't know, but there is a need right now, for sure.


You could see larger companies with mainframes doing a job share type thing - train someone up on mainframes to replace the codgers as needed, but also swap them out to a team doing up to date stuff on a 50/50 basis - that way you can get someone to commit to it knowing they aren't going to be trapped with only skills that could run out of any jobs at any time if the mainframe finally becomes redundant, and its not as if lots of developers don't have to keep up with multiple languages - the ASP.NET development we are doing includes maybe 6 (depending on your definitions) - Java script, Html, XML/XSL, CSS, .NET and SQL.
 
2012-08-19 11:36:35 PM  

Erder: Then again to a lot of people jumping into something that's 50k+ right out of school could be really appealing. Still I wonder how many true "computer people" they'll get instead of those who simply go because there's a chance of a job.


The latter is probably better suited to that work. If you love computers, mainframe work will make you hate them.
 
2012-08-19 11:53:52 PM  

SockMonkeyHolocaust: I thought those people learned SQL


Haha I think we have the same basic group in mind..

the same people that "learned HTML" with Dreamweaver in the late 90's.
then tried to learn Flash (not Actionscript) after that..
then took a class in SQL and eventually got a degree in "Information Somethingorother" at the nearest radio or internet popup advertised place featuring an associates degree.
...and now work as first line support and consistently ask me the same question about how to do a vlookup in Excel wondering why they don't have a programmer position.
 
2012-08-20 12:13:51 AM  

xria: Slu: We outsource tons of development to India. Very little of it is mainframe stuff. They don't have people that know those systems either. I still think there is a need for young mainframe developers in the US. But is it a good career path for a recent grad? Don't know, but there is a need right now, for sure.

You could see larger companies with mainframes doing a job share type thing - train someone up on mainframes to replace the codgers as needed, but also swap them out to a team doing up to date stuff on a 50/50 basis - that way you can get someone to commit to it knowing they aren't going to be trapped with only skills that could run out of any jobs at any time if the mainframe finally becomes redundant, and its not as if lots of developers don't have to keep up with multiple languages - the ASP.NET development we are doing includes maybe 6 (depending on your definitions) - Java script, Html, XML/XSL, CSS, .NET and SQL.


The evils of being a .net developer. I am surprised they haven't got C# on the list too, though you also have to throw in lots of jQuery, linq, and lambda equations on top of that.

Throw in having to know java, c++, c, python, perl and many other things it really starts adding up. Of course when you pick up so many languages, learning the syntax of a new language is easy as pie, especially when you have a strong understanding of the basics, OOP, designing classes, and good UIs and deciding which program works best for what you are currently doing.
 
2012-08-20 12:29:15 AM  

Slu: JasonOfOrillia: Weaver95: yeah. 10 years experience with OS/390, write my own JCL, familiar with CICS...and my job STILL got shipped overseas. you got a mainframe admin job? gimme a link and I"ll apply.

/not bitter.
//ok, a little bitter.

Well, that's just it. companies ship those jobs overseas but still want locals to do some of the jobs. (for India wages I would guess, but rice is more expensive here).

Slu: I work at a large bank. All of our mainframe developers are old guys. Sounds like a good idea to me to get some young people trained.

Me too, but the area is still atrophying.

"It is not as sexy as developing new mobile apps," Paul acknowledged. "But if you want a secure and highly valued career, this is a great place to go."

Hard to dedicate yourself to a area of expertise with an uncertain future.

We outsource tons of development to India. Very little of it is mainframe stuff. They don't have people that know those systems either. I still think there is a need for young mainframe developers in the US. But is it a good career path for a recent grad? Don't know, but there is a need right now, for sure.


Okay, so I actually run the application and services group for Technology at a big bank that uses IBM iSeries mainframes for their core banking system.

We don't actually have any mainframe developers because it's just not needed as we source all mainframe code changes from the vendor. Instead we focus our development effort on line of business applications and integration so that when the business decides they want a new channel or a new CRM, we spend our time developing the services to support that approach through the already established mainframe service API. (web services in this instance).

I suppose the approach differs in the fact that we view ourselves as a service integrator instead of a developer. Over all it's fairly sustainable, and luckily for my developers I suppose, fairly outsource proof because there isn't much of a tangible benefit of outsourcing labor when the weight of the activity is actually the design of the integration.

/2 cents.
 
2012-08-20 01:05:13 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.


I have a friend who did her education in library sciences, and she now does database management. What's a library but a way of categorizing and storing information to make it easy to retrieve? I think you could make the jump, especially if you were interested in working on library systems, because, let's face it here, libraries that store physical books and journals are quickly going the way of the buggy whip manufacturer as information is moved into electronic systems.
 
2012-08-20 01:25:11 AM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Benevolent Misanthrope: AS I said - I'd gladly change careers, and I'm sure I'd like the work. But after over 18 years as a Librarian, it may be a bit late to start over. Dammit.

I have a friend who did her education in library sciences, and she now does database management. What's a library but a way of categorizing and storing information to make it easy to retrieve? I think you could make the jump, especially if you were interested in working on library systems, because, let's face it here, libraries that store physical books and journals are quickly going the way of the buggy whip manufacturer as information is moved into electronic systems.


I agree, but I guess I just lack imagination. I'd love to get out of the library-specific and into the information organization and delivery field. (Hell - I've taught Information Organization at the graduate level.) But I lack the IT chops to make an immediate jump, and damned if I know how to do it even if I did have them.

Le sighhhhhh...
 
2012-08-20 01:33:42 AM  
SAP and ABAP kids. if you wanna make the big bucks.
 
2012-08-20 04:15:56 AM  

Mantour:
COBOL is making a come back!


It never went anywhere to begin with. COBOL code makes the banking system work, it's tried and tested, certified and a rats nest which'd make even the most harderned C programmer jam tooth picks in to his eyes and run screaming.

There is always a market for COBOL programmers, just not a lot of COBOL programmers.
 
2012-08-20 05:00:06 AM  

Vaneshi: There is always a market for COBOL programmers, just not a lot of COBOL programmers.


So honestly, I have some (okay a little) programming and IT experience. Would learning COBOL be a good career move if I wanted to work in programming in the states?
 
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