While at a lunch meeting a few months back, I brought up that most of the people who work for New Iron Solutions are in their late 40’s and older. Almost all of them had in excess of 20+ years of experience in their specific skill set, along with significant strengths in several related skills. “Your workforce is too old Dan,” I was told. I disagreed, “Our resources are very skilled and very highly trained.” While some prefer to look at this and say that is a weakness, and “what about the millennials?” We prefer to look at it as “wisdom and experience.”
I was also asked if I was concerned about finding adequate skillsets for our clients as “the Mainframe is dying and no one wants to work with it.” I replied, “Yes and No.” It all comes down to the specific skill set our client is requesting, and if the client is following best practices. If a client requests a skill set that I refer to as a “primary mainframe skill set,” as in the operating system (Z/OS), Customer Information Control System (CICS), database (DB2), etc., then we are not really concerned.
Where we do get a concerned is when a client has numerous “homegrown” applications and exits where the source code is no longer available. In these situations, we have to invest some time into understanding and documenting how each and every application and exit works before we can effectively manage the system. Sometimes they are quite simple, and other times they are very complex. Add in that some environments do not follow best practices, and you quickly realize that you must tread lightly before you make any changes in the system.
Fortunately, this is where “wisdom and experience” come in. All of our people have worked in a multitude of environments over the course of their careers. They have seen environments that follow best practices almost perfectly, and other environments where they are surprised that they are even running at all. They have seen homegrown applications whose purpose is unknown and undocumented user exits. Our people know what to do in a given situation and are unafraid to call another one of our resources with a question or to open a ticket with IBM if necessary.
By our estimates, we can comfortably keep the primary mainframe skill sets supported for the foreseeable future. With IBM investing in the training of young people with their Academic Initiative, the future of the mainframe is secure. In the meantime, we have “wisdom and experience,” and for that we are thankful. There is no substitute.
If you need a part or full-time Mainframe Staffing, call us at 1-844-388-IRON (4766) and find out how we can help!