Check out Roger Kay’s Forbes article “Kids See A Future In Mainframes.”  Much like our discussion of Marist College, Roger writes about Dave Dischiave’s efforts at Syracuse University to train up new Millennial Mainframers through the interdisciplinary Global Enterprise Technology program.  Dischiave says that GET enrollment “numbers are on the rise” indicating that “whatever we’re doing seems to resonate.”  The dramatic expansion of z/OS course offerings throughout the world seems to mirror his assessment.  It is a well known fact that companies are concerned about mainframe skill shortages as their graying workforce retires.  According to a recent independent CompuWare survey, 71% of CIOs are concerned about skill shortages in their mainframe shops.  While some have predicted that this skills shortage will lead to workloads shifting off the mainframe, this Millennial Mainframer believes that this skill shortage will be solved by close cooperation between universities, corporate sponsors, and the IBM Academic Initiative.

Hats off to Dave Dischiave and Syracuse University’s GET program!

It’s definitely worth noting the active involvement of Syracuse University in the 2011 Master the Mainframe competition.  They placed 3rd in the number of students to complete the challenging Part II.
Vincent Cavallaro, Syracuse University 
Greg Davidson, Syracuse University 
Benjamin Fink, Syracuse University 
Ross Indyke, Syracuse University 
Arun Prasath Jayachandiran, Syracuse University 
Haneesh Kotha, Syracuse University 
Hemandu Malhotra, Syracuse University 
Wendy Ng, Syracuse University 
Tori Wood , Syracuse University

Do you have any thoughts about this skill shortage or these university efforts to train Millennial Mainframers?  If so, we would love to hear you in the comments section.
Happy Mainframing!

By the very nature of being young professionals in a specialized and mature technical community, most millennial mainframers face the constant challenge of skill acquisition and credentialing. While we benefit from the wealth of experience of older mainframers, it often seems that we suffer from a lack of O’Reilly-style study materials or training programs. Even many of the community colleges throughout the country offer courses in Cisco networking or Java programming, but good luck finding coursework on z/OS or COBOL or Mainframe Assembler.

In light of this training shortage, it’s fantastic that IBM and Marist College have partnered to expand the Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) into the realm of mainframe education. For millennial mainframers in the workforce, Marist offers $2700 non-credit certificate programs composed of a sequence of three courses. Considering that each course is identical to Marist’s traditional three-credit hour offering, the cost of this training is approximately equal to the tuition at a local community college. In my humble opinion, this gives the Marist IDCP certificate programs one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) in mainframe education.  For millennial mainframers in need of additional college credit, Marist offers their mainframe courses at the rate of $575 per credit hour.  In exchange for this premium over the non-credit option, the for-credit option potentially allows you to transfer credits earned from Marist’s world-class mainframe courses back to your current degree program.

Here are several examples of non-credit certificate programs available:

NEW!! DB2 Application Programming Certificate (Special Introductory Pricing of $2000)

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • DB2 Fundamentals 
  • DB2 Application Programming 

Assembler Language Application Programming Certificate

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • Basic Assembler Language 
  • Advanced Assembler Language 

z/OS Associate Certificate

  • Introduction to z/OS and Major Subsystems 
  • z/OS Networking 
  • z/OS Security 

Registration for the Spring semester is currently underway. The deadline for enrollment is February 6, 2012, and classes begin on February 13th. Please visit: for more information, and contact Marist College at or 845-575-3000 x2601 if you have any questions.

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It is commonly understood in the mainframe community that many tech folks today do not understand the difference between a mainframe and a cluster of distributed servers.  This is highly ironic given the high volume of their personal data that is processed on a mainframe each and every day through ATM transactions, credit/debit card transactions, investment trades, etc.  Given some of the recent shifts of workloads to the mainframe, we may soon have to add social media to this list.  That’s right, dear Millennial Mainframers, some of your beloved tweets, pokes, pluses and such may soon be running on the mythical mainframe! ***insert gasp***

After visiting Lotusphere 2012, I’m here to tell you that the mainframe is becoming key to corporate social media strategies, particularly those centered around IBM’s social media suite running on z/OS, Linux on Z, and z/VM.  If you an unfamiliar with these products, I encourage you to visit IBM Software for the System Z Mainframe and scan the mainframe software offerings.  Most Social Business applications are either current available on the mainframe or finishing up development in the near future.

Given the recent grown in mainframe workloads into new areas such as social media, mainframes offer a huge opportunity for Millennials currently finishing school and entering the job market.  Companies once moving away from the mainframe in the mid to late 90’s are now moving back due to cost savings and efficiency. Check out this site for more Mainframe Facts.

Many of the folks that first administered the mainframe are beginning to retire and a need for mainframe trained employees exists today! Companies around the world utilize mainframes and even more are transitioning to the mainframe! 

Although mainframes historically catered to high transactional businesses such as banks, investment firms, and airlines, the modern mainframe has expanded to mid-size businesses to run virtual Linux servers and execute Java code.  Not only are these same businesses using the mainframe for their mission critical workloads but now they are running social business applications like  Lotus Domino/ Notes (Email)IBM Sametime (Enterprise Instant Messaging)IBM Connections (Enterprise Collaboration Suite).  In short, many of these corporations can not function without the power of the mainframe.

The mainframe has again become the workhorse of many businesses today!  These very businesses will require the skills of up and coming millennials to administer their mainframe environments into the future.  For more information on mainframe careers check out System Z Jobs.

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