IBM Boosts System z Job Hunting

People looking for a mainframe job got a big boost from IBM this month with the introduction of a new System z job website called the System z Job Board. After registering for the site you get to review job postings or post one.

A quick glance at the first few pages of job posts show a range of mainframe jobs from entry-level to advanced. Companies listing System z job openings included: IBM, EMC, state of Colorado, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Colorado, Tata, Unum, Fidelity, Humana, GT Software, state of Minnesota, CVS, and more. Even Apple was there, looking, it appeared, to fill an education and marketing position.

The zEnterprise, what amounts to a hybrid cross-platform, cross-OS enterprise server (z/OS, z/VM, Linux on z, Power, AIX, Linux, x, and soon, Windows), promises to mix up the demand curve for mainframe people and, hopefully, open new opportunities. This comes alongside the purported wave of job vacancies expected from a surge of retirement among aging mainframe veterans. That this massive wave of retirements, seemingly in defiance of demographics, has yet to materialize is puzzling. DancingDinosaur suspects the big hits many 401k plans took in recent years dampened any rosy dreams of retirement and led many to delay plans.

Momentum for the System z mainframe also continues, IBM reports, mainly in emerging markets with shops in Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China, Africa, and India having selected IBM mainframe servers in the past year, but also in North America. Payment Solution Providers (PSP), Toronto, consolidated its entire IT infrastructure on the System z after the 11-year-old company determined that an HP and Oracle infrastructure lacked the security PSP required,

 The jobs website is an extension of IBM’s Academic Initiative for System z program, a global project by IBM to align with colleges, universities and businesses across the globe to develop mainframe and large enterprise skills among college students with an eye toward future employment with Fortune 500 companies worldwide. The Academic Initiative for System z program currently involves 814 colleges and universities across the globe.

The question of mainframe skills demand has been an ongoing debate among various LinkedIn mainframe groups for years. The tenor of the debate has turned generally more positive in recent months. You can follow it here. Or join LinkedIn for free here and subscribe to any or all of the various mainframe groups.

Finally, for job hunters a number of independent mainframe people have begun to compile a worldwide registry of mainframe shops as a Wiki. When DancingDinosaur last checked nearly 500 companies were listed. You can find the list here; you will need to register if you want to submit the names of any mainframe shops not currently listed. Granted the list is incomplete; there probably are several thousand active mainframe shops in the world. Even DancingDinosaur noticed several it had covered that weren’t listed. Still, it is a terrific start; as a Wiki you can bet it will evolve, especially if you contribute.

Among unemployed mainframers looking for work, the hardest hit judging from comments posted on LinkedIn are the 50-somethings. Their problems probably have more to do with the current job market in general and attitudes toward middle-aged workers than with anything specifically to do with the mainframe.

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