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This is the second installment of our five-part series on efforts to inspire, educate, and train millennials towards gainful employment in mainframe positions, such as systems programming and application development.
Are millennials actually receiving training in mainframe skills, finding mainframe jobs, and receiving adequate mentorship and training by experienced staff? Are Millennial Mainframers merely a useful myth for dispelling concerns of a mainframe skills shortage when getting customers to upgrade their systems and software? Do Millennial Mainframers actually exist in the flesh in any real numbers or are they the Unicorn or Loch Ness monster of the IT World… much talked about, but little seen in the wild? In the Socratic tradition, this series of questions is not so much posed to draw individual answers, but more generally to encourage fundamental insight into the state of mainframe education. How successful has Millennial Mainframer been in attracting millennials to view its mainframe-centric content? The net result of all of this is that Millennial Mainframer’s most active fans turn out to be white men over 35 living in the United States.  Engagement with Indian millennials is low, but the number of likes suggests cultural affinity with the Millennial Mainframer blog. While it’s difficult to analyze our 242 Twitter followers to the same degree as our Facebook fans, Twitter analytics shows that around 55% of our followers live in the United States.
Then again, my analysis may not be spot-on, and there may be a variety of other reasons for our failure to engage Millennial Mainframers.
Posted in IBM Academic Initiative.Tagged Education, IBM Academic Initiative, Master the Mainframe, social media. Very interesting data and observations, you’re spot on with the outsourcing community and the user base growing there.


I believe it would behoove IBM or one of its larger vendors and partners to have a system open to the public with very limited resource accounts.
And thus at the end of the day one is stuck trying to decide whether it is worth it to shell out $5k for the Marist program to gain access to a system and develop basic skills, with the reality that most employers won’t hire the individual due to lack of real world experience with mainframes.
Open access to information and resources has always won the day in information technology…a lesson I think IBM continues to misunderstand. I think I still stand-by my opinion above though, it would be nice to see IBM lead the charge.
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you – Princess Diana.
This dialectic is easily justified by the central role that new mainframe talent will play in ensuring mainframe vitality in the face of the impending mass retirements. McBride founded Millennial Mainframer as a platform for young IT professionals to express thought leadership around the mainframe space while networking and sharing lessons learned. For years I have been interested in learning mainframe skills, I’m a UNIX software developer and system administrator but I have experience with IBM midrange systems and still try to keep up my basic midrange skills. I can find such systems for IBM midrange and even OpenVMS, but nothing similar for z systems. What I cannot do is shell out USD $150 a month for an account as a learner or someone looking to scratch an interest and determine if I want to invest more in learning mainframe skills. As such, I believe mainframe will always be an extremely niche community for the foreseeable future.


I found them through a screen capture on a webpage that was linked in an article on this webpage. Sean is a former Army Officer and West Point graduate interested in history and technology.
I have searched and really looked into learning mainframe skills, but the reason I walk away each time is simple: access to a z system for practicing skills.
Certainly this would not be a profit center, but perhaps re-purposing an old mainframe system and providing access to those interested in learning would be worth the maintenance costs if it allowed millennials and anyone interested in learning about mainframe systems to get some basic skills and make a decision on whether to pursue a mainframe-related career. Young people have little to no opportunity to learn and be exposed to mainframes unless their school participates in IBM’s program. It certainly doesn’t help that most computer science and information technology educators view the mainframe as a dead-end as well. The sad fact of the matter is that most of these educators also had little to no opportunity to work with mainframe technologies.




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