Your Path to a Career on the Mainframe

CA Technologies Offers Scholarships to its Mainframe Academy.

By Manny Veiga

Is the mainframe skills gap a problem or an opportunity? In an industry ripe with potential but searching for employees, one training program helps aspiring IT professionals gain the skills needed for a fruitful career on the mainframe. 

Through the Mainframe Academy, CA Technologies accelerated, vendor-agonistic training program, the company seeks to develop the next generation of mainframe professionals. During SHARE Atlanta, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 5, the company will award three scholarships toward Mainframe Academy tuition fees. Applications will be accepted until July 22 – you can apply using this link.

The Mainframe Academy grew from businesses’ need for skilled professionals who know how to support existing and future mainframe environments, explains Ashok Reddy, general manager, Mainframe at CA Technologies.

“The world's largest companies don't have enough people to maintain existing mainframes and build next generation systems. Our goal is to remove barriers to our customers’ success. The skills gap is one big barrier,” said Reddy. 

The academy ultimately benefits multiple groups. The first is potential employers who gain a stronger pool of talent from which to hire future mainframe professionals. Reddy says that the program covers not only core mainframe principles and languages, but also emerging applications. It’s valuable too for skilled professionals who know how to drive bigger business benefits from mainframe innovation.

“Mainframes are obviously mission critical. Some companies haven’t rebooted their systems in 20 years, because they need these machines running 24/7,” Reddy says. “But the mainframe is also an important part of the digital transformation. They’re the world’s fastest computers, and they’re crucial to a lot of today’s essential data processing operations.”

Skilled mainframers can help the world’s biggest companies manage the billions of transactions processed daily through the mainframe, and help these businesses support modern applications like mobile and cloud computing.

That also reveals a big benefit for Mainframe Academy students: career potential. As the mainframe emerges as a core component to the hybrid IT environments of the future, companies need skilled professionals who have mastered this complex platform. Those professionals will be able to harness the power of the mainframe to innovate in new and creative ways.

“A career in mainframe is intellectually challenging. You learn unique skills that help you improve in other technical areas as well,” Reddy said. “Students are often surprised to learn what you can do with a mainframe. You can program in modern languages like Java, support Docker containers and apply a lot of your existing programming knowledge to the platform.”

Companies also recognize that mainframe expertise is hard to find and are willing to pay more for skilled talent, Reddy adds. Looming retirement in the industry opens up opportunities for new hires.

“Every company that uses a mainframe will be facing personnel shortages because of retiring professionals. The silver lining for new hires is that this means there will be fewer layers to go through and a chance to rise through the ranks quickly,” Reddy says.

With more than 220 hours of online and in-person training, Mainframe Academy offers students an understanding of the mainframe’s core environments, utilities and languages. Students find the hands-on training especially valuable, Reddy says. The seven-week course is entirely vendor neutral and includes professional certification.

Past students have come from all walks of life: recent college graduates with computer science degrees, employed distributed programming professionals looking to make a career change and even returning military veterans.

The goal is for students to walk away with a thorough understanding of mainframe principles and its potential.

“This isn’t a cursory 24-hour training session. We’re focused on rigorous technical course work for people who want a long-term career in this field,” Reddy says.

Given the increasing role mainframes will play in mainstream IT applications, it’s easy to see how programs like Mainframe Academy can provide a stepping stone to bigger opportunities.

Interested in Mainframe Academy? Visit the CA Technologies site to learn more about the program and submit a scholarship application. Remember: The deadline is July 22, 2016. And be sure to register for SHARE Atlanta, July 31 to August 5, to take advantage of other mainframe education opportunities.


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