CIOs Fear Looming Mainframe Skills Crunch

While much has been (inaccurately) written about the mainframe’s demise, the real crisis is around the prevalence of skilled developers who will understand how to work on it in the future, said Compuware’s Ian Clarke in a recent Q&A with TechRadar Pro. After all, someone needs to be able to maintain and update the millions of lines of application code that run on the mainframe.

The mainframe is being used more extensively and with greater diversity than ever before, Clarke said—in fact, 81 percent of CIOs said in a recent Compuware survey that it will continue to be a critical platform throughout the next 10 years.

But companies may soon find themselves struggling to find the right talent to fully exploit the mainframe’s potential.

“While experienced mainframe developers are familiar with these systems, newer developers can take up to two years to get up-to-speed,” Clarke told TechRadar Pro. “Many experienced mainframe workers are now approaching retirement age, exposing a huge hole in mainframe skills.”

As a result, 66 percent of CIOs worry that their business will suffer if they can’t find talent that knows how to work with legacy applications, he said.

Yet many companies have yet to do anything to address the potential skills gap.

“Those who do not prepare for the looming shortage will be set to suffer, as modern applications will continue to call upon the mainframe to complete transactions for years to come,” Clarke said.

The mainframe skills shortage is a complicated issue with many angles, which SHARE will explore further in future articles.

One of the ways CIOs can help address the problem is to take advantage of SHARE resources and events, such as the upcoming SHARE in Pittsburgh convention, which is scheduled to run Aug. 3-8 at the David A. Lawrence Convention Center.

SHARE in Pittsburgh will feature more than 500 technical content sessions with options geared toward everyone from early career developers to enterprise IT professionals with decades of experience. Attendees from across the spectrum will also have the chance to network with one another and gain valuable insights into building a lifelong career on the mainframe.

The full schedule of sessions is now available online.

Register for SHARE in Pittsburgh by June 20 to save $200.

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