The most popular consumer technologies are easy to use and so intuitive that even babies figure them out with ease. One company hopes that same strategy will help bring young professionals to the mainframe.
Compuware announced in early January that it's releasing a software suite geared toward millennials that makes the mainframe more instinctive.
"The next generation of developers, who may have many years of experience in open systems and distributed applications, really don't have an understanding of the [mainframe] tribal knowledge that is starting to go away as the baby boomers retire," Dennis O'Flynn, Compuware vice president of technology, told Computerworld. "They have a different development paradigm."
Compuware reports that nearly 90 percent of enterprises still use the mainframe in some way, which is what motivated it to develop the new products. But many companies are struggling to find and attract new talent with the depth of skills their predecessors possess, O'Flynn told the publication.
The new software, Topaz, includes a "visualizer" that lets users see how data relates to each other, while another feature makes it simpler to edit and copy mainframe data, Computerworld reported. The hope is that users will find the data easier to work with.
According to the article, "Topaz editing can span different data types, freeing developers from having to use multiple tools to manage different types of data, say data that resides in a database or data that exists in a mainframe sequential file. Topaz can even combine mainframe and non-mainframe data."
Subsequent releases will target applications development and mainframe management, according to Computerworld.
What do you think? Is a different interface the solution for attracting millennials to mainframe careers? Discuss these and other questions in SHARE's LinkedIn group, a spirited community for sharing information, seeking advice and debating the top mainframe-related issues of the day.