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Upbringing new mainframers 

20. 05. 2024

Future-proofing the Mainframe by empowering teams, fostering talent and sharing knowledge through initiatives.

Welcome to the final, fourth part in the series of blogs focused on future-proofing mainframes and empowering mainframe teams. We delved into the various service models available, such as managed services and outsourcing, evaluating each of unique sets of advantages and challenges. We’ve discussed the operational aspects of mainframes, including security, compliance, and disaster recovery and explored the challenges in recruiting new mainframe professionals due to the overshadowing allure of newer technologies and the steep learning curve associated with mainframe technology. 

Previously, we had analysed the challenges that mainframe customers are facing today. Probably biggest challenge is “skills gap”. The mainframe landscape has been shaped by a myriad of seasoned professionals, many of whom are now retired or are approaching retirement. This brings about a critical challenge. With such a significant number of mainframe experts retiring, there is a void in experience and expertise, with the next generation needing to quickly gain the necessary skills. We want to round this series up with some practical solutions on the upbringing of new mainframers.  

Mighty Mainframe - Education

An essential challenge 

The fact that mainframe technology is so backward compatible can make it difficult to hire mainframe developers. Necessity of comprehensive understanding and proficiency in both legacy and modern languages and systems implies a lengthy learning cycle for prospective mainframers. 

Mainframes being perceived as relics of the past leads to a scarcity of courses on this technology in academic curricula, and subsequently, a lack of interest among fresh graduates to pursue careers as mainframers. 

This scenario creates a precarious situation for companies that rely heavily on mainframes, compelling them to devise innovative strategies and outreach programs to tap into untapped talent pools, such as mid-career technologists, and to invest in internal training initiatives to cultivate mainframe expertise from within. 

Even though hiring mainframe developers is a challenge, it is also essential because the backward compatibility of mainframe technology is also one of its core strengths.  

This compatibility is pivotal for large users who prefer mainframes, as it ensures that newer versions of the software can run older versions, maintaining a continuum in operational flow. Overall, the challenges of hiring mainframe developers are outweighed by the benefits of using mainframe technology. Mainframe systems are reliable, secure, and can process large volumes of transactions quickly and efficiently. 

CROZ’s Educational Initiatives in Mainframe Technology 

We have many years of experience in education and training of engineering experts. In our education centre, we have held 1000+ courses on over a hundred topics specifically designed to prepare IT experts for any challenge ahead.  

CROZ stands out in the field of mainframe technology education, focusing on cultivating proficient mainframe specialists. We conduct extensive training programs and bootcamps, meticulously structured to provide a balanced blend of theoretical insights and hands-on experience in mainframe technologies such as z/OS and DB2. 

The effectiveness of CROZ’s educational programs is evident from the positive feedback received from participants worldwide. Attendees from various sessions, including those from South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed appreciation for the comprehensive learning experiences provided by CROZ. They highlighted the structured content, clarity in concept explanation, the supportive learning environment, and the expertise of very responsive instructors, instrumental for ensuring a fruitful learning journey. 

These reflections validated the impact and quality of our educational programs in mainframe technology. CROZ remains committed to enhancing the skills and knowledge of aspiring mainframe specialists, playing a crucial role in sustaining and progressing mainframe technology in today’s evolving IT domain. We do that by covering a variety of learning modules, suitable to various needs.  

Specialized Training 

At our education centre, learn@CROZ, we offer specialized training tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients in the realm of mainframe technology. Our courses are meticulously designed to either be specific, focusing on individual needs such as installation, configuration, and utilization of “Z/OS Connect,” or comprehensive, encompassing a range of topics within a specialized curriculum. 

Cooperation with Educational Institutions 

CROZ actively engages in meaningful partnerships with esteemed universities across Croatia, Germany, and beyond, to develop and deliver mainframe educational content. Our goal is to create a rich learning environment, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise to cultivate a deeper understanding and proficiency in mainframe-related disciplines. By collaborating with educational institutions, we aim to enhance understanding and skills in this field, ensuring that mainframe technology continues to be a relevant and valued part of today’s technology ecosystem. 

Knowledge Transfer Workshops 

Our specialized workshops are designed to bridge the gap between theoretical understanding and practical application of various technologies and software tools. While specialized courses are crucial, they often emphasize the extensive capabilities of a technology, sometimes overlooking the practical aspects of its application. Recognizing this, CROZ conducts personalized workshops where our seasoned consultants lead participants through the best practices, sharing insights and experiences garnered from global projects. These workshops aim to facilitate a deeper understanding and practical knowledge, enabling participants to implement learned technologies effectively and efficiently. 

Mighty Mainframe Talent

Mainframe Summer Camps 

For organizations aiming to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers in the field of mainframes, we offer structured summer programs. CROZ is responsible for developing comprehensive learning materials, curating relevant courses, and facilitating hands-on training sessions. A pivotal component of these programs is the mentorship provided by our experienced professionals, who guide the students through the intricate landscape of mainframes, ensuring a smooth and enlightening introduction to this essential technology. 

Mainframe Bootcamp 

Our Mainframe Bootcamp is a meticulously designed program, tailored to meet the specific needs of individual or multiple clients, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience over several months. Here is how it works:  

Candidate Selection Process: CROZ employs a thorough selection methodology, incorporating interviews and evaluations, to identify individuals who are motivated and exhibit a high level of aptitude. This meticulous approach is crucial due to the extensive and resource-intensive nature of the program, ensuring the suitability and capability of each participant.

Educational Framework: We formulate diverse and inclusive curricula, covering multiple aspects of mainframe technology. Each curriculum integrates specialized courses with practical training, providing a hybrid learning model that merges conventional classroom learning with online materials for independent study. 

Practical Application: Participants are provided with practical exercises to apply and refine the knowledge gained during the courses, fostering a deeper understanding and proficiency. 

Ongoing Mentorship: Upon completion of the bootcamp, participants, while dealing with real-world scenarios, receive consistent mentorship and advice from experienced CROZ mentors, assisting them in overcoming technical challenges and facilitating their career progression. 

Job Parachute: Addressing concerns regarding the longevity and relevance of mainframe technology, we provide a ‘Job Parachute’ to all participants. This assures sustained employment opportunities either within CROZ or with our partners, mitigating the risk of job loss and reinforcing confidence in the specialization. 

In conclusion, the enduring adaptability of mainframes underscores their indispensable role in modern IT infrastructures, continuing to meet the evolving needs of leading organizations. The focus on upbringing new generation of mainframers is pivotal, serving as a catalyst to draw the next generation of innovators to embrace and advance mainframe technologies. 


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