I have 11 years' experience as an MVS (IBM mainframe) systems programmer and experience in storage management, SNA networks and systems programming. I was recently made redundant and the MVS market seems very quiet. Are my mainframe skills redundant and do I need to embrace the Web?
Cross-training is the key
I would encourage a departure from the mainframe market since there has been a movement away from hiring those skills in the past year, even among large companies that traditionally recruited in this area.
Not only is demand decreasing, but salaries for mainframe skills have remained stagnant compared to remuneration trends within the IT skills market in general.
Although there are still pockets of legacy systems running on mainframe technology, particularly in large financial institutions, jobs that employ these skills may be hard to find. These positions are likely to demand a large amount of flexibility on your part in terms of geographic location and company culture.
Your efforts are better placed in seeking out cross-training opportunities through a new employer or external courses through higher education and distance learning. You will obviously be more attractive to potential employers if you are already equipped with a battery of current skills.
I would suggest furthering your PC development skills, although a more secure route may be to specialise in the high-growth area of networking. These skills traditionally lead to more stable and steady employment opportunities.
The panel: Apex, MBS International, Best International Group, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, ITNTO, Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing
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