Mainframe literate IT professionals are becoming as rare as rocking horse crap courtesy of demographics, the economy and the fact that the mainframe came close to death some years back. So what, you might think, but business is starting to embrace the mainframe once more and the dramatic exodus of all the geeks skilled in these technologies is starting to show.
According to Tim Farrell, co-founder and CEO of solutions developer FutureSoft, experienced IT professionals with a background in evolutionary mainframe technology are "being persuaded to retire" while at the same time some "14 percent of UK IT graduates, increasingly being trained with mainframes in mind, can’t get jobs". All of which means that businesses are "struggling to adapt their technology to the resources at their disposal" says Farrell.
Farrell is in a good position to comment, considering his company produces mainframe terminal emulation software which has seen a 175 percent rise in sales during the last year when the UK software market as a whole has shrunk by 11 percent during the same period. he argues that we are also now seeing many of those who were pioneers of business IT, managing mainframes in the seventies and eighties, now leaving the profession. "We can’t afford to waste mainframe expertise just when we’re seeing a staggering increase in the uptake and development of mainframe technology" Farrell says.
It's something of a lose-lose situation it would appear, as economic pressure is forcing many businesses to cut the work force while at the same time there is a resurgence of interest in mainframe technology just as the very people who know about this stuff have either been retired or in the case of new graduates are too expensive to hire.