Thread regarding IBM layoffs

For those Mainframe IBMers seeking new jobs

Simple tip: start to follow #aws on LinkedIn. You will soon find a ton of job offerings.

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Post ID: @OP+1bsEfh85

23 replies (most recent on top)

Pretty certain when in the office they're still adhering to the following

  • 6ft social distancing
  • masks (unless vaccinated)
  • 1 person in washroom at a time

Have fun!

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Post ID: @7gvz+1bsEfh85

At my facility they reduced the number of toilets because the old ones did not look as nice. So there are now (was before covid) fewer but nicer toilets. And now always a line outside. I know personally I am not being productive when I am in that line.

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Post ID: @5njn+1bsEfh85

"IBM CIC centers are in the same boat. Too many dudes. not enough toilets. "

Was true in the now defunct Dubuque GDF.

A definite plus for WFH... Some guy who doesn't wash in the men's room isn't handling the coffee filters...

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Post ID: @5eyu+1bsEfh85

Amazon’s potty problem: Too many dudes, not enough toilets,
workers complain to state officials

IBM CIC centers are in the same boat. Too many dudes. not enough toilets.

You've been warned

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Post ID: @5dqt+1bsEfh85

"AWS?
Their workers were just on the news complaining about slave conditions.
(and no, not their fulfillment center jobs) " ...

Do you have a source to support this hypothesis?

I know a little handful former IBMer with MF background now working AWS, and they are very happy, as far as I know.

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Post ID: @4dho+1bsEfh85

Trades like HVAC/Plumbing are in very high demand now. (will train)
Even cable TV installers are starting at $30 per hr in most markets.

AWS?
Their workers were just on the news complaining about slave conditions.
(and no, not their fulfillment center jobs)

Mainframe jobs are plentiful in public sector, think defined pensions (-:
That's much better than a whopping 2% 401k match.

kyndryl out bruh

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Post ID: @4dek+1bsEfh85

On not having spare time to upgrade skills, unfortunately it will be tough to thrive in this industry, unless one embraces change or one’s legacy job lasts till retirement (not likely).

This may be harsh, but is the reality in my view. Even the young hirers will probably need to upgrade skills in a few years; those who intentionally seek to upgrade skills will be relevant longer.

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Post ID: @4foa+1bsEfh85

Let me respond with the "Yah buts"... (Paul Harrel anyone, LOL!)

  1. Breaking the chicken-and-egg problem can involve studying up in your spare time and experimenting with new frameworks or technologies.
  • That's all well and good. I've got cloud web server instances out there... but from a recruiter's point of view... doesn't really count... not paid experience...
  1. Many mid-career and later folks have limited spare time, so this isn't easy, but a few hours a week ought to be possible and you can learn a lot in that time.
  • Have done this. But to be honest... AWS Cert materials are the most boring things I've ever seen. Like reading instructions for a 1040-W or something. Not coding and design as I know it. But rather deep dive into Amazon offerings.
  1. Think about how those new hires fresh out of school are mostly being judged based on similar hobby/spare time work and internships...how many hours did they truly have to get ahead of a skilled person with years of experience?
  • The recruiters and recruiting processes favor freshers... Even Sam Palmisano years ago in a public speech said something like, "We like to hire then young and train then for a lifetime at IBM"... that "lifetime at" part doesn't apply anymore... but seems to me it's easier as a fresh grad to get a start in new things... for mid career folks... you resume become a trap, somehow...
  1. e. Comp Sci degree at years of experience is given less opportunities than freshers... oddly enough. Only profession I've ever seen this in.

So... bottom line... still no cure here for the chicken-and-egg problem that most mid-career mainframers are suffering at the hands of. Mainly because of recruiter/hiring practices.

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Post ID: @3hgc+1bsEfh85

If you have kids or other responsibilities you cannot compete with someone who does not, and can set aside other distractions.

New hires tend to have fewer important life commitment distractions, and so can put in longer uninterrupted hours learning and doing. Of course many of these people self-sabotage by distracting themselves every 5 minutes with their phone.

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Post ID: @3kqp+1bsEfh85

Breaking the chicken-and-egg problem can involve studying up in your spare time and experimenting with new frameworks or technologies. Many mid-career and later folks have limited spare time, so this isn't easy, but a few hours a week ought to be possible and you can learn a lot in that time. Think about how those new hires fresh out of school are mostly being judged based on similar hobby/spare time work and internships...how many hours did they truly have to get ahead of a skilled person with years of experience?

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Post ID: @3qya+1bsEfh85

"I’m the 60 old. Can’t rely the mainframe job to train new skills; can’t rely on any job to train new skills. "

OK... so how do you propose one breaks the "chicken-and-egg" conundrum...

"Can't get the job without paying experience... can't get the paying experience without the job"...

Everyone that talks about "learning skills" or "you old farts to to get with the 'modern' stuff"... but they overlook this one critical reality...

If your current job doesn't provide a growth path... then you're screwed. Been this way... especially prominently since Contracting Companies got into the mix and essentially just try to scalp skills for "somewhere" else...

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Post ID: @3knj+1bsEfh85

I’m the 60 old. Can’t rely the mainframe job to train new skills; can’t rely on any job to train new skills.
In my case, I had an inside company connection and years of Java skills (straight from from PL/X and z assembler). A bunch of mid-level kids quit the startup at the same time, leaving a big ho-e. They took a chance on me, knowing I would stay a while and not be jumping for a better job anytime soon.

Retention is a huge issue when the job market is hot. People stay 1-2-3 years then it’s time to quit and upgrade pay and SKILLS. I’m not saying it’s easy, but that’s the environment.

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Post ID: @2wef+1bsEfh85

COBOL probably will be around for quite some time... but the draw to AWS and related are the salaries, that at times, seem to be double mainframe world. Many times with the 100% remote perk. And there just seem to be more openings, more choices.

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Post ID: @2tuw+1bsEfh85

Once you know a programming language you can learn another, and another, and more...
Nothing wrong with Cobol... there are actually tons of work in that space, and there will still be a ton of work in the next decades.

AWS will not grow for ever, there are actually probably close to reach their top.
These mainframe to AWS conversions are just a joke. There is absolutely no point to run your Cobol programs on AWS... because this is essentially what they are doing and it makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to really run your mainframe stuff on AWS, you need to convert the Cobol code to something else (Java, Python or the likes)... but good luck with the conversion and the risks involved.

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Post ID: @1hrg+1bsEfh85
  1. "An experienced programmer should be able to pick up a new language via an online tutorial then can be practiced by working in a project. The basic concepts (if/then/else, loops, etc) are the same, so just need to learn what’s unique about the new language."

Re : Very true, exactly one of my points.... follow along...

  1. "Today, most programmers are fluent in multiple languages and the expectation is that one can pick up a new ones on the job."

Re : Also very true... with one big problem... every requisition out there wants you to have already learned the new languages and tools... and the old mainframe jobs don't provide that opportunity... creating a "chicken and egg" problem...

Can't get the experience without the job... can't get the job without the experience.

Then they scream, "skills shortage"... enter H1B.

  1. "With Java, the jump to coding an API endpoint (an HTTP ‘specification’) that is ‘defined’ on Kubernetes/AWS.

The company hired for Java skills and expect the AWS/Kubernetes/Spring Boots skills to be learned on the job for everyone."

Re : This does not reflect any job posting I have ever seen. But the traditional mainframer still has the problem of (b) above...

The gatekeepers do not want folks that haven't "made the jump" and the attendent learning mistakes elsewhere...

Problem is... "where is elsewhere" supposed to be... the traditional mainframe shops have no interest in training folks to leave for better futures...

  1. "At a startup, I was the oldest hire(60), and the younger hires were new grads."

They interviewed for basics skills - coding test in any language, design, algorithm. Java & AWS were NOT listed as requirements but expected to be learned on the job.

Re : Strikes me as a rarity. Perhaps a startup will do that... but say AWS (i.e. Amazon itself)... heck even IBM won't do that...

I've been watching postings for decade or more... the situation you describe... I have never tripped over.

  1. We learned how to code endpoints by mimicking the code base and we were productive within weeks. There was a lot of reading on Kubernetes and Spring Boot.

The point is that it’s doable. The most important req is a passion to learn. Even the young kids have to pivot and learn the new stuff.

Re : I agree it's doable... getting past the recruiters, HR department and Hiring manager are the stumbling blocks... no one wants to give you credit for being able to thing in terms of algos, and fundamental computing terms and being able to map it to any language or toolset required...

The web is littered with folks that have hit this wall.

Most recently it confronted me for skillsets I actually used in a commercial product some years ago... but was told... "didn't have enough of those skills"... never mind that money is still being made by those products.

Most of us correctly see that there are barriers to entry (often disguised as certifications) everywhere you look.

Not completely without merit... no one would want a surgeon learning on themselves, right? LOL!

But still a problem none-the-less.

The industry is creating it's own shortage, by not having clearly defined on ramps.

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Post ID: @1ykj+1bsEfh85

An experienced programmer should be able to pick up a new language via an online tutorial then can be practiced by working in a project. The basic concepts (if/then/else, loops, etc) are the same, so just need to learn what’s unique about the new language.
Today, most programmers are fluent in multiple languages and the expectation is that one can pick up a new ones on the job.
With Java, the jump to coding an API endpoint (an HTTP ‘specification’) that is ‘defined’ on Kubernetes/AWS.
The company hired for Java skills and expect the AWS/Kubernetes/Spring Boots skills to be learned on the job for everyone.

At a startup, I was the oldest hire(60), and the younger hires were new grads.
They interviewed for basics skills - coding test in any language, design, algorithm. Java & AWS were NOT listed as requirements but expected to be learned on the job.
We learned how to code endpoints by mimicking the code base and we were productive within weeks. There was a lot of reading on Kubernetes and Spring Boot.
The point is that it’s doable. The most important req is a passion to learn. Even the young kids have to pivot and learn the new stuff.

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Post ID: @1nno+1bsEfh85

" think a COBOL programmer not being able or willing to jump to Jawa is perhaps not easy to deploy elsewhere. However, I think most programmers can handle this, and should also be naturally interested. "

You're missing the point.

The COBOL et. al. guys are more than will and absolutely can do Java... recruiters and employers however, want paying experience in the new skills... there's no on ramp.

Every posting out there is for "Senior XXXX" roles...

Everyone wants the learning to happen on some one else's dime...

Net result a lot of folks that would gladly go with the trends are locked out through no fault of their own.

Then the resentment builds as they see inexperienced recent grads get the jobs, with zero experience, but are simply, younger.

This seems to be the only industry where paying dues leads to "obsolescence" rather that increased value.

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Post ID: @1kfs+1bsEfh85

Currently, there are almost 6 million followers of AWS on LinkedIn. Contrast that with less than 200K followers of IBM Cloud. Writing is clearly on the wall. IBMers seeking new opportunities, but not wanting to develop their career probably should not bother as they will most likely not qualify.

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Post ID: @1ldz+1bsEfh85

I think a COBOL programmer not being able or willing to jump to Jawa is perhaps not easy to deploy elsewhere. However, I think most programmers can handle this, and should also be naturally interested.

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Post ID: @1wrg+1bsEfh85

Telling a mainframer they can just jump to AWS is akin to telling a COBOL programmer they can just jump to Java...

They can probably make the jump... if given some ramp up time in the role... but the recruiter is going to rule them out for not already having the skills.

AWS presents the same old "chicken and egg" problem to mainframers that every other platform change has.

For most, this won't be a solution, or at least not an easy one.

What I've seen of cert training materials... not easy to get. It literally means choking down the entire AWS product set and being able to answer questions about it, with little or no hands on with it.

I suppose there are some "memorization experts" that can do this, but the average mainframer in a typical mainframe role at IBM, is not really going to have had a chance to get their feet wet with AWS.

I've enrolled in their 12 month free tier and have a little web server going... but can't think of a single concise use case for anything other than the EC2 image of a linux box.

Not sure what kinds of byzantine computer messes are being built with this stuff. But then I didn't even get a straight answer about that out of one certified AWS architect I know... when I asked... "Hey, point me at a few typical AWS deployments on the web so I can see what a typical app looks like?"

Response was >>

Somehow I don't think AWS is going to save a boat load of us mainframers... unless AWS provides some kind of on ramp.

Best guess is they won't. Guessing they will construct on ramps from the colleges and bypass the experienced mainframe crowd entirely.

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Post ID: @1toh+1bsEfh85

Problem with many of the AWS Mainframe Migration jobs is... they have a requirement list most mainframers won't be able to meet. I've tagged a few that look unlikely to me with "[FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]"

There's no "entry job" that on-the-job leads to this sort of Senior role... And most mainframers I know aren't into the "cramming AWS course and regurgitating the cr-p for a cert" routine. Most are more hands on on orientation.

  1. G.

Basic Qualifications

10+ years of hands-on technical experience with mainframe, non-x86 legacy systems and with technologies such as COBOL, JCL, CICS, DB2 for z/OS, Assembler, PL/I, Java, Rexx, flat/sequential files, GDGs, and VSAM.

10+ years of experience designing architectures for secure enterprise systems.

10+ years of experience designing and deploying software and middleware solutions used in Forbes global 2000 enterprises companies.

5+ years of experience in a technical lead role migrating workloads from mainframe and non-x86 legacy systems to distributed x86 infrastructures on-premises or in the Cloud; [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

5+ years of experience integrating mainframe and non-x86 legacy systems with distributed Linux-based or Windows-based x86 servers. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Bachelor’s degree, or 10+ years of work or military experience.

Preferred Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics or a related field.

Active AWS Certifications [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Experience with tools and methodologies used to migrate mainframe workloads via hardware/middleware emulation, automated code conversion, and re-platforming. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Experience with analyzing on-premises mainframe applications and data stores to formulate plans for modernizing workloads that achieve customer’s desired business outcomes. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Current hands-on implementation experience.

Experience leading customers with mainframe and legacy modernization initiatives. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Experience with mainframe emulators, code and data conversion tools.

Experience with COBOL modernization and porting application code across platforms. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Experience with proprietary legacy data store migration to relational databases.

Experience with legacy systems data replication or messaging.

Ability to evaluate and plan migrations to a cloud platform. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

Knowledge of Cloud Computing, AWS services such as EC2, RDS, VPC, Containers, Microservices, and Serverless technology. [FEW MAINFRAMERS WORKING FOR IBM WILL HAVE THIS]

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Post ID: @lob+1bsEfh85

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