Getting into Mainframes

By Elizabeth Bell  |  Posted 2009-04-08 Print this article Print

Why a young IT worker chose a career in big iron.

In my second year of college, mainframes entered my life when I participated in IBM’s “Master the Mainframe” contest as part of a course. Before that, I didn’t know what a mainframe was or that there were mainframes right in my own backyard. I enjoyed the contest, and, as a result, I developed an interest in the mainframe platform.

I described my experiences with the contest and my co-op employment work with the County of Simcoe at a Computer Studies Advisory Committee meeting hosted by my college. There, I was introduced to a IT manager of the BMO Financial Group.

After corresponding through e-mail and sharing my experiences and my desire to work with mainframes, I was offered a co-op position as an associate application analyst at BMO. I spent two four-month co-op work terms learning how to install software on the mainframe in both development and customer-facing production environments.

After sharing my success with IBM and thanking them for the great career opportunity, I was invited to attend the launch of IBM’s z10 main- frame in 2008. That event gave me an opportunity to meet other students who also are pursuing careers that are focused on mainframes.

Currently, I’m finishing college and am anxious to start my career with “big iron.” The going-green trend is spreading, and I’m curious to see how the mainframe will evolve to reduce the footprints left by data centers.

This is a pivotal time to be entering the world of mainframes. I believe that we’ve just scratched the surface of their potential. There is so much more to come, and I can’t wait to be there to see it first-hand.

Elizabeth Bell is a third-year computer programmer analyst student at Georgian College. When she graduates this summer, Bell will begin working in the data center at BMO Financial Group.

Elizabeth Bell is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.

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