Young "Geeks": What's the Appeal?
Elizabeth Bell isn’t the only young person who is pursuing a career in mainframes (see "The Magic of Mainframes"). In fact, about 450 individuals (including Bell) are members of zNextGen, a community of new and emerging IT professionals who are involved in mainframe computing around the world.
Sponsored by IBM and SHARE, an IBM user group, zNextGen focuses on students who are starting their careers in enterprise technology, as well as IT pros who are adding mainframe systems to their existing job responsibilities. The goal of zNextGen, according to SHARE, “is to serve as the gateway for newcomers to leverage the experience of mainframe veterans and expedite their professional development in this crucial segment of the IT workforce.”
Kristine Neely, the 20-something zNextGen project manager who is a developer for Neon Enterprise Software, is an enthusiastic advocate of both zNextGen and mainframes. “Students who are members of zNextGen can partner with experienced mentors, and can attend conferences and roundtables at local colleges,” she says.
Neely sees a bright future for herself and other mainframe professionals. She encourages students and other young IT pros to take advantage of the educational and mentoring opportunities offered by zNextGen.