I have 12 years of MicroFocus Cobol on DOS under my belt, always worked for one company. Never got my hands on any mainframe COBOL. Therefore I also lack "the usual" (CICS, DB2, ...). When it comes to Cobol coding itself, I am among the best. Have been in charge as sole programmer of a highly complex program consisting of 2 million lines of Cobol code and carried that application alone for 7 years. 350 medical doctors depended on my work. So I know that my Cobol ability is good enough.
Now I am looking for COBOL jobs in the Raleigh NC area, but every single one requires mainframe experience.
Therefore my questions:
How can I get my hands on a job that exposes me to the Cobol mainframe environment?
Are there courses I can take in the RTP area to get the qualification?
Books? Simulators (mainframe environment emulators running on Windows or Linux?)? Schools? Tutorials?
If you have excellent programming skills as suggested,then it just a matter of time when you become mainframe savvy.You will need to enroll in a good course which offers you a good insight into JCL,DB2,VSAM,CICS etc.I had undergone a 2 months rigorous course in Mainframes and on top of it had to learn COBOL too..
All the best on your new Mainframe Venture!!
Joined: 26 Apr 2004 Posts: 4650 Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
RichHope, from what I've seen in the past, usually when a company is seeking some specific expertise, usually they look for the skillsets rather than specific platform experience. I would think that your prior work experience would weigh a lot against your lack of mainframe exposure. I have been in many companies where programmers were moved from one system to the mainframe (i.e. VAX, Unisys, Tandem, etc.) and, with proper mentoring and in-house training, usually surpassed the existing mainframe programmers in a short amount of time.
That being said, I also realize from previous recruiting processes that it's in the best interest of the company to recruit someone who can "hit the ground running" and not require a lot of up-front training. Unfortunately, most ads for technical jobs seem to require a set of skills that, frankly, I'd find hard to believe that any one person could possibly possess. Usually, basic knowledge of the core concepts is more important.
I'd suggest getting some training in one of the popular Relational Databases (DB2, Oracle, or Adabas). Maybe you could find a position as a Command Center operator (probably going to be off-shift or weekends) to gain some exposure to both mainframes and large-scale enterprise computing practices. There are many Data Centers located in and around the RTP area, including the very large IBM Global Services Data Center, so hopefully you can find a position somewhere.
If I recall, I believe that IBM publishes, on their web site, a list of schools and Universities that they have partnered with to provide specific mainframe-oriented curriculum. The University of Illinois, Chicago, used to be one of the few schools offering mainframe courses. I think that the UNC system is now also offering courses.