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General question on salary and skills for a beginner.

 
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Unshriven

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Joined: 04 Jan 2010
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Location: Dallas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:38 am    Post subject: General question on salary and skills for a beginner.
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I'm in a mainframe apprenticeship program for a company looking to replace all the engineers who are going to retire soon. I've been often told that this is an "excellent opportunity" but the company has refused to get into specifics. I'm in the process of 9 months of classes followed by 8 months of one month rotations in various groups. After that, it will be another year before I'm even eligible for a raise. I'm worried that after spending $30K to move across country and going 3.5 years without any raises that I will get a raise that is substantially less than I'm hoping for.

That being said I have to plan to leave the company if it becomes an issue.
What I would like to know is what (generally speaking) are the best paying of the various mainframe groups...e.g. CICS, MVS, Netsoft, MQ etc....?
Currently, I have about 18 years experience in data centers, networking, Cisco. I'm making a bit less than 6 figures. I'm wondering if I do have to make a move, should I delve deeper into the mainframe arena by learning COBOL, SAS etc. or should I use my training as an augmentation of my skills and try to get a position as a data center manager?

I know this is a bit vague and I'm only looking for general opinions. From what I've read, there is a lot of experience here and I would think many people in senior management that would be able to give an opinion on the general state of the industry and what might be the best career path.

Any info would help and I thank all who might have something to offer.
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dick scherrer

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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:38 am    Post subject:
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Hello and welcome to the forum,

How long have you been with ypur current organization? How long do you need to be there to "retire"? If that time is close, suggest you look into what options are available.

When you mention 30k to relocate does this mean the coppany will not pay re-location? This might be a bargaining point. When you mention relocation, what is the cost of living "there" versus TX?

Do you have children in school? This can make a big difference. . .

Is there some sense of urgency to commit now?

As far as pay rates, there are people making more than and people making less than 6 figures at each of the "areas" you mentioned - just in the Dallas area. . .

Have you looked at any of the Job Search sites?
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Unshriven

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply to: General question on salary and skills for a beginn
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I've actually moved and am in the program. I'm more just trying to get an idea of where to keep an eye out for my career.
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dick scherrer

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject:
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Hello,

Quote:
I'm more just trying to get an idea of where to keep an eye out for my career.
Not sure how we might help with "where to keep an eye out. . ".

I'd recommend determining what you want to do long-term and then develop a plan to get there. If you don't have a "goal" it is most difficult to "get there" or even make a plan. . .

As i've told many who have reported to me - "if you tell me where you want to go, i will help you get there. If you just want 'something different', best of luck". Of course, it is my belief that we should help people grow, not keep them for ourselves because we don't want to lose their contribution to our specific group.
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valyk

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Joined: 16 Apr 2008
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:11 am    Post subject:
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I would personally stick with the mainframe. The experienced programmers are retiring and there are only a few colleges/universities even teaching the mainframe world. Everything that is on the mainframe is staying and companies are constantly adding more. IBM is continuing to have solid mainframe sales. Demand for mainframers will only become higher in the next few years.

I recently went through a program very similar to what you are in. I started as an application programmer, but then switched to a system programmer role when they saw my abilities.

I wouldn't change a thing. Good mainframe programmers are becoming very tough to find.
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dick scherrer

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply to: General question on salary and skills for a beginn
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Quote:
Good mainframe programmers are becoming very tough to find.
Understated, but i completely agree icon_smile.gif

d
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valyk

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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:31 am    Post subject: Re: Reply to: General question on salary and skills for a be
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dick scherrer wrote:
Quote:
Good mainframe programmers are becoming very tough to find.
Understated, but i completely agree icon_smile.gif

d


My shop has exploded over the last few years. We are constantly recieving phone calls from new hires that claim to be CICS application programmers that don't have a clue what a commarea is, or how a CICS screen functions. It amazes me that our unemployment rate is so high and we can barely find good help...
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dick scherrer

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:26 am    Post subject:
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Hello,

Quote:
It amazes me that our unemployment rate is so high and we can barely find good help...
I may be missing something, but most of the unemployment i'm aware of is not qualified technical people. . .

As you mention, there is surely a shortage. . .
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Unshriven

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Joined: 04 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject:
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I appreciate all the comments. I'm just trying to find out how I should take my career. At the end of my program, I have to chose one of the groups, mq, netsoft, mvs, tpf etc.... I guess I'm trying to find out what is the best balance of salary vs. workload or if I should use my training to augment a more "global" career path. I know a lot of mainframe talent is going to retire in not too long. It's one of the reasons my company is willing to pay for this training so that they have a talent pool. I am worried, though, that I would still be the junior man and I'd have to sit in my position another 15 years before advancement. In most of these groups, the most junior have 10 years with the company. It's a bit concerning.
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Robert Sample

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Joined: 06 Jun 2008
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Location: East Dubuque, Illinois, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:54 am    Post subject:
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Something to consider: the fact that these people are staying with the company usually indicates the company treats its people fairly. While that's not always true, it is worth investigating a bit to find out what the people who are staying there are staying for.
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