dcsimg

Career Story: Mainframe Systems Programmer

Mainframe Systems Programmer

Job Title: Systems Programmer (Mainframe)

Type of Company: I work for a very large, international computer company. The division in which I am employed provides outsourcing services to other companies and runs and manages their mainframe computing environments.

Education: BS, Resource Development, University of Rhode Island

Previous Experience: I started as a computer operator after college. I worked my way up through different levels of responsibilities within Operations, ending that career path as an operations manager of a small data processing center.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the integrity, availability, and overall "health" of the operating system that runs large IBM mainframes. Problem determination and problem analysis and resolution is a large part of my work. I also do research on other potential problems and proactively implementing fixes for those potential problems.

A typical day involves sitting in on meetings to provide my technical input on issues or projects that could have a negative (or a positive) impact on the overall computing environment. Gathering research results and acquiring the identified fixes and then getting those fixes onto the mainframe environment is another task I perform.

A very large part of the job today involves keeping the systems "compliant". That means maintaining audit trails and audit records of all kinds of different activities and changes that have been made to the system(s). SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) compliance is a BIG DEAL these days. There are lots and lots of government regulations that must be adhered to or there are financial penalties to be paid. Our customers (and my employer) do not like having to pay penalties for anything, especially something that is preventable. Over the course of the last 10 years or so, the administrative parts of my job have gotten more and more burdensome and more and more time-consuming. I probably spend 75% of my time doing things that have nothing to do with REALLY maintaining the operating system; they have to do with "crossing the t's and dotting the i's."

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being able to delve into new technologies, both software and hardware, that are constantly developing. I also enjoy interacting with other people all over the world. I can be in a meeting with people from the USA, Brazil, France, England, India, and Hungary.

The worst part of my job is the ever-increasing burden of administrative busy-work that we are required to do in order to stay in compliance with various regulations. I call it "administrivia" because it is trivial as far as productivity is concerned. Yet it occupies a large part of the job these days.

Job Tips:
1.) Study BOTH mainframe and distributed environments. Mainframes and smaller computers are both important parts of today's business environment.

2.) Though it usually involves quite a bit of travel, start out as your own consulting firm. Do not go to work for some corporation. The corporate world these days is rife with bureaucracy and "political foolishness".

3.) Learn the operating system(s) AND some of the major subsystems AND some of the larger, more common applications as early in your career as possible.

Popular Schools offering Computer Programming Software Development Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

Grand Canyon University's online technology programs offer a premier educational experience designed to lead you to a career in science, technology, engineering and math.

  • Programs: B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Platt College
Anaheim

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Web Development Programming Diploma Program
  • Degrees: Certificate
California College San Diego
National City, San Diego, San Marcos

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Computer Programming (AAS), Computer Science - Software and Mobile Application Development (BS)
  • Degrees: Associate, Bachelor
ABCO Technology
Inglewood

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

  • Programs: Programming, PHP , Computer Science , more...
  • Degrees: Certificate

Maryville University is a private university in St. Louis County, Missouri.

  • Programs: Online Master of Science in Software Development
  • Degrees: Master
Coleman University
San Diego

50 Years of Excellence In Education

  • Programs: Software Development (Bachelor), Software Development (Associate), Game Development (Bachelor)
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate

Earn your Master's in Computer Science online from Syracuse University without relocating or leaving your job. GRE waivers are available for those who qualify.

  • Programs: MS in Computer Science
  • Degrees: Master

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.

 

What Are You Waiting For?

  • Programs: Cloud Computing - Bachelor's, Mobile Development
  • Degrees: Bachelor

You can advance your career with a degree from Charter College Online.

  • Programs: Certificate - Computer Technician
  • Degrees: Certificate

Get Matched to the Right IT, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Software and Application Development, Web Design or Technology Management Degree Program for YOU.

  • Programs:
  • Degrees:
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Software Engineers For Systems

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Software Engineers For Systems, including:

Back to Top