If you want to succeed in your IT career today, you need to know (or at least have an understanding of) DevOps. Where do mainframe skills fit into that picture? Find out in this post about mainframe careers in the age of DevOps.
Mainframe careers are evolving, in part due to the DevOps revolution.
Briefly summarized, DevOps is an approach to software and computing that emphasizes constant collaboration between all parts of the IT organization. The term emphasizes especially the importance of having developers coordinate with IT Ops teams, or admins, but the concept really extends beyond this to include all other teams that play a role in software delivery and maintenance, too – such as QA folks and customer-support specialists.
The DevOps concept was introduced in the late 2000s in an effort to introduce new efficiencies into the IT workflows of the time, which were hampered by “silos” that prevented different groups from coordinating effectively with one another.
What DevOps Means for Careers Today
Yes, to a certain extent, DevOps is a buzzword that will probably fade with time.
But it’s more than that. The DevOps revolution is meaningfully changing the expectations that businesses place upon the experts they hire. Even if the DevOps terminology eventually disappears, the idea that constant collaboration should be a central feature of IT workflows, and that team members should be prepared to coordinate with one another as much as possible, is now deeply embedded in the way most businesses organize their approach to software delivery.
For your IT career, that means that you now have to take a more flexible and holistic approach to the role you play at work. In the DevOps age, it’s no longer acceptable to focus on doing one single thing and working in isolation from other teams. For example, even if your main job is software development, you now have to be plugged into admin workflows and processes, too. If you primarily oversee commodity servers, you may be asked to help out with maintaining other types of devices – from phones to mainframes, depending on your organization’s changing needs – as well.
DevOps and Mainframe Careers: Agility is Key
And that gets to the main point of how DevOps is reshaping the demands placed on people with mainframe skills. If you are a mainframe expert, DevOps means you now also need to have proficiency in working with other types of systems, too – and vice versa.
In today’s landscape of IT and mainframe careers, agility is key. While mainframes might be your main area of expertise, you need a working understanding of other systems.
In other words, you can’t pitch yourself as solely a mainframe engineer anymore. While that may be your main area of expertise, you should also be prepared to coordinate with other IT team members on tasks elsewhere, too. That requires a working understanding of other systems – as well as a preparedness to integrate information and resources quickly between mainframes and other types of environments.
This works the other way, too. In the DevOps age of flexible, agile roles, people who have no background in mainframes may find themselves having to work with mainframe systems and data.
Leveraging Data Automation to Maximize Agility
That may sound intimidating. After all, we can’t all be experts in everything at the same time.
Fortunately, by taking advantage of tools that help to automate and streamline the hard work associated with moving between different systems, you can more easily and efficiently work on whichever part of the infrastructure you’re asked to, even if you don’t have deep background outside of mainframes – or, if mainframes are new to you, you can use these tools to work with them without having to become a mainframe data expert.
Those tools include software like Ironstream, which collects and delivers mainframe logs and SMF files to next generation analytics platforms like Splunk, and DMX-h, which enables you to offload mainframe data onto commodity servers for analysis using platforms like Hadoop, without having to perform tedious, complex data translation yourself. Take some time to learn more about Mainframe solutions that can help maximize efficiency and agility.