Thursday, July 12, 2007

Five Years Out -- can retirees return to mainframe I.T.? Do companies need us again?


I’ve had some more discussions with a couple of companies, having passed five certifications from Brainbench (COBOL, JCL, Ansi-SQL, DB2, CICS). Another one of them arranged for a telephone interview with short-answer technical questions (actually I’ve had two of those; the first was from Derrico, and consist of many very short answers). “You can pass a multiple choice test,” one interviewer would say, “but (after five years) can you still do it?” In general, COBOL coding practices have shifted in the past few years, with case-structure techniques common in other languages being more expected, and less use of Exit logic. OS-390 has led to the use of skills that cross onto other platforms like Linux.

The last time I worked in a formal IT shop was December 2001. That’s 5-1/2 years. I have not had a completely functional corporate log on since then. I did have Right Management, then a VAX log on at a debt collecting company, and a server logon for a public school system.

What needs to happen for me to be marketable in the mainframe area is for an increase in demand for mainframe gigs to continue. This does appear to be happening, given the nature of recent recruiter calls. It’s always an issue to return to work, but “working moms” do it after several years all the time, and the same may hold for retirees, as life-spans increase and labor shortages develop, especially when companies have hurriedly offshored basic functions and the offshoring backfires or fails to save money as expected. (Salaries in India and even China are rapidly increasing, and are bound to continue to do so.)

My earlier posting on this (mentioning Bob Weinstein's columns) was here, in March 2007.

My public transcript for Brainbench is here. Sometimes this link works for me only in Internet Explorer.

The preferred resume site is http://www.johnwboushka.com

Coordinate post about the insurance business: link.

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