Thursday, November 08, 2012

State governments look for mainframe contractors; are "mature technology" skiilsets getting hard to find after so many forced retirements?

Even though I marked my Dice account as "not looking" right now, I have seen a recent uptick in emails looking for mainframe people, often with skillsets that are less specific than in the past, mostly for state government contracts (especially MMIS but also social services programs).  I suspect that in many cases the same contractors tend to rotate among these contracts and are known to specific clients.

For example, yesterday I got an email from TSCTI (link) for skills in COBOL and CMS for state government in Richmond, VA.  The acronym for the company name means "22nd Century Technologies", not exactly "20th Century Fox" (which ought to change its century).

I suspect that so many older programmers have retired, or retooled, or simply done other things after recession (and 9/11) related layoffs than now there really is a developing shortage of mainframe programmers in just the basic stuff.  Is this now going on?

All these layoffs in past years suddenly seem to have been shortsighted.  Companies and governments face real problems in getting work done and keeping legacy systems running.

Mainframe culture was its own world (of batch overnight cycles, CICS, and a certain verbose style of programming and JCL).  No one wanted to stay in it after 2000, it seemed.  What's happening now? 

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