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DevOps vs Mainframe Programming


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#1 m23khan

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 12:12 PM

Hi,

Almost a year ago, my Department shifted focus from Development to become the Company's DevOps team. Therefore, my role changed from being a ruby/shell developer to a DevOps Specialist (with focus on both Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment).

Since we are still fairly new to DevOps concept at the company, while we have created a DevOps toolchain, I still have a long way to go learning the tools that were utilized by a Contract Employee to provide us with a industry-standard DevOps solution (JIRA/Bamboo/Jenkins/etc.).

On the other hand, at my Company, I have been offered a Mainframe Developer role with another Department (not that I applied for it or expressed any interest in mainframes). The toolset that will be utilized is Cobol, JCL, and other standard mainframe technologies.

I am hoping if somebody can guide me towards which one would be a better choice.

I realize that DevOps is very much in-demand and mainframe skill-shortage is also a much discussed topic these days.

I would appreciate advice that takes account of:

- job market
- anticipated future demand (5 years)
- future of DevOps vs future of mainframes

What confuses me:

- Given that DevOps is a fairly new concept in IT industry, I don't know whether it is a concept that is here to stay or if there is unsustainable hype around it.

- When I worked on mainframes (2009-2011), I found all of my mainframe colleagues very much avoided non-mainframe technologies while simulatenously being unsure and pessimistic about future of mainframes.

- It seems, at least at my company, all code and applications that can be taken out of mainframes is being taken out of mainframes and that mainframes are only being used to store core-business logic that cannot be taken off without risk or for sensitive databases.

- Outside of Banking/Insurance and some legacy hospitals/Government/Transportation IT, mainframes are no longer being used or are being phased out. On flip-side, DevOps can be found in all sorts of industry.



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#2 britechguy

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 06:22 PM

m23khan,

 

        I say the following without a trace of nastiness or snark intended:  Reread your own post.

 

        If you look at its content with an eye toward pro-con sifting of your two options only one appears to have a future while the other has a past.

 

        It's been a very long time since I was last a programmer, the 1990s in fact, but even I knew that I was participating in the end of an era as far as mainframe programming with COBOL, JCL, etc.  Though there will probably be legacy systems for some time to come yet, that end of the computing world is a complete dead end for anything other than lateral job shifts between companies, and the skill set is not widely in demand and will become less so with time.

 

         With regard to your observation, "Given that DevOps is a fairly new concept in IT industry, I don't know whether it is a concept that is here to stay or if there is unsustainable hype around it," you will be asking yourself that question about many a trend that sweeps the IT world on a frequent basis.  It's always a 50-50 chance, at best, for anything that's the "new hot thing" having staying power.  That being said, having been a part of the last "new hot thing" tends to allow one to launch into the next "new hot thing" if one so chooses or to jump out into something far more long-term in nature, but not on its death bed, either.


Edited by britechguy, 29 December 2015 - 06:27 PM.

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#3 m23khan

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 12:30 PM

m23khan,

 

        I say the following without a trace of nastiness or snark intended:  Reread your own post.

 

        If you look at its content with an eye toward pro-con sifting of your two options only one appears to have a future while the other has a past.

 

        It's been a very long time since I was last a programmer, the 1990s in fact, but even I knew that I was participating in the end of an era as far as mainframe programming with COBOL, JCL, etc.  Though there will probably be legacy systems for some time to come yet, that end of the computing world is a complete dead end for anything other than lateral job shifts between companies, and the skill set is not widely in demand and will become less so with time.

 

         With regard to your observation, "Given that DevOps is a fairly new concept in IT industry, I don't know whether it is a concept that is here to stay or if there is unsustainable hype around it," you will be asking yourself that question about many a trend that sweeps the IT world on a frequent basis.  It's always a 50-50 chance, at best, for anything that's the "new hot thing" having staying power.  That being said, having been a part of the last "new hot thing" tends to allow one to launch into the next "new hot thing" if one so chooses or to jump out into something far more long-term in nature, but not on its death bed, either.

 

@britechguy,

 

Thank you very, very much for your insight and advice. I will take your advice. 






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