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The mainframe is an ideal environment for innovation

What if I told you that you could get a well-paying job with lots of growth opportunity using the coolest tools in the developer toolkit, working on the biggest, most badass platform around? Would you be interested? Of course you would!

With software (everywhere) driving the digital revolution around us, the last decade has clearly seen the rise of the developer. Bright new developers usually have two qualities on common, in addition to the analytical or math skills that often lead them down this path: They are passionate and curious.

As a result, there are certain characteristics that most developers look for when choosing the projects they want to work on. And IBM Z is the area I would recommend for developers who want to innovate for the long term.

One of the most important of these characteristics is a preferred tech stack. Developers get used to certain tools that they’ve used in the open source world. So being able to use Git, Jenkins, Docker, and other industry standard tools on IBM Z enables new developers to be productive quickly. As far as IDEs go, with the IBM Z mainframe, you can choose among Eclipse-based, VS Code, and others to edit, debug, build, and test in a cloud-native fashion — which allows new developers to start solving business problems on day one. And there are a broad range of supported development languages on IBM Z, including COBOL, Java, JavaScript, PL/I, C/C++, Node.js, Swift, Ruby, Go, and many others. New languages are being developed daily, and most developers are eager to learn a new language. If you are leaning towards a career in data analytics, rest assured that Python and MongoDB are supported on the platform as well, when developing on Linux on Z. With the z/OS UNIX System Services environment, you can also do shell scripting and Perl.

But if you can use these tools across multiple platforms, what would draw you to focus on mainframe development? Remember the two key developer qualities? Passion and curiosity lead many new developers to this platform.

IBM Z remains the most relevant high-end computing platform for businesses and developers alike. Whether you are an enterprise developer delivering top-of-the-line mission critical applications or you are a born-on-the-cloud developer building applications on the fly, chances are your apps have interacted with IBM Z either through an API call or simply by accessing the data that has been made available in a secure way. New developers are looking for interesting problems to solve, and in the enterprise space I guarantee that you will get the opportunity to deal with interesting and impactful problems.

IBM Z is responsible for 30 billion transactions per day — 87% of all credit card transactions — and is used by 44 out of the top 50 banks worldwide, 10 out of the top 10 insurers, and 18 out of the top 25 retailers! New technology is being driven every day on IBM Z; whether it is blockchain, machine learning, or hybrid cloud, you can develop software that affects millions of people. Not only is this platform powerful and resilient, but it is also secure. With pervasive encryption and secure service containers technology, you can have fewer sleepless nights worrying about the security of applications that can scale without fear of outsider (or insider) threats.

Finally, mainframe development gives you the opportunity to work with smart people and teams, which can spark as you grow and learn the business and technical challenges in the enterprise space. IBM invests millions in new enterprise technologies, and you could be at the forefront of testing, learning, and implementing those capabilities using an open CI/CD process, as part of a rich tradition that earns IBM Z developers respect and high standing in the enterprise. Go for it!

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