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Ideas to resume IT career

By lcrime ·
Hi All,

I was a mainframe programmer for 19 years prior to losing my job to outsourcing and being forced to change careers. Now, after 4 years, I would like to get back into IT. My strongest skills are COBOL, CICS, DB2, VSAM, etc. Since the MF environments do not change much, I am confident that I would start contributing after a few days in a shop. I have tried everything I can think of to get an opportunity, so far, however, I have not been able to find work. I am looking for ideas (or opportunities) to continue my IT career. I am willing to start from the bottom and work my way up.

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Become an SQL DBA...excellent money and opportunities

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

My mother in law is also currently a mainframe programmer working for Brown Brothers, which has an IBM OS/390 mainframe system running code in Cobol, CICS, and DB2. Anyhow, right after 9/11/01, she lost her previous job working at Solomon Smith Barney and was unemployed for almost two years because the mainframe market is thin and reaching a dead end. I have told her time and time again that her skills will someday become obsolete and she will end up without a job. Nevertheless, she has a job now, but like Windows 3.11 and the old Commodore, mainframes will become obsolete and so will the programmers who code for it. If you're serious about sticking around in IT, learn SQL and become a DBA. I can't begin to tell you how much demand there is for experienced DBAs' in today's IT market because there isn't a single organization, be it financial, law, accounting, medical, gov't, etc. that doesn't run some kind of relational database off of a SQL server, be it MS SQL or Oracle. Forget about Sybase, because they too are becoming extinct.

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looming Sybase extinction

by carbondog In reply to Become an SQL DBA...excel ...

Any data behind your claim of impending death for Sybase? moved into a position where the main app uses it & could use data to push for upgrade /change...

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Wana b sqlserver dba

by saadkhan2007 In reply to Become an SQL DBA...excel ...

I'm an Oracle dba but do not possess any experience/knowledge of sqlserver? I want to get a good amount of control on sqlserver as well without going into any institute. What is the best way to learn sqlserver in my home environment from DBA perspective? Ofcourse being an Oracle DBA, I know the core concepts for the database, so that shouldnt be any problem. Please guide.

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Get a copy of SQL server and play with it at home

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Wana b sqlserver dba

Biuld a separate Windows 2003 server, or use VMWARE to setup a virtual machine environment where you can play with SQL Server. Best way to learn it to use it.

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Do you know what I need to build a Windows 2003 server?

by lcrime In reply to Get a copy of SQL server ...

I have an old 386 PC with a 10 gig harddrive that I can clean up and use it as a server. Is this good enough? Also, do you know of any websites that teach you how to build a server?

Thanks in advance,


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Or download SQL server 2005 express

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Wana b sqlserver dba

off MS. It's free . Aside from some syntactic differences like sequences and the PL/SQL split, I can't see it taxing you too much.

Once you've got you head round the layout try and do some of Oracle's cleverer bits in there or find a way round if they are missing.
Don't forget to notice things it does that oracle doesn't.

P.S. One of the nice things about Express' GUI is the script changes button. You can pootle about in the gui, hit the buuton and then look at the sql syntax including the built in SPs to perform the same action.

It's a nifty feature for an admin.

For the serious differences you need to look up topics like recovery model, filegroups, clustered, replication, snapshot and extent.

This is a good site, to help you ask decent questions

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Contract positions

by madtechgirl In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

Take some contract positions, parttime and/or temporary jobs. Do some work for free. Offer to come in and work for 2 weeks for free to show what you can do. I started out in programming years back and moved up the ladder to management. I was out for 4 years like you due to a layoff. I had to take a temporary job as a tech writer to get my foot back in the door. I was then able to get a permanent position as a business analyst and now I'm about to take a new one as a project manager.

Get a professional to look at your resume. You need to organize it in a way that downplays you having been out for 4 years. Also, do some playing around with the latest technology on your own so you can say with all honesty you have kept up over the 4 years. Depending on what you've been doing these past 4 years you'll have to find a palatable way to explain it. Talk to a job coach. I highly recommend

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Getting back in the game.

by ree_ree2702 In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

I agree with MadTechGirl. The other thing to do or rather consider is that DELL gives PC's For $800.00 you can get a PHAT PC that will run anything Microsoft can throw at it. MS also gives away software. You can download MSQL 2k/2k5 for free and run it for 120 days. When it expires, re-install it. Not sure where you live, but in here in Houston, we have a chain of Half-Price bookstores(I shop nowhere else). You can find starving artist deals for older software manuals/guides that are not the latest on the market, but there are still lots of older installations that need support. Contrary to popular opinion, Companies don't upgrade overnight. You would be suprised to see the number of companies that are still running NT 40. SP6a. It wasn't but 2 years ago that ExxonMobil upgraded from NT to XP. Granted they are the biggest company in the world and that probably cost them all there revenue for 2005. At the end of the day, you can make this happen with little financial investment, patience, some long hours, and a few weekends. As always feel free to post questions here about anything, this site has helped me tremendously. Good luck.

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Mainframe is not dead

by lesko In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

Strange why so many people think so. About 80% of the world's information is still stored on them so it will be a while yet before something changes. This was posted last year have a read maybe it will boost your confidence a bit. Its from CNET

One thing I noticed though you have many many strong skills, I was told that you should emphasize only one in your resume. I was a server guy MS/Novell before then I moved to networking mainly Cisco when I applied for a server job I was asked "do you really want to be a server guy again ?"
I noticed you have DB2 as one of your strong skills, the other people who posted mentioned becoming a DBA well you can play on your DB2 skills. But do what one of the posts did, have your resume looked at professionally.

Good luck

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Got the t-shirt

by sr10 In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

I have some experience in this, having been out of the business for several years earlier this decade. Here are some ideas for you:

1. If you've been working for 19 years, I expect you have some understanding of IT that you can build on. Find someone who values that. You can't do that just by reading the ad, so plan to respond to a lot of ads.

2. Expect to get jerked around a lot during your search and mentally prepare yourself for that. Know that most managers can't identify the key success factors of a position to save their lives, so they are going to focus on the technologies.

3. Get into a job search group near where you live. It doesn't matter if most of the people in there don't have IT backgrounds. Indeed, it may be preferable that they don't.

4. Make the employer throw your resume away; don't do it for them by disqualifying yourself and not sending it. So if you know that they are not going to find the person having CICS, SQL Server and Smalltalk that they say they require, respond. Maybe the HR twinkie who screens the resumes will throw away all the responses because they don't meet the requirements. But maybe not.

5. Positive Mental Attitude. Yes, I know how hard that can be during this exercise.

Good luck.

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