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  • #2250373

    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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    • #3221993

      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.

      • #3220344

        looming Sybase extinction

        by carbondog ·

        In reply to Become an SQL DBA…excellent money and opportunities

        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…

      • #3220957

        Wana b sqlserver dba

        by saadkhan2007 ·

        In reply to Become an SQL DBA…excellent money and opportunities

        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.

        • #3220921

          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.

        • #3276306

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

          by lcrime ·

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

          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,


        • #3220047

          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

    • #3220852

      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

    • #3220841

      Getting back in the game.

      by ree_ree27029 ·

      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 away…cheap. 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.

    • #3220809

      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

    • #3220798

      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.

    • #3220732

      Join User Groups and social groups

      by ·

      In reply to Ideas to resume IT career

      Networking doesn’t mean just handing out your business card and talking about how you’re looking for work. Have some fun. Learn to dance, cook, snow shoe, whatever. Ask leading questions about technology in people’s lives and then LISTEN. End with “Know anyone whose company still uses mainframes?” Beats sending out resumes to the big black hole.

      Also, keep about 50 simple business cards (list your name, phone, email and what you are looking for) in your car, and always carry some with you. Don’t use the ones from where you work now; it confuses people if your card shows that you are not a computer person.

      I’m a former mainframer myself. It’s a small community, so find their blog or local user group and get to know the ones working in your area. Someone is going to move or retire.

      No one wants to have to advertise for a mainframe job because they get inundated with resumes from all over the country. The “secret” is to get on a company’s radar before they know they need you.

      I also recommend a job club. Twice I have gone to Experience Unlimited (sponsered by the EDD-Unemployment office) between jobs.

      Best of luck,


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