Mainframe Developer Skills In Short Supply, Compuware Warns


A new Compuware study has revealed that most CIOs are ill-prepared for the shortage of mainframe developers

Concern continues about the lack of mainframe skills in the industry after a new study from Compuware revealed that many CIOS are ill-prepared to address the mainframe developer shortage.

On 1 March, Compuware released the results of a second independent research study conducted by the Vanson Bourne research firm into mainframe use in the enterprise.

Key findings reveal that a stagnant mainframe development environment impacts developer productivity and, in turn, reduces IT efficiency. Compuware has published a related white paper titled, “Mainframe Succession: Long Live the Mainframe,” which details the findings from the study.

Change Problem

In this international study of over 500 CIOs, more than half, or 56 percent, said that mainframe developers – continually challenged to do more with less in a rapidly evolving IT environment – are struggling to meet the changing needs of the business. At the same time, 69 percent of those surveyed said they believe that a lack of change in the mainframe environment is turning IT graduates off from mainframe development.

“Businesses are supporting new technologies like mobility and cloud computing at record pace, forcing mainframe teams to contend with the added workload of quickly and successfully integrating new applications with legacy mainframe applications,” Kris Manery, senior vice president and general manager of the Mainframe Solutions business unit at Compuware, said in a statement. “This rise in mainframe development, coupled with a lack of new developers – a trend we call the ‘New Normal of Mainframe’ – puts teams at risk of becoming less effective in supporting the applications that are critical to today’s world economy.”

Nearly half (46 percent) of the CIOs surveyed said they have no plans in place to address mainframe developer shortages. In addition, according to the survey, high acquisition costs (60 percent), complex integration (54 percent), and high training and implementation costs (45 percent) are preventing businesses from modernizing the mainframe environment.

Skills Shortage

“IT efficiency is about making better use of what you already have, so any moves to update the mainframe environment must happen with a minimal investment of time and cost,” Manery said. Developers across the board, whether they are experienced or new to the mainframe, need choice and flexibility to use the tools and techniques that will empower them to improve productivity.”

The Compuware-sponsored survey consisted of 520 CIOs in large enterprise organisations with more than 1,000 employees.

Specifically, the study included 100 CIOs, each in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States along with 30 CIOs, each in Italy, Benelux, Japan and Australia.

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