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Become A Mainframe Programmer

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Working As A Mainframe Programmer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $94,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Mainframe Programmer Do

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. In addition, programmers test newly created applications and programs to ensure that they produce the expected results. If they do not work correctly, computer programmers check the code for mistakes and fix them.

Duties

Computer programmers typically do the following:

  • Write programs in a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Java
  • Update and expand existing programs
  • Test programs for errors and fix the faulty lines of computer code responsible
  • Create and test code in an integrated development environment (IDE)
  • Use code libraries, which are collections of independent lines of code, to simplify the writing

Programmers work closely with software developers, and in some businesses their duties overlap. When such overlap occurs, programmers can do work that is typical of developers, such as designing the program. Program design entails planning the software initially, creating models and flowcharts detailing how the code is to be written, writing and debugging code, and designing an application or systems interface. Programmers often use an IDE, which allows them to create, edit, and test code.

A program’s purpose determines the complexity of its computer code. For example, a weather application for a mobile device will require less programming than a social-networking application. Simpler programs can be written in less time. Complex programs, such as computer operating systems, can take a year or more to complete.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS), which consists of applications provided through the Internet, is a growing field. Although programmers typically need to rewrite their programs to work on different system platforms, such as Windows or OS X, applications created with SaaS work on all platforms. Accordingly, programmers writing SaaS applications may not have to rewrite as much code as other programmers do and can instead spend more time writing new programs.

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How To Become A Mainframe Programmer

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject; however, some employers hire workers with an associate’s degree. Most programmers specialize in a few programming languages.

Education

Most computer programmers have a bachelor’s degree; however, some employers hire workers who have an associate’s degree. Most programmers get a degree in computer science or a related subject. Programmers who work in specific fields, such as healthcare or accounting, may take classes in that field to supplement their degree in computer programming. In addition, employers value experience, which many students gain through internships.

Most programmers learn a few computer languages while in school. However, a computer science degree gives students the skills needed to learn new computer languages easily. During their classes, students receive hands-on experience writing code, testing programs, fixing errors, and doing many other tasks that they will perform on the job.

To keep up with changing technology, computer programmers may take continuing education and professional development seminars to learn new programming languages or about upgrades to programming languages they already know.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Programmers can become certified in specific programming languages or for vendor-specific programming products. Some companies require their computer programmers to be certified in the products they use.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in computer programming by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Advancement

Programmers who have general business experience may become computer systems analysts. With experience, some programmers may become software developers. They may also be promoted to managerial positions. For more information, see the profiles on computer systems analysts, software developers, and computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Computer programmers must understand complex instructions in order to create computer code.

Concentration. Programmers must be able to work at a computer, writing lines of code for long periods.

Detail oriented. Computer programmers must closely examine the code they write because a small mistake can affect the entire computer program.

Troubleshooting skills. An important part of a programmer’s job is to check the code for errors and fix any they find.

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Mainframe Programmer Career Paths

Mainframe Programmer
Mainframe Developer Senior Software Engineer
Project Leader
5 Yearsyrs
Mainframe Developer Senior Software Engineer Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mainframe Developer Senior Software Engineer Senior Java Developer
Lead Developer
5 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Consultant
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst
Senior Systems Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst Consultant
Senior Programmer Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Senior Developer Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Software Engineer
Senior Programmer
5 Yearsyrs
Programmer Developer
Team Lead And Developer
5 Yearsyrs
Programmer NET Developer Developer
Senior ETL Developer
5 Yearsyrs
Programmer Developer Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Business Analyst Senior Analyst
Analytical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Research Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Senior Data Analyst-
Lead Data Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Senior Consultant Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Software Systems Engineer Contract Software Engineer
Contract Programmer Analyst
9 Yearsyrs
Cobol Programmer Systems Programmer
Systems Lead Programmer
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Mainframe Programmer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Cobol Programmer 4.4 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Lead Programmer 3.2 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Mainframe Programmer
Programmer 9.1%
Consultant 5.0%
Developer 2.9%
Top Careers After Mainframe Programmer
Consultant 6.7%
Programmer 3.9%

Do you work as a Mainframe Programmer?

Average Yearly Salary
$94,000
Show Salaries
$68,000
Min 10%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$130,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ManpowerGroup
Highest Paying City
Oakland, CA
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Mainframe Programmer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Mainframe Programmer in the United States is $94,940 per year or $46 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $68,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $130,000.

Real Mainframe Programmer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Mainframe Programmer Teksystems, Inc. Pennington, NJ May 07, 2016 $132,170
Mainframe Programmer Populus Group LLC San Antonio, TX Aug 06, 2016 $123,133
Mainframe Programmer Diversant LLC Pennington, NJ Jul 25, 2016 $108,000 -
$125,000
SAS Mainframe Programmer Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Apr 01, 2016 $105,500 -
$125,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Jan 01, 2016 $105,248
Mainframe Analyst/Programmer Principal Ebsco Industries, Inc. Birmingham, AL Oct 21, 2016 $102,928
Mainframe Analyst/Programmer Principal Ebsco Industries, Inc. Birmingham, AL Dec 02, 2016 $101,462
Senior Mainframe Programmer Superior Solutions Inc. Baltimore, MD Sep 04, 2011 $97,178
Mainframe Analyst/Programmer Principal Ebsco Industries, Inc. Birmingham, AL Oct 21, 2013 $97,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Jan 01, 2016 $90,000
Senior Mainframe Programmer Ads Alliance Data Systems, Inc. Columbus, OH Oct 11, 2016 $90,000
Mainframe Programmer Revere Info Tech, Inc. Columbia, SC Aug 17, 2016 $90,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Jan 15, 2016 $89,741
A Senior Mainframe Programmer (Software Developer) Seven Seven Softwares Roseland, NJ Sep 01, 2014 $80,500
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Oct 15, 2011 $80,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC May 01, 2013 $80,000
Mainframe Programmer Dataquest, Inc. Camp Hill, PA Oct 29, 2013 $78,146 -
$81,120
Senior Mainframe Programmer V.L.S Systems, Inc. Durham, NC Sep 19, 2011 $78,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Jun 01, 2014 $78,000
Mainframe Programmer Companion Professional Services, LLC Columbia, SC Aug 20, 2012 $78,000
Mainframe Programmer Seven Seven Softwares Roseland, NJ Sep 01, 2013 $75,500
Mainfram Programmer Cerebrum Software Solutions Inc. Maryland Heights, MO Mar 12, 2016 $72,000
Mainframe Programmer USM Business Systems, Inc. Chantilly, VA Oct 19, 2010 $71,000
Mainframe Programmer (Software Developer) Seven Seven Softwares Roseland, NJ Sep 01, 2012 $70,500
Mainframe Programmer Protege, LLC Durham, NC Jul 12, 2015 $70,000 -
$90,000
Mainframe Programmer Protege, LLC Durham, NC Feb 15, 2016 $70,000 -
$90,000
Mainframe Programmer Protege, LLC Durham, NC Aug 31, 2015 $70,000 -
$90,000
Mainframe Programmer Vedasoft, Inc. Bethesda, MD Aug 01, 2012 $70,000 -
$75,000
Mainframe Programmer Protege, LLC Durham, NC Sep 14, 2015 $70,000 -
$90,000

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Top Skills for A Mainframe Programmer

  1. Cobol
  2. JCL
  3. DB2
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Used Cobol-DB2 to program to retrieve the data from database based on the business requirement and wrote in to flat file.
  • Verify that the code installs were completed per schedule and that JCL, PROC, SYSIN changes were completed accordingly.
  • Worked with DB2 Database Administrators to design and implement new DB2 Tables to support various migration projects in the Broker area.
  • Involved in understanding the existing business requirement and preparing the test cases, test execution and validating the test results.
  • Supported order entry, shipping dock and invoicing using Systems using COBOL in batch, & COBOL/CICS for on-line applications.

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Top 10 Best States for Mainframe Programmers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. North Carolina
  3. Connecticut
  4. Virginia
  5. California
  6. Maryland
  7. Utah
  8. Washington
  9. Colorado
  10. New York
  • (50 jobs)
  • (153 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (468 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (249 jobs)

Mainframe Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

68.6%

Female

24.3%

Unknown

7.1%
Ethnicity

White

51.2%

Asian

23.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.7%

Black or African American

9.8%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Carrier

50.0%

Spanish

50.0%

Mainframe Programmer Education

Schools

Arizona State University

7.1%

Indiana State University

7.1%

University of Phoenix

7.1%

University of Alabama

4.8%

Dickinson College

4.8%

Northern Arizona University

4.8%

Southern Methodist University

4.8%

Lynchburg College

4.8%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.8%

New York University

4.8%

Strayer University

4.8%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

University of North Texas

4.8%

Bellevue University

4.8%

Wilkes University

4.8%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.8%

Illinois Central College

4.8%

More Tech Institute

4.8%

Florida State University

4.8%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.4%
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Majors

Computer Science

25.0%

Business

13.2%

Computer Information Systems

11.0%

Electrical Engineering

7.0%

Computer Engineering

5.7%

Computer Applications

5.7%

Information Technology

5.3%

Engineering

4.8%

Project Management

2.6%

Computer Programming

2.6%

Management Information Systems

2.2%

Mathematics

2.2%

Information Systems

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Civil Engineering

1.8%

Education

1.8%

Finance

1.3%

Computer Technical Support

1.3%

Environmental Science

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.2%

Masters

23.3%

Other

10.8%

Associate

7.5%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

2.9%

Doctorate

1.4%
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