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Become A Mainframe Systems Programmer

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Working As A Mainframe Systems 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

  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Mainframe Systems 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 Systems 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 Systems Programmer Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Systems Programmer 5.0 years
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Programmer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Mainframe Systems Programmer
Programmer 3.8%
Technician 1.9%
Top Careers After Mainframe Systems Programmer
Consultant 8.2%
Manager 4.1%

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Top Skills for A Mainframe Systems Programmer

  1. Cics
  2. Ts
  3. Program Products
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided installation and customization of a CICS/ESA based environment.
  • Executed Y2K implementation testing and upgrade all software and providing testing tools and environments to support application validation.
  • Customized and installed mainframe operating systems and program products.
  • Hired as the manager of the mainframe MVS systems programming team as the technical leader of the team.
  • Provide performance and availability monitoring to determine status of mainframe.

Mainframe Systems Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

81.3%

Female

12.3%

Unknown

6.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.4%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

10.9%

Unknown

2.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0%

Mainframe Systems Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.6%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

8.6%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

5.7%

University of Illinois at Chicago

5.7%

University of Central Florida

5.7%

South University

5.7%

Webster University

5.7%

Texas State University

5.7%

Bryn Mawr College

5.7%

Cairn University

5.7%

Spelman College

5.7%

Saint Francis College

5.7%

More Tech Institute

5.7%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.9%

Rice University

2.9%

Ramapo College of New Jersey

2.9%

North Central College

2.9%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Western Carolina University

2.9%

Lycoming College

2.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

36.3%

Business

19.3%

Computer Information Systems

5.9%

Mathematics

5.9%

Information Technology

4.4%

Management

3.7%

Engineering

3.0%

Electrical Engineering

3.0%

Information Sciences

2.2%

Computer Engineering

2.2%

Computer Programming

2.2%

English

1.5%

Data Processing

1.5%

Mathematics And Computer Science

1.5%

Economics

1.5%

Computer Networking

1.5%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Psychology

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.6%

Other

19.9%

Masters

16.0%

Associate

9.0%

Certificate

2.6%

Diploma

1.9%
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