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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

  • $79,530

    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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Mainframe Systems Programmer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.8%

Female

12.8%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.8%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

10.3%

Unknown

2.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0%

Mainframe Systems Programmer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.7%

Webster University

7.1%

Texas State University

7.1%

Bryn Mawr College

7.1%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

7.1%

Marist College

7.1%

University of Central Florida

7.1%

University of Dayton

3.6%

Providence College

3.6%

Western Illinois University

3.6%

University of Northern Iowa

3.6%

William Rainey Harper College

3.6%

Everest Institute

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.6%

Central Texas College

3.6%

Montclair State University

3.6%

University of West Florida

3.6%

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

3.6%

University of South Alabama

3.6%

Southeast Missouri State University

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

32.7%

Business

20.9%

Computer Information Systems

7.3%

Mathematics

4.5%

Information Technology

4.5%

Management

3.6%

Engineering

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.6%

Information Sciences

2.7%

Data Processing

1.8%

Computer Engineering

1.8%

Economics

1.8%

Computer Networking

1.8%

English

1.8%

Project Management

1.8%

Computer Programming

1.8%

Psychology

0.9%

Public Health

0.9%

Talmudic Studies

0.9%

Finance

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.6%

Other

23.9%

Masters

14.5%

Associate

6.8%

Certificate

2.6%

Diploma

2.6%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Mainframe Systems Programmer?

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Top Skills for A Mainframe Systems Programmer

Cics/TsZ/OSNewHardwareMvs/EsaDisasterRecoveryVtamStorageDB2MainframeSystemsSmp/ECobolRacfRexxUnixJCLVMBackupTcp/IpTechnicalSupportJes2

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  1. Cics/Ts
  2. Z/OS
  3. New Hardware
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Lead project in operating systems upgrade and CICS/TS V3.2 implementation.
  • Provided hands-on z/OS administration, performance management, hardware configuration and implementation and disaster recovery solutions for the company.
  • Evaluate and recommend the acquisition of new hardware and software technologies management.
  • Generated, installed and maintained mainframe operating systems including MVS/SP, MVS/XA, and MVS/ESA.
  • Installed and maintained support program products and subsystems including JES2, VTAM, CICS and numerous others.

How Would You Rate Working As a Mainframe Systems Programmer?

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Top Mainframe Systems Programmer Employers

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