Need Skills - No Problem, Thanks to Broadcom's Mainframe Vitality Program

May 18, 2021


Not long ago, mainframe vendors used to charge their customers and students to find, train, and hire the needed talent. Many still do. But thanks to a novel, one-year mentorship program called theMainframe Vitality Program, Broadcom has been cultivating and raising the next-generation of mainframers over the last two years. For free!

What’s the catch? There isn’t one. Well, not really. While the program is only available to current Broadcom customers, there are a lot of opportunities for all, and applications are open to everyone. In short, Broadcom trains and mentors the ideal candidate for a full year on our dime, both in the classroom and onsite with the customer. Then, once the candidate has been trained and proven – and after he or she has been determined to be a good fit – the customer is able to hire this resident as a full-time employee. Check any risk or uncertainty you have at the door. It’s that simple. Obviously there are some important steps that must take place.

First, Broadcom vets candidates for aptitude and suitability based on customer needs. Because we believe in finding the right candidates, we consider them as a whole person rather than just a collection of formal degrees. We don’t limit ourselves to candidates with an existing pedigree in IT, let alone mainframes. With the right aptitude and attitude, as well as the proper training, those skills can all be learned. When that happens, it’s amazing to see the amount of diversity and untapped potential that’s ready to answer the call. We’ve attracted and engaged with 122 customer participants in the first two years of the program. So far, 34% of our placements have been female—well above the industry average – and this trend is growing. Three of our last four placements were women. The majority (54%) have been people of color, namely African American, Hispanic, and Asian, also well above average.

After we find the right candidate, we hire them as a Broadcom mainframe apprentice and teach them the same programs we use to develop our own, internal mainframe talent. That includes our Mainframe Academy, extensive lab and coursework, and training on specific software products (either as operators, security specialists, or Endeavor developers) at our offices, as well as onsite with real-world customers under the direction of supervising mentors. Once they complete this robust training, these resident software specialists are placed around the world in every major industry and among some of the most recognized and respected brands.

This innovative idea came to fruition nearly three years ago after we asked ourselves: “In addition to our software, what if we could give our customers an actual human being to help run their mainframe without incurring a separate charge? What if we could gift them an all-new mainframer designed specifically for their business at no initial cost?” The answer to these questions was self-evident; “That would be great!”

And that’s precisely what happened. In the last two years, we’ve already placed 62 new mainframers with some of the world’s largest banks, government agencies, retailers, insurers, investment firms, and more. This semester we’ll place 16 more residents and train customer employees alongside them, bringing the total to over 78 by the end of 2021. One of our most recent graduates was hired by a large financial services company to maintain and upgrade their ongoing Datacom operations, which is critical to each and every application the customer uses in their entire business. After joining full time, this candidate was instrumental in a very large upgrade to the product. Her work was so well received that the customer mentor even decided to delay retirement to continue to train her. Talk about changing lives!

To say this program has been popular is an understatement. It’s been a phenomenal success, both outside and inside of Broadcom. For example, after a recent Vitality graduate completed the course and a suitable placement wasn’t immediately available, Broadcom seized the opportunity and hired her instead. Despite being a former French major, this self-directing and gifted learner has become a talented technical support operator for mainframe customers around the world. (Read more of Katie’s inspiring story here.)

Although there’s talk out there that there is a problem finding people with mainframe skills, we respectfully disagree. The Mainframe Vitality Program is proof that tomorrow’s system administrators are already here. We just have to help them find their way.

The Vitality program has been the most exciting and rewarding initiative I’ve worked on in my career. I wholeheartedly encourage you to learn more as you strive to find your next great hire.

Tag(s): Mainframe