As a mom, one thing I can assure you is that the really important lessons in life are worth repeating. In fact, repeating them is often the best – and only (argh!) – way to get them to sink in. Turns out, the same is true in business.
As head of Mainframe Education for Broadcom, I often find it important to repeat myself. For the last several years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve delivered the following refrain: “Yes, finding mainframe talent can be a challenge. But it’s mostly a perception problem.” With the help of several new, no-cost programs as well as “at cost” training that’s roughly half the price as before, we are not only overcoming this shortage internally for our growing team, but also on behalf of hundreds of our customers.
Although old news to us, this advance is still a bit of a discovery for some of the businesses we partner with. It started a couple of years ago after Broadcom revised, and in many cases completely removed, its mainframe education pricing. For example, our virtual Associate Software Engineering Program is an intense, seven-week course that’s entirely free to customers. We also offer the course in-person at no cost and only ask our customers to pay for travel and accommodations. Broadcom covers the tab on all curriculum, instructor, and classroom fees.
Last year, one of the nation’s largest banks enrolled 80 new hires in the program to train four data center teams around the world virtually. In addition to being free, we crash-coursed the usual two-month semester into two weeks so the customer could meet an important, looming deadline. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
But that’s just one of several educational programs we currently offer. For Broadcom customers with an active maintenance plan, we include web-based product training as part of the package. No need to pay extra. On top of this, we offer a robust Mainframe eLearning Library that includes over 250 IBM z System courses to train, certify, and improve the skills of new, intermediate, and advanced mainframe professionals at a very minimal cost.
In addition to that, we are a founding member of the vendor-agnostic, Mainframe Open Education Project (coming soon). Working alongside IBM, Kyndryl, and others, including seasoned industry experts, Broadcom is donating content to an open source curriculum in a community-based effort to share industry knowledge, boost mainframe awareness, and attract tomorrow’s pros.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we’ve also launched the free Mainframe Vitality Program, which Broadcom funds for an entire year to attract, identify, hire, train, and place the next-generation of mainframers with customers in need. This program has been an overwhelming success with over 75 new hires placed at some of the world’s leading companies. To learn more about this popular and innovative program, please read our companion article.
Let’s be honest. We obviously have a passion for the mainframe since we make trusted software that runs these proven, powerful machines.But knowing the role that mainframes play doing the “heavy lifting” that keeps much of our economy moving forward, I’d say this passion is also quite practical. Our revised educational programs are not only good for our customers and our business, they’re good for the entire industry. And given mainframe’s critical position as a powerful part of the hybrid cloud, I believe it’s a good thing for the world. Oh, and did I mention that they’re cost-effective? I think I did. I’ll mention it again–force of habit. They’re highly cost-effective.
Mainframe education shouldn’t be expensive or, worse, astronomical as it sometimes is. It certainly shouldn’t be a profit center. When we first revised our mainframe education two years ago, we realized we needed to think differently. To support the record number of transactions that mainframes now process, we knew we needed to open education up as much as possible. For us, that means cost takes a back seat to learning. Not “right-behind-the-driver back seat,” but “rear-of-the-station wagon back seat.” (Sorry, my mom instincts are active again).
If the last two years have taught us anything, it is this: there are plenty of people in the world to overcome the mainframe skills shortage. You don’t need a computer science degree to master the mainframe. And with the right educational tools, we have and will continue to find the right people for the job—on our customers’ behalf, for our own benefit, and for the greater good of the industry.
A rising tide lifts all boats, right? Check out our many educational opportunities. You’ll be glad you did ... and, if you don’t, I swear I’ll turn this car right around.