Thoughts about Mainframe Developers…

Thoughts About Mainframe Developers and Why I Was Oh So Wrong

Many of my jobs at Compuware (since 1984) have involved interacting with development teams for many different product lines. About 1 ½ years ago, after working with newer distributed technologies for 12 years, I made a somewhat impulsive decision to return to our Mainframe Solutions business unit.

Here are the things I was wrong about when I made that decision:

  • I was worried that I would be a little bored. Coming out of a fast-paced technology environment, I thought I would be working in a less frenetic one. I was wrong.
  • In my first meeting surrounded by people I had known for almost 30 years ago, this is what I was thinking: 1)  some of these folks must be  “burned out,” doing the same job for almost 30 years and 2) Certainly, I’m not as old as these people. I was really wrong on both counts.
  • I questioned how much innovation would be coming out of a group focused on legacy technology. I was really, really wrong.

Here’s the reality: I am working as hard as or harder than I ever have in a rapidly changing technology environment. With amazing levels of enthusiasm, dedication and pride in their work, our mainframe development team has evolved with those changes, while learning new tools, languages and communication with other platforms. And, they have incredible insight into the technologies that will support future generations. Finally, they’re not old! It’s just a number after all.

In an effort to capture all this, we recently interviewed 10 Compuware mainframe developers, ranging in experience from 4 to 35 years. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you too have been a mainframe developer at one point in your life. Hopefully you’ll enjoy hearing from these folks as they talk about the past, present and future. If you’ve never been a mainframe developer, you still might enjoy hearing what it was like writing code back in the 70s and 80s and what it’s like working in a group spanning many generations. As a backdrop, we created an interactive infographic to tell the story of mainframe innovation. Be sure to click on the image below for the full resolution and video insets. Enjoy!

Age of the Mainframe


  • Tell us about your first job working in mainframe.
  • What was considered interesting or innovative technology at that time?
  • Tell us about your most memorable mistake as a newer mainframe developer.


  • What is the most recent innovative project you’ve been involved in?
  • How has technology changed since you first started working in mainframe?
  • As an experienced mainframer, what have you learned from a newer developer? OR
  • As a new developer, what have you learned from an experienced mainframer?


  • What do you think your job would be like in 20 years?
  • What might mainframe innovation look like at that time?







About Mitzi Hunter

Mitzi Hunter joined Compuware in May 1984 and currently runs the Mainframe marketing organization. Her nearly 28 years of experience in the IT industry spans technical support, product development, training, technical writing, and marketing for Compuware’s distributed and mainframe solutions. Mitzi has a Bachelor of Arts in Computational Mathematics from Albion College.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>