Re: MF talent
As I was reading this article, I was already saying to myself, "The comments will be full of folks whingeing about there being plenty of mainframers who can't find jobs", and I was right.
The ignorance cuts both ways: too many mainframers haven't learned anything since 1981. They haven't figured out how to use Google, refuse to look at Linux, think TCP/IP is something newfangled that they don't need to pay attention to.
This isn't 1980: the mainframe is just one component in the IT infrastructure, and whether it's better for a given use case or not, it doesn't stand alone. Learn something new. Embrace new technologies. Make yourself more valuable. When it comes time to cut someone, who do you think they're going to pick: the cranky old fogey who refuses to move forward, or the cutting-edge kid who's up on the latest whiz-bang stuff?
Paradoxically, the fact that the mainframe keeps running and running doesn't actually help here: it's all too easy to conclude that something that never causes a crisis must not be very difficult to use, or perhaps not even that useful. That isn't an argument for destabilizing the z environment, mind you! But when there's a networking problem involving an x86-based web front-end interacting with middleware and winding up in DB2 on z/OS, it would behoove the z folks to be part of that solution, able to understand at least some of the other technologiies involved, and not just say "Nope, DB2 is fine, your problem, <click>".
I've been using mainframes since 1975 or so, and that's my primary job still. But along the way, I've become familiar with Windows, Linux, networking, and a host of other technologies, because they make me better able to do my job. My skills in those other areas certainly aren't at the level of my z skills, but they're strong enough that when someone starts talking about a multi-tier application environment, I can understand and contribute.
Yeah, this is politics to some extent. It's also not being a dead shark: the industry keeps moving forward; so should you.