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Mainframe Skills Shortage Looms

LAS VEGAS -- In many walks of life, a long history equates to an accumulation of knowledge about a topic. Not so with mainframe computers.

The 40th anniversary of the general purpose mainframe, celebrated by
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) yesterday, happened to coincide with a call for more training in this field, to compensate for a growing skills shortage.

Colleges are not teaching much mainframe technology,” said Afcom chairman Leonard Eckhaus at the data center user association's Data Center World Conference here in Las Vegas. “Young people want to work with Web technology in particular; this really excites them.”

To make matters worse, most data center managers are not exactly spring chickens themselves. Eckhaus says, “What’s happening is that more than 50 percent of the data center managers in large data centers today are over 50 years old, and in the next five or six years you will see a lot of retirement.”

As a result, Afcom is now on a mission to boost the profile of some of the older data center technologies. “Colleges and universities," Eckhaus urges. "We would like to see them come up with more training in this area as part of their IT programs.”

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