In this episode of TFiR: Mainframe Matters recorded at the Open Mainframe Summit in Philadelphia, I caught up with Byron Smith, VP of Mainframe Security at M&T Bank, to share his journey as a millennial mainframer and his thoughts on diversity in the mainframe space.
Byron started his 10-year career in the mainframe space as an intern at IBM during his sophomore year in college. Even though he didn’t have the proper grades, IBM saw his hunger and motivation. What drew him to the mainframe was its value to society. He says, “I realized that the mainframe played a critical part in our everyday lives. I can join an industry where I’m actually doing something and making a difference, and not just a programmer writing code.”
Smith believes that “diversity is going to play a critical part in society’s succession towards technology advances because technology is going to overpower a lot of things moving forward.” It helps that diversity is a foundation in the mainframe space. “Believe it or not, it was always there. There were women, there were people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, there were people from different affinity groups like the LGBT community. It’s diverse by design,” he adds.
Because of this, the mainframe has the power to take the society to the next level. Smith says it starts with the hiring managers. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is still a sensitive topic for most people. He explains that “In order for us to change a century-long issue, we got to start by looking at what we are now. How can we change for the future to help us help each other, help our business partners, and the society, in general? My piece of advice for hiring managers is to start looking at the content of character, not just the skills because that will take you far more. I can teach you mainframe, I can teach you cybersecurity, and even integrity. But I can’t teach you how to be transparent. I can’t teach you how to be honest.”
Check out Smith’s inspiring story and interesting perspective in the video above.