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Open Mainframe Mentorship Project Aims To Bridge The Talent Gap | John Mertic

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The Open Mainframe Mentorship Project, which is part of the Linux Foundation aims to encourage new people to learn Mainframe. The Mentorship program gives the opportunity to learn from experienced mainframers. The program is in its eighth class of mentees and its set of mentees is growing each year.

In this episode of Mainframe Matters, John Mertic, Director of Program Management for Open Mainframe Project at the Linux Foundation, sits down to discuss the Open Mainframe Project mentorship and why it has been created. He goes on to explain what mentees and mentors can expect and where to go for further information. He goes into detail about the current talent gap and how the program is tackling this problem.

Key highlights from this video interview are:

  • The Open Mainframe Mentorship Project aims to attract new talent to learn Mainframe. It is not easy getting started in Mainframe but having someone to model can make it easier. One of the key challenges in open source is burnout. Mertic explains how the Open Mainframe Project helps bring in the next generation.
  • It can be daunting as a newcomer learning Mainframe, but similarly challenging for experienced Mainframers who may not have mentored people before. The program helps both parties in their unique challenges. Mertic feels that the human interaction side of the career is often not widely considered in training, and the Mentorship program aims to change that.
  • A lot of seasoned Mainframers are retiring and there weren’t as many coming into newer mainframe jobs, they would rather go into cloud, web development, or other technologies. Mertic goes into the factors that lead to the creation of the project and the results they have seen.
  • The outreach strategy for the Mentorship project is twofold: through the online outreach of the website and through university and academic partnerships. Mertic explains the different avenues for potential mentees to hear about the project.
  • The Mentorship program is completely remote, and Mertic discusses the benefits of this approach. He feels that some of the students are used to a classroom setting, whereas the mentorship program gives them insight into a working relationship. He explains how mentors and mentees partner up and what sets this apart from an internship.
  • Mertic shares his advice for people who are interested in the program to set both the mentee and mentor up for success. Mentors need a clear idea of what they are trying to accomplish and put together a detailed plan, with work courses the mentee should take, or pre-reads. Mentees need to look at the requirements and ask lots of questions.
  • The Mentorship Program aims to give students opportunities to gain an understanding of the industry. Mertic explains the role the program plays in bridging the talent gap, and where it fits in with other programs.

Connect with John Mertic (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Learn more about Open Mainframe Project (LinkedIn, Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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