September 26, 2019 DevOps

Finding the Next Generation of Mainframe Developers – Pt. 2

Overview: Second in the series on our quest to find the next generation of developers to continue the important work of maintaining the mainframe. Meet three of our next-gen team who have risen to this awesome responsibility.

The passionate explorers

In the first part of this story, we learned how Compuware has addressed an industry-wide skills and staff shortage by recruiting and mentoring next-gen developers. Now, we’ll meet some of the next-gen staff who have joined us on this mission.

Though their degrees may be similar, their stories are as unique as they are.

Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim
constantly focused on the future.” Walt Disney

A future so bright

Krysten Erickson has been an Associate Software Developer at Compuware for more than three years. She received her degree in Computer Science – Software Development. While in school, she also served as an Undergraduate Fellow and teaching assistant.

She was already a believer in the technology behind the mainframe prior to Compuware. However, it was when she heard Chris O’Malley speak at her school that her interest was piqued. At the next career fair, she talked with our recruiter, and then her husband, about making the move to Detroit.

Krysten characterizes the training she had in Compuware’s accelerated classes as “a steep learning curve,” but one that afforded her the opportunity to learn and work with many senior developers and ask as many questions as she liked. She gives a lot of credit to her mentors for teaching her the new skills she needed for the job. Since then, she has taken on the added role of next-gen trainer.

Learning from the experts while they’re still in the workforce is a privilege.”

Although she enjoys the camaraderie of the Compuware culture and the feeling of being essential to the work, Krysten pointed to another benefit: onsite daycare. She brings her two young children with her to work and can see them at lunchtime or breaks. This has been good for both her and the children.

The move Krysten and her family made to Detroit has offered many opportunities, experiences, friendships and responsibilities. She understands and feels the importance of “the keys to the kingdom” slowly being handed-off to her and the other new developers. They will be the ones who take Compuware and its customers into the next 50 years.

No one left behind

Devin Berchtold is an Associate Software Developer who has been with Compuware for almost two years. He received his degree in Computer Engineering. He learned about opportunities at Compuware at a career fair and not long after found himself interning here and soon after was offered a job.

The promise of fast training and beginning real-world work appealed to Devin. He needed to learn a completely different system than he knew, and sometimes all those millions of lines of code and the knowledge base of his trainers and mentors, could seem intimidating. Still, with the support of his mentors and team he has been excelling at Compuware—even with the fast pace of our quarterly cadence demands.

In his free time, Devin likes camping, cooking, playing video games and writing. He documented the experience of participating in Compuware’s 19th quarterly release of new products in his blog. In it he wrote about the long list of people on his team and what they did, showing us just how much of a team player he is.

I like coming into work every morning knowing that I’m going to be challenged and there’s going to be a puzzle to figure out. There’s always something new to learn and someone knowledgeable to learn from.”  

Team spirit will get us there

Jake Stants is a Software Developer who’s been with the company for nearly two years. His degree is in Computer Science.

A recruiter didn’t reach out to him—he reached out to Compuware because he liked the track record “of one of the longest tenured software companies” and he wanted to live and work in the Detroit area.

Jake is a member of a tennis league, enjoys video games and spending time with friends and family. Who better than a son of educators to share what his training experience at Compuware was like? He had great teachers and seasoned developers on his team who mentored him. Additionally, like Devin and Krysten, he worked while he trained. It wasn’t long before Jake found himself teaching the next courses for new hires. A natural teacher, he used what he had learned in his training to identify issues that might cause someone to get stuck. He wanted to be sure everyone understood before moving on.

Jake illustrates best what it’s like to work at Compuware when he talks about learning a new programming language. He said there are many details to learn and patience is required, there’s also plenty of documentation to refer to, but “my peers have been writing it for more years than I’ve been alive.” Jake, Devin, Krysten and all the next-gen developers know they are respected and give respect. They can ask questions and offer ideas. We all work together … and age doesn’t matter.

Next week: Read the last part of this blog series and learn more about our stellar team.