What does a Mainframe Developer do?
Mainframe developers work on unique operating systems in software development, using obsolete tools and languages. They know both programming language and mainframe tools and are comfortable working in the mainframe culture. They design, develop, and maintain mainframe components to meet support or project departments and interface with business and IT teams to understand their business requirements, translating into formal technical requirements and application code.
Mainframe developers collaborate with IT support teams to ensure that client support and project requirements are developed and implemented successfully and develop and execute unit tests and integration plans and scripts that ensure the application changes will meet technical specifications. They are responsible for full system development life cycles, work with business teams, participate in integration testing, and complete acceptance testing. They participate in production support and pager duty rotation and provide round-the-clock coverage and participate in technical reviews at appropriate developmental stages. Mainframe developers need a bachelor’s degree in technology, engineering, IT, or related fields.
- Estimate and design small increments of work for other developers.
- Develop and define application scope and objectives and prepare technical and/or functional specifications from with programs will be written.
- Ability to review project proposals, evaluate alternatives, provide estimates and make recommendations.
- Coordinate on-call support and ensure effective monitoring of system.
- Promote improvements in lean software engineering practices such as test-driven development, continuous integration, and continuous delivery.
- Ensure unit test is completed and meets the test plan requirements, system testing is completed and system is implemented according to plan.
- Perform a variety of database optimizations such as general reporting and analysis of the efficiency of the database configuration and periodic review of database performance.
- Assist the assigned project manager in the migration of newly acquired customers such that all technical hurdles are addressed in a timely manner and do not impede the expected progress of the transition nor the targeted migration date.
- Evaluate change requests and determine impact to assigned clients.
- Bachelor's Degree in business or computer science.
- Hands-on experience configuring and manage mainframes.
- Comfortable working with a range of operating systems.
- Extensive systems programming experience.
- Proficient with a variety of common software tools and programs.
How much does a Mainframe Developer make?
Mainframe Developer Career Path
Learn how to become a Mainframe Developer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Mainframe Developer Insights
“Good to work and flexible”
“good career oppertunity and career growth”
“Good Work and life balance”
“Excellent work and life balance”
“Initial salaries are not so good.”
“Good work and life balance.”
“Great work and life balance.”
“Not the best of benefits”
Mainframe Developer Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of mainframe developers
Mainframe developers spend their workday developing new programs that run on large computer systems. They also work to modify, adapt, and fix bugs on existing applications to keep the system running smoothly. Mainframe developers also perform maintenance tasks on the existing codebase.
Becoming a mainframe developer can be the start of a successful career for those who are problem-solvers and enjoy working with technology. Some mainframe developers work on a team and thrive when collaborating with like-minded individuals. A large amount of work is done in an indoor office setting, making the overall work environment comfortable. They typically have regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours.
Successful mainframe developers get paid well. The average base pay for a mainframe developer in the United States is $101,581 per year. The salary for a mainframe developer can vary depending on years of experience, level of education, and demand for the work or specialty.
Working as a mainframe developer can be demanding at times, as their role is foundational to running core operations. Mainframe developers also carry a lot of responsibility as they must often focus on maintaining a high level of security within the systems and developing disaster recovery plans for data stored in the system.