Millennials were born into a world of rapidly advancing technology. It was a world in which they became familiar with sophisticated smart technology from a young age; a world where dumb green screens, MS DOS and mainframe computers were relics of a distant past.
Until they weren’t…
For Millennial software developer Josh Elkins, discovering that his new job was dealing with a legacy mainframe system was a bit of a “culture shock.”
“It was a gut punch. I was expecting modern apps and I got a green screen,” said Elkins. “There was no spellcheck, no mouse! I didn’t even know how to log in.”
His job at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles was to modernize the development environment so that the DMV could offer its customer service centers, training venues, licensing agents and customers – 6.2 million drivers and 7.8 million car registrants - a better service.
In the early 1990s the VA DMV had chosen Software AG’s Adabas database and wrote its code in Natural; it went to become the first US DMV to offer online license renewal in the late 1990’s.
The DMV wanted to have more rapid app development, using a .Net wrapper and enhancing visibility. Prior to being exposed to new development tools, Elkins had to learn how the legacy system worked in its current state. “The code base was 40 years old and we were refreshing it for more efficient programs,” said Elkins. He added that it was a “cryptic black box, but luckily my colleagues understood it.”
When the DMV added Software AG tools such as Designer and NaturalONE Eclipse-based IDE, he said the veil was lifted from his eyes. “Had I had these tools at the beginning, I would have better understood the mainframe. They make it much more appealing for young developers.”
It is projected that by the year 2020, about 25% of the U.S. workforce will be composed of older workers (ages 55 and over). As the baby boomer generation eases into retirement age, companies are faced with the prospect of recruiting and retaining younger employees to replace an estimated 75 million departing older workers. For organizations to attract and retain younger developers, they need modern tools and a more appealing environment for young developers.
Like the Virginia DMV, several customers of Adabas & Natural have figured out how to keep their core applications going for the long-term by successfully managing the generational change of talent within their team.
There are some steps you can take to do the same:
Include Adabas & Natural training as an obligatory part of every developer’s job
Leverage tools such as NaturalONE and webMethods EntireX and ApplinX
Leverage Software AG’s education servicesfor training
Ensure new employees understand that a programming language is only a means to an end
Click below to hear the webinar of how Virginia DMV was able to modernize existing mainframe manually coded interfaces by leveraging SAG EntireX.Net wrapper generation tools for C#. Or join us at our Innovation Tour in Washington, DC on November 2 & 3 to see for yourself.