Why do I love to continuously learn about the Mainframe?

We caught up with Ondrej Tulach who is based at our Prague Technology Center. He joined CA back in July 2011 as a tester to work on security and then was promoted twice. Now he works as a Software Engineer for Mainframe.

The favorite part of Ondrej’s job is to create a well-established test that developers call the “Ondrej’s insane test”. It helps to figure out the problem early in the development cycle and ensures that it gets fixed before delivering it to the customers. In software engineering terms, he loves to see an RC=0 in his TC JCLs.

CA Technologies recently took part a university careers fair and Ondrej was one of the demo presenters. We asked Ondrej how the event went?

“We did a demo for SYSVIEW and ISPFDIT. Sysview has been one of CA’s best products ever, a much more powerful alternative to IBM’s native SDSF. In Windows terms: Sysview is like if you took the Windows Task Manager combined with the Disk Management console, event viewer, performance monitor – and control panel of all your database machines.”

Ondrej loves to work on ACF2, a security product on CA’s mainframe.

”ACF2 is one of just three security/access control software on the Mainframe, the other two being IBM RACF and CA Top Secret. On Mainframe, there is an opposite philosophy than on other systems: if you haven’t explicitly granted privileges, you cannot do anything. This is called ‘No rule, No access’.

There are many inevitable results of the security. For one, it means much higher bar for both design and testing. If failure of your product means collapses of a whole company or government institution, the only acceptable design philosophy is ‘fail-safe’, delivering a robust product as humanely as possible. That is the pinnacle of software testing, and the direct opposite of the ‘safe-fail’ philosophy of reckless improvisation and non-robust design promoted by the whole ‘Agile’ movement. Security is also inherently interesting and a captivating subject, making you work hard to deliver because you know how much is at stake.”

What other products have you enjoyed working on recently at CA?

“I am currently working on Log Analyzer. Log Analyzer is a product for Database Administrators working on the IBM DB2 relational database. It allows auditing, database activity replication to data warehouses, recovery of accidentally dropped database objects and analysis of database activity.”

Ondrej suggests a career in Mainframe for those who are looking for something special or if you’re considering not following the crowd when it comes to a career in tech.

“Mainframe has immense hardware capabilities, far beyond what the x86, x64 or ARM architectures have to offer. One z14 box offers the same HW performance as a whole farm of traditional servers. And finally, there is a constant lack of expertise on Mainframe, so if you join now, you have a competitive edge for your career.”

We asked Ondrej why should someone consider CA Technologies if you’re a software engineer looking to work with Mainframe Technologies.

“I enjoy the work-life balance – you’re not required to do overtimes (even though many people do them voluntarily, wanting to finish the WIP they have opened before they go home) unless you’re having a support service for high-priority customer issues. Also, the flexible working hours are great advantage. Plus, work from home and sick days are available.”

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Ondrej Tulach – Software Engineer, Prague
Connect with Ondrej on LinkedIn 

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