GERARD NICOL
CEO

Company—
GazillaByte LLC

Years in IT—
25

My first mainframe job—
My first mainframe job was for MMI Insurance in Sydney, Australia. My title was Dispatch Clerk which entailed clearing printers, bursting reports and running checks through a signing machine.

The guy who did the job before me has made an 8 hour a day job out of it, but within a few months I got it down to an hour or two. In my spare time I taught myself to write ISPF dialogs using CLIST and then COBOL, I did this standing up as I was not allowed to have a chair (I also had to wear earmuffs all day to protect my hearing).

I laugh today when people ask rudimentary questions on LinkedIn and people fall over themselves to answer because back in the day all I had was the odd weekend shift where I could sneak into the systems programmers area to “borrow” a 6” thick manual.

One day one of the systems programmers came and sat with me and I was over the moon that someone so senior was spending time with someone as lowly as me, as it turns out he was trying to get me into Amway.

My favorite mainframe or memory—
I now run a software company which has its own z/PDT license. For me, nothing beats the first time you sell some z/Series software and a customer installs it on their mainframe. My first z/Series customer was a U.S. phone company and despite all the software I have sold over the years for AIX, Windows or Linux, nothing compares to the high of having your own z/Series software running on a Fortune 500 mainframe.
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