8 years experience in mainframe – should I switch?

5 pts.
Tags:
IBM Mainframe
IT careers

Hello, this is JD here. I currently work in mainframe for a Big IT giant and with that my current project is in banking with an overall experience of 8 years.

I find my work good but as there are very little chances for developing something new (like a new application from scratch - most of the projects are in maintenance mode), very less chances of innovating something new, I thought of switching.

I have taken self-driven initiative of developing tools in mainframe & MS-Office (VBA / Macros) which increases productivity by reducing manual efforts. However I need more. 

I would like to pursue and continue my Career as pure hardcore technical guy with a work environment that can keep my brain challenged - something like working in cut-edge technologies, a place where there is a culture of innovations, where people respect innovative ideas. Of late I have checked some jobs in Research areas like – Microsoft Research as an example. I found that most of their jobs are having requirements for C, C++, Java, .NET or core CS skills like - Machine Learning, Data Mining, BI, Scalable algorithms, Mathematics (Optimizations, Probability Theory) etc.

I have been a Mainframe Professional throughout and with no hands-on experience on their requirements. I might gain theoretical knowledge but am not sure if they would accept this. My overall experience is 8 yrs , ~ 20% of my career life span (38 yrs). I have done my Bachelors of engineering in Electronics and pursuing MS in computer science. At this point I have the following confusions:

  1. Will it be a sensible idea to make a change in technology at this point of time?
  2. If I say my goal is to work in a Research oriented organization like Microsoft, what preparation do I need to take up so that I have the right skills under my belt to not only crack the interview but to be productive at work. Do you suggest that I join as a fresher in a company with these technologies( Java for example), get an experience and then apply for research?
  3. As per my self-assessment, I am strong in computer logic, programming, algorithm design, I can learn new technologies easily. However at times numerical world doesn’t make much sense to me as in I am not good with mathematics. Do you think this could be a challenge for me in Research oriented organizations?
Any answer will be helpful. Thank you in advance for your time. Regards, Jd.

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