The global economy runs on transactions, and 70% of transactions by value run through an IBM Z® mainframe. Many of the world’s largest enterprises rely on IBM Z to support their core business, and by a process of continued innovation, IBM Z brings industry-first technologies to our clients with each new generation. Modern mainframe skills are critical as businesses implement AI, modernize their applications, integrate across the enterprise and continue digital transformation.

These skills are essential to the future of the platform, whether we are training new talent, deepening the skills of our existing community or introducing new technology and capabilities to the platform. 

A forum to build the skills of the future

IBM®, Broadcom and 21CS recently commissioned The Futurum Group to survey businesses, university leaders and students on trends across the mainframe landscape. The survey covered several topics, including but not limited to talent acquisition, curriculum and development skills offerings, as well as priority areas of focus for students studying mainframe.

The Futurum Group found that 60% of organizations surveyed indicated they work closely with industry vendors that offer bootcamps, trainings or apprenticeship programs to connect with skilled applicants. They also found a healthy pipeline of demand for talent, with 91% of the organizations surveyed indicating they anticipate hiring mainframe system administrators or mainframe application developers over the next 1 to 2 years. The full report, 2024 Global Mainframe Skills Report: Insights from Industry and Educational Experts will be released on 6 May 2024.

Mainframe Skills Council

To bring the broader global community together to continue to build skills, IBM announced the launch of the Mainframe Skills Council. This council will provide a forum where global organizations work together, creating an exciting opportunity to unite the community, share experiences and collaboratively implement solutions to build a strong global workforce for the mainframe platform.

Members include representatives from IBM clients, IBM partners, academia, user groups, nonprofits and open communities.

The council framework will include working groups that are focused on career awareness, role-based competency frameworks, learning paths and ongoing talent growth. This council builds upon the many IBM mainframe skills programs already in place.

Accessible learning is a cornerstone of the IBM approach

In addition to traditional academic curriculum, IBM also turned to nontraditional paths beyond the classic classroom to inspire, connect, train and grow new mainframe talent. These programs include:

  • IBM Z Student Ambassadors: At close to 100 universities, these on-campus ambassadors inspire students by hosting events and establishing and leading mainframe student clubs.
  • IBM Z Career Connection Events:These events bring employers and students together. The IBM Z Xplore learning experience is introduced to encourage students to earn digital credentials and pursue a mainframe career.
  • IBM Z Virtual Career Fairs: These events connect badged mainframe talent with employers. In fact, IBM is sponsoring Virtual Career Fairs around the globe throughout April and May.
  • Mainframe Skills Depot: This new comprehensive platform offers over 1,000 hours of hands-on, self-paced mainframe training courses organized by job roles. Whether you are new to system administration or app development or you want to deepen your skills, this platform has something to offer. There is also content for modernization architects wanting to explore capabilities to integrate and modernize applications.
  • IBM Z Global Skills Accelerator and Apprenticeship: This program is available to mainframe employers for new or existing employees and is a holistic approach to build skills without requiring employees to have any IT background or education. With over 300 hours of learning, success coaching, on-the-job training and mentorship, this program enabled 83 global employers to skill up over 440 new mainframe system administrators and application developers.

Today, addressing mainframe skills extends beyond education and training. IBM also introduced new strategies and technologies to address the number of specialized skills required:

  • Simplification. We are constantly looking to simplify processes across the hardware and software stack to reduce the number of specialized activities that are required to operate and maintain the system.
  • Standardization. We have been investing in adopting open and industry standards across the IBM Z platform.
  • AI and automation. We are working to leverage AI to automate tasks that currently require manual intervention. For example, we are starting the journey to infuse AI into z/OS®.

IBM’s mainframe skills programs are intended to provide an opportunity for everyone—from beginners to experts. Whether you are looking to expand your capabilities or share your knowledge with others, IBM skills programs can help our community connect and succeed.

Inspire, connect, train and grow with IBM Z Skills
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