Mainframes

Mainframe job opportunities drive nearly 20,000 to skills contest

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Possibilities in the cloud era spark global interest

Over the weekend, three winners emerged from a group of more than 18,000 students from 47 countries who competed in the largest-ever Master the Mainframe Contest, a programming competition in its eleventh year. The top three winners were among the nine finalists – students from all over the world – who demonstrated their enthusiasm for and mastery of the system that forms the backbone of the global economy.

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Master the Mainframe contest finalists work on their final projects at the IBM Innovation Space in San Francisco.

Master the Mainframe debuted in 2005 as part of the IBM Academic Initiative for z Systems, which aims to help meet the growing global demand for top technical talent. Master the Mainframe asks participants to complete a series of three increasingly difficult challenges, beginning with basic mainframe navigation to a project that addresses a real-world scenario. Open to secondary and university-level students around the world, participants often come in with no previous mainframe experience and learn about programming and application development for the first time.

IBM and our clients are constantly in search of promising new talent who can work with the core systems vital to the global economy. These winners – and all the students who participated in Master the Mainframe contests around the world – demonstrate the creativity and initiative that are needed to develop the next generation of innovation on the mainframe.

The global contests, most of which took place last year, drew record participation, showing widespread fascination with the mainframe. Eighteen countries hosted the contest for the first time. Sixty-five of the students who excelled in their regional contests competed in the 2016 Master the Mainframe World Championship, which kicked off in the spring with an elimination round to determine the top global finishers. These nine finalists convened last week at the IBM Innovation Space in San Francisco where they worked with Apache Spark analytics on the mainframe, analyzing millions of payment card transactions.

The contestants were judged on their technical explanation and accuracy, the innovative way in which they viewed the data and their presentation and communication skills. From there, we named the top three finishers and flew them to Las Vegas for IBM Edge, where they were recognized on stage today by IBM z Systems and LinuxONE General Manager Ross A. Mauri. Rocket Software, an IBM Business Partner, provided support for the World Championship including mentoring, and judging the winners.

The winners of the 2016 Master the Mainframe World Championships are:

  • First place: Antonio Alvarez Rodriguez, Universidad de A Coruña, Spain
  • Second place: Stephen Solis-Reyes, University of Western Ontario, Canada
  • Third place: Dong Pan, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China

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The three winners of the Master the Mainframe World Championship at the IBM z Systems Academic Initiative booth at IBM Edge 2016.

The other finalists who participated include:

  • Ferenc Bokros, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary
  • Bjoern Gernert, TU Braunschweig, Germany
  • Vladislav Gorbatiuk, National Technical University of Ukraine (KPI), Ukraine
  • Toni Pohl, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Stign Raes, Hogeschool Gent, Belgium
  • Lodewyk Van Der Westhuizen, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

With enterprise hybrid cloud adoption predicted to hit 80 percent by next year, advancing the infrastructure that supports it – and the skills to advance this infrastructure – is critical for today’s enterprise.[1] With programs like Master the Mainframe and the z Systems Academic Initiative, young developers have the opportunity to gain fluency on the infrastructure that supports some of the key research and technologies that are shaping the future.

“The tasks we were asked to complete throughout the duration of the contest opened my eyes to just how important and versatile the mainframe is to the advancement of cloud technologies,” said first-place finisher Antonio Alvarez Rodriguez. “Competing in Master the Mainframe allowed me to meet professionals working with this technology that I hope to work with for years to come.”

Learn more about the z Systems Academic Initiative, get to know the finalists and join our 2016 contest by visiting our website.

[1] Based on IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2016 Predictions — Mastering the Raw Material of Digital Transformation.

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