Mastering the Mainframe in the era of trust and security

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More than ever, our clients are turning to IBM Z® and LinuxONE to take advantage of our highly secure technology to help protect their businesses. For young people in 2019, it’s this same explosion of focus on security that has them turning to the mainframe.

This year, we’re proud to announce that over 18,000 students, a record number of applicants, registered for the Master the Mainframe contest. In our 14th year, we also saw an impressive 95 percent of participants who were new to the contest–demonstrating a growing interest for the platform that powers many of the world’s top companies, up 26 percent from last year.

Matthew Bowen, Columbus State University, North America

Yuto Isogami, Waseda University, Japan

Anna McKee, University of North Texas, North America

“For me, IBM Z and security go hand in hand,” said Matthew Bowen, one winner of this year’s Master the Mainframe. “Recently, my school began to offer more cybersecurity courses in addition to their mainframe courses. Knowing that gaining this experience can help me prepare for a job at a top company focused on protecting their data with the strongest capabilities available is very exciting. As a developer, you need to be focused on protecting data–and what better way to do that than on a technology that has proven itself for more than 50 years.”

Run by AngelHack, a female-owned, female-majority company with a developer community of 150,000, the competition is sponsored by the IBM Z Academic Initiative, which has provided mainframe education and resources to students at more than 1,000 schools in 70 countries. By participating, students learn, prepare for careers and have the opportunity to win prizes.

“IBM’s Master the Mainframe is one of the only student competitions that has garnered and grown interest from the mainframe developer community year over year,” said Kristen Scheven, CMO of AngelHack. “Mainframes and the security resources provided continue to excite this audience, and the skillset learned is something that every developer can benefit from in their career.”

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Murilo Branquinho de Andrade Pintor

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Diego de Franco Matos

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Abdullah Zafar

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Brian Zhou

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Soumyadeep Bhattacharjee

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Simona Saitta

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Apurv Todkar

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Abhinav Prakash Singh

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Ryoya Sotokawa

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  • Murilo Branquinho de Andrade Pintor, Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos, Latin America
  • Diego de Franco Matos, Faculdade de Tecnologia da Baixada Santista Rubens Lara, Latin America
  • Abdullah Zafar, National University of Sciences, Middle East and Africa
  • Brian Zhou, University of Bourmedes, Middle East and Africa
  • Soumyadeep Bhattacharjee, University of Stuttgart, Europe
  • Simona Saitta, Politecnico di Torino, Europe
  • Apurv Todkar, Vellore Institute of Technology, Asia Pacific
  • Abhinav Prakash Singh, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Asia Pacific
  • Ryoya Sotokawa, University of Tokyo, Japan

According to Gartner, “by 2020, 75 percent of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to infrastructure and operations skills gaps, which is an increase from less than 20 percent in 2016.”[1] However, with programs like Master the Mainframe and the recent launch of the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, IBM is working to close this gap.

Master the Mainframe hits the heart of that movement from an infrastructure and operations perspective… this contest builds skills around that part of IT.

In today’s ultra-competitive job environment, Master the Mainframe provides a path to employment at today’s top companies–from all over the world.  IBM works closely with companies around the globe to identify roles for Master the Mainframe candidates with our clients and partners as well as hiring them internally.

One large financial organization states that “the value that we see from the Academic Initiative program is that it helps to inform our efforts to bring in interns that many times become full-time employees. We are able to identify the schools that are teaching mainframe classes so that we can select the interns we believe will be successful.  If we see that the intern has participated in the Master the Mainframe contest, then we know this is a student that will go above and beyond what’s required.”

We’re also taking steps to help our clients to better close their skill gap by providing an Employer Resource Center around hiring for infrastructure and operations roles–drilling down into five key areas we know top companies struggle with most including talent acquisition, learning and development, and retirement and retention.

Closing the skills gap is a collective effort. By sharing our key learnings from our own experience as well as clients and partners in this area, we hope we can inspire our clients to think differently about these topics, and ultimately work together to make progress and create change. As a starting point, IBM is making a commitment to hire nearly 500 apprentices over the next year.[2]

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Learn more about the IBM Z Academic Initiative and the Master the Mainframe contest.

[1] Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Says I&O Skills Gap Will Cause 75 Percent of Organizations to Experience Visible Business Disruptions by 2020, March 27, 2018 


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