IBM has announced the start of its Master the Mainframe competition in Nairobi, Kenya. The IBM Master the Mainframe Contest, part of the company's System z Academic Initiative, lets students around the world take charge of world-class zEnterprise computing platforms and showcase their talents, while learning sought-after enterprise computing skills.
The competition, which is open to students from all Kenyan universities, has already attracted entries from students at local universities. As a three-part contest which is taking place in a number of countries, Master the Mainframe serves as an introduction to programming and application development and students require no initial mainframe experience to participate. Through the contest, students learn everything from how to log onto mainframe environments to developing code and problem solving.
“Mainframes have always been at the center of the global economy as well as the backbone of most cities infrastructures. Today, mainframes are growing in popularity as technology evolves, demanding more open, scalable and secure solutions and platforms for cloud, mobile and big data analytics,” said Felix Orondo, Team Leader for the Master the Mainframe initiative in Kenya.
The fact that 90 percent of the world’s data has been developed over the past few years will mean that advanced systems such as the mainframe continue to be critical tools of success for businesses, especially for those in growth markets such as Kenya.
The mainframe has been responsible for powering several key advances in technology in Africa. For example, the Ministry of Finance in Senegal brought all of its import and export processes from across the country on-line with System z, and is now recovering 30% of Gross National Product, which amounts to two billion Senegalese francs in customs revenue every day. Through the process, the Ministry increased the performance of its systems by 70%, reduced power consumption by 20% and cut operating costs by 30%.
Contestants in the Master the Mainframe competition will gain hands-on experience with a wide array of mainframe technologies, including REXX, Java and Linux on System z, among many others. As students complete each part of the contest, judges evaluate their results and reward those who move on to the next, more difficult phase. The goal of IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest is to provide students with the mainframe skills necessary to find those unique and exciting jobs. In 2013, IBM trained over 59,000 students worldwide on the mainframe.
Students who enter the competition also have the opportunity to identify job opportunities supporting mainframe environments. To help in this process, IBM has created Systemzjobs.com. The job board is a resource to link IBM System z clients and partners with students and professionals seeking System z job opportunities and regularly features over 1,000 mainframe-related jobs.
The contest is open to students who are currently taking at least 3 school credits. Students and teachers can register for the IBM Master the Mainframe Contest by clicking here.