What is IBM Z Xplore?

The IBM Z Xplore Learning Platform (formerly called Master the Mainframe) is a fun way to get hands-on experience across a variety of technologies, to develop valuable skills, and to earn digital badges – with no prior knowledge required!

  • Fundamentals: Learn about data sets and how to use VS Code. Get introduced to coding languages such as JCL, Python, and USS.
  • Concepts: Get increased knowledge on security, uptime and enterprise scalability. Take a deeper look into subsystems, Db2 and RACF.
  • Advanced:  Experience hands-on learning around REXX, COBOL, Linux, VSAM, REGEX, JCL, Python, Db2 and more.
  • Extended: Develop skills with more hands-on learning surrounding TSO/ISPF, Node.js, Machine Learning and more.

IBM Z Xplore is available worldwide.

One great experience, two ways to get started

The IBM Z Xplore Learning Platform
Anyone can register to use IBM Z Xplore and earn IBM Digital Badges. The system is open year-round.

The IBM Z Student Contest powered by IBM Z Xplore
Students attending any accredited institution can register for the global virtual contest, compete for prizes, and earn badges. The contest will open September 2022.

The benefits

IBM Z Xplore introduces all participants to enterprise systems and inspires interest in mainframe technology.


  • Gain unique skills required for enterprise systems.
  • Learn how to code and build innovations using the mainframe.
  • Earn Digital Badges.
  • Find employment opportunities.


  • Take advantage of a graded, turnkey, hands-on project that is easily incorporated into curriculums
  • Get additional educator resources—including curricula, access to systems, e-learning, and more– through the IBM Z Academic Initiative


  • Connect with talented students who have earned Z Xplore Digital Badges using Talent Match and the job board.
  • Upskill and reskill your employees using the Learning System to introduce the mainframe.

Why mainframes?

  • In early 2018, Glassdoor listed over 6,380 U.S. "mainframe" jobs and Indeed listed 9,675 jobs in mainframe, COBOL, z/OS, JCL, CICS, and IMS.
  • The mainframe platform enables you to work on networking, analytics, databases, deep programming languages, and APIs — the full 360 degrees of IT.

The community

IBM Z Xplore learning platform and the IBM Z Student contest will grow a community of participants, employers and fans collaborating on new skills and career development. Learn more about the IBM Z Xplore learning platform and the IBM Z Student contest and ask questions in the IBM Z Global Student Hub.