No Motivation Gap in Mainframe Learning

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We sat down for a few minutes at SHARE in Orlando to chat with Cameron Seay of the North Carolina A&T computer science department and two bright undergraduate students from that institution, both of whom are majoring in computer science with a particular focus on the mainframe. North Carolina A&T is a member of the group "Enterprise Computing Community," or ECC. To learn more about the ECC's mission to train a new generation of large systems computer professionals, visit the group's website at ECC is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

For those who may remain skeptical about the degree of interest today's undergraduate college students have in the mainframe, we can put that notion to rest. "Our students at North Carolina A&T come to school to get work and between 60% and 70% are first-in-family to attend college," observed Seay. For James Spencer, a senior focusing on the mainframe and attending his first SHARE conference, the experience was "the chance of a lifetime." Spencer's interest in the mainframe came into focus when he learned through the school's computer science program of the IBM mainframe's large and enduring enterprise market share. But in addition to the career opportunity presented by mainframe expertise, junior computer science major Jack Harris likened his ability to navigate the "green screen" to his gaming experience - "It's a ‘game' I know how to play, and it's also something I know that not a lot of other people do." Individuality and opportunity - leave it to motivated young people to define the future and let's give credit to education leaders in the ECC and elsewhere for showing the way.

For a copy of the Unisphere Research report: "Closing the IT Skills Gap: 2011 SHARE Survey for Guiding University and College IT Agendas," email

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