Master the Mainframe Fuels a New Generation of Enterprise IT Leaders

SHARE in Anaheim wasn’t the only exciting System z event to kick-off Monday. The date also marked the launch of IBM’s Master the Mainframe World Championship, an enterprise computing competition among 43 students from 23 countries across the globe.

These students are, as IBM dubbed them, the “mainframe all-stars.” They rose to the top as regional winners this year among 20,000 competitors with their exceptional mainframe programming skills. And now they’ll get to showcase those skills to the world.

“It’s just a tremendous story,” said Pat Toole, IBM general manager for System z, who noted the competition during his SHARE in Anaheim keynote address. Starting Monday, the students dug into a challenging zEnterprise competition designed to enhance their skills and demonstrate the role the mainframe plays in the cloud, big data and analytics, mobile and security initiatives.

Then the fun really starts.

Over the course of subsequent weeks, the students will build their own business application on the mainframe, which will be judged by a panel of IT experts on April 7 in New York City. The winners will be crowned April 8 during IBM’s Mainframe50 Anniversary.

Master the Mainframe started in 2005 as part of IBM’s System z Academic Initiative, a rigorous curriculum designed to prepare the next generation of enterprise technology leaders. More than 68,000 students from 1,000 schools in 67 countries have participated in the program.

SHARE supports and supplements IBM's Academic Initiative efforts with zNextGen. zNextGen is a user-driven community of more than 900 members, representing 24 countries. Its resources help advance professional development skills for new and emerging System z specialists.

“We’re recruiting, teaching and developing the future pool of Generation z talent,” Toole said.