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IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship Exposes Top Students to Analytics and Data Storage

Master the Mainframe, Antonio Alvarez Rodriquez
Antonio Alvarez Rodriguez 2016 Master The Mainframe World Champion-Photo by Leah Fasten

“The contest gave me the opportunity to refine my skills and access a huge amount of data to practice,” he says. He also liked being exposed to the z Systems platform. “I’m fascinated by the mainframe; it’s been around 50 years and can still compete with today’s computers and even be ahead of them.”

Bjorn Gernert of Germany enjoys that the contest allows participants “to think differently to describe a problem in a way a mainframe understands. Also, lots of different techniques and tools-virtualization, databases, programming languages, etc.—are coming together and need to be handled. Gaining new knowledge about systems,looking at problems from a different angle and improving myself by finding solutions is what drives me on.”

Champion Rodriquez notes the creative thinking involved in preparation for the final challenge built upon on what they had learned during the contest. The contestants brought together technical and programming skills with analytics, real-world data and their own insights. “I think having to be creative is always the best learning experience one can receive,” he explains.

Getting Students Involved

More students are getting involved and interested in the mainframe. The contest has expanded every year adding regional contests throughout the world. Find a local contest going on now or soon in “Find a Contest,” right.

Additionally, IBM has opened the Master the Mainframe contest learning system to anyone around the world wishing to gain extra experience or to try his or her hand in mainframe challenges in a controlled environment.

By participating, students gain exposure to the mainframe and its technologies, and get the attention of clients looking for mainframe talent. That’s because clients know that students participating in a Master the Mainframe contest already have a passion for and understanding of the z Systems platform, Crutcher says.

“While they don’t have a lot of depth in one area, we are producing students who have some technical proficiency in quite a few different areas, so they don’t need as much training when they start at a company,” he notes.

With that kind of opportunity for both clients and participants, everyone is a champion.

Valerie Dennis Craven is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor.



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