IBM is about to hold its sixth annual "Master the Mainframe" competition, where high school and college students learn mainframe skills and IT expertise as they compete for prizes. The competition is an effort by IBM to help groom a new generation of mainframe and enterprise IT workers.
has announced its sixth annual "Master
competition, which is aimed at helping to familiarize
students with large systems and other concepts for the enterprise computing
the name indicates, the competition is largely focused on large enterprise
systems, namely the mainframe. The contest has grown rapidly since its
inception in 2005, with nearly 22,000 students from 17 countries having
participated. Last year, more than 3,000 students from the United
States and Canada
participated in the contest, nearly double the amount from the previous year.
Other countries to host Master the Mainframe competitions this year include France,
Brazil, the United
Kingdom and the Netherlands.
most students, the Master the Mainframe contest provides an introduction to IBM's
, which IBM claims is the world's most
powerful and energy efficient server
. Representing an investment of more
than $1.5 billion in IBM research and
development, the zEnterprise system is ideally suited to help clients address
their most pressing business issues. The zEnterprise system is also the first
system that allows workloads on mainframe, Power7 and System x servers to share
resources and be managed as a single, virtualized system.
an explosion of data from electronic sensors, the Internet, governance and compliance
requirements is expected to lead to a 650 percent increase in the amount of
data companies must manage, process and store over the next five years, IBM
said. The Master the Mainframe contest is designed to equip students with
skills to make them more competitive for jobs with businesses facing these
computers have become a core part of the social fabric, especially for today's
high school students who are likely the first generation not to remember when a
computer wasn't a normal part of daily life. Thinking of a teenager's computer
use sparks images of updating Facebook, Tweeting, downloading iTunes or playing
IBM is hoping to smash the stereotype of how
youngsters spend time on the Internet, at least at Lake
Brantley High School,
just outside Orlando, Fla.
More than 150 students from Lake Brantley
will participate in IBM's Master the
Mainframe contest this year.
being introduced to the contest, many students are not aware of the mainframe
and its role as the Information Technology backbone for many of the world's
largest businesses," Mary Williams, principal of Lake
Brantley High School,
said in a statement. "This year, we have more than 150 students
participating in the Master the Mainframe competition, not as part of required
classroom curriculum, but as additional work outside of normal school hours on
students' own time. Now, many of these students have expressed significant
interest in exploring career opportunities involving the IBM
System z Mainframe."
Brantley computer science and
physics teacher Seth Reichelson was introduced to the Master the Mainframe
Competition several years ago by a student, he said. Since then, Reichelson has
offered all his students the opportunity to participate in the contest on their
IT knowledge is not required to participate in the Master the Mainframe
competition, which starts off educating students on basic concepts before
moving to increasingly difficult tasks. Prizes are given after the completion
of each of three levels. Prizes include T-shirts, cash and iPads. Grand Prize
winners receive a trip to IBM's mainframe
manufacturing facility and the opportunity to meet senior IBM
competing against older college students on complicated computer science
subject matter may seem daunting for most high-schoolers, the students at Lake
Brantley have embraced the
challenge. For this year's competition, they have set a goal of winning all 60
cash prizes available for being the first 60 entrants to complete the first two
rounds of the competition, a win that could net Lake Brantley High students up
to $6,000 in cash, Principal Williams said.
prizes aren't necessarily the main benefit, Williams said. Masked by a contest,
IBM is helping to get students to learn
outside of the classroom and on their own time, she said. Students
participating often turn to other students for help if needed. Thus, in
addition to learning about the mainframe, students' self-esteem is increased by
learning to solve problems as a group without involving teachers or parents,
help Lake Brantley
reach its goal, the School has arranged for a "field trip" on Oct. 4
and 5 after school from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. to the Lake Brantely High School Media
Center and Plato Lab, which houses more than 100 PCs. Here, students will be
able to spend up to 14 hours of their own time working on becoming the first 60
students to complete the first two phases of the contest.
officials said a key challenge for students entering the workforce over the
next couple of years will be to use systems like the zEnterprise to address the
jumble of disparate technologies added to corporate data centers over time to
run specific applications and which operate in silos, sometimes unable to
communicate with each other.
the students' familiarity with the process grows, they are asked to acquaint
themselves with and operate the mainframe user interface, perform systems
programming and application development tasks, and handle real-life situations
encountered by experienced systems programmers. Registered students will be
able to remotely connect into an IBM mainframe
from anywhere they can access the Internet, IBM
contest is part of IBM's Academic Initiative
for System z program, a project by IBM to align
with academic institutions and businesses across the globe to develop mainframe
and large enterprise skills for future employment with Fortune 500 companies
worldwide. The Academic Initiative for System z program has now worked with
more than 700 colleges and universities around the world.
for students is now open. The competition will run from Oct. 4 through Dec. 28.
The winners will be announced on or about Feb. 2, 2011. Students can log on to
the following Website to register for the competition and receive full