IBM announced that more than 1,000 schools around the world are teaching students mainframe skills, both assisting students in getting jobs in big systems environments and extending the life of the mainframe.
IBM officials said 1,067 schools worldwide are recognizing the vast number of job opportunities available in enterprise computing and the importance of teaching students key systems technology like the IBM System z mainframe. Spanning 66 countries from the United States to China and India, these 1,067 schools are teaching courses and offering labs in IBM's mainframe technology.
Known as the IBM System z Academic Initiative, the program allows schools either to use their own mainframe resources or access them at no cost from IBM using cloud computing technologies. The program also provides remote access to non-IBM software that runs on the mainframe, enabling professors to demonstrate more software applications for System z. IBM's cloud delivery model gives schools anytime anywhere access to mainframe resources.
Additionally, schools no longer need to maintain enterprise systems environments on campus to expose students to commercial systems like the IBM mainframe.
The combination of enterprise computing knowledge with practical hands-on exposure is becoming more important in equipping students to compete in a global economy, IBM officials said. Using the System z mainframe, professors in the program are exposing students to the enterprise computing environments that are solving some of the world's most complex and demanding computing challenges. Companies continue to seek enterprise systems expertise in order to centralize IT resources and implement faster, more secure and smarter computing environments, IBM said.
For example, as a pioneer in mainframe education, China's Tongji University hosts a System z mainframe education center in Shanghai. The university offers seven mainframe courses that were selected by the Ministry of Education China and IBM. These courses are promoted nationwide and are shared worldwide at no cost.
"Our mainframe courses get hundreds of student registrations per year and each year more than 20 graduates earn positions with IBM and its mainframe customers, including Chinese banks, Morgan Stanley, Atos, First Data, among others. The students have proven themselves very competent in their fields and are highly welcomed by the employers." said Zhen Gao, assistant professor and director of IBM Technology Center at Tongji University, in a statement.
Also, leading financial institutions in the United States have hired students from the IBM System z Academic Initiative, including Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Bank of America and Citigroup, among others.
"DTCC employed graduates from the IBM System z Academic Initiative at University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) after meeting with students at various DTCC informational sessions," said Anthony Dolan, information technology director at DTCC, in a statement. "As system programmers, they perform a wide variety of tasks for DTCC, including writing Assembler programs, working with WebSphere Application Server and installing software and automating systems. We are pleased to have the talent, commitment and enthusiasm from the UMES graduates on our team."
"As a recent graduate in a challenging economic environment, my training on System z proved invaluable in getting employed by a leading financial services company like Bank of America," said Justin Briggs, systems programmer at Bank of America, in a statement. "Now I'm enjoying all the professional growth possibilities of a company using powerful technologies, hiring world-class talent and driving industry changing innovation."
To help connect employers to students and professionals with mainframe skills, earlier this year IBM announced SystemzJobs.com. The job board currently has more than 2,000 users and postings for approximately 1,500 mainframe job openings, more than half of which are in the United States, IBM said.
For high school and college students with no formal enterprise systems education, IBM's System z Academic Initiative also includes a worldwide contest called Master The Mainframe. This contest provides students with remote access to mainframes via cloud computing for them to learn and perform a series of progressively challenging exercises, done in the classroom, at home, or anywhere access to the Internet is available. Since its inception in 2005, IBM student mainframe contests have run across 32 countries and attracted more than 43,000 student entries from 4,021 schools for thousands of prizes, like XBox 360s, Nintendo Wiis, iPods, pre-paid debit cards, and trips to IBM's Research & Development Centers to see the System z mainframe.
For more information about IBM's System z Academic Initiative, go to: ibm.com/university/systemz. And for details on the 2011 Master the Mainframe Contest, go to: http://www.ibm.com/university/contest.