IBM Skills Program Reaches Record Number of Next-Generation IT Professionals

ARMONK, N.Y. - 09 Oct 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today an expansion of its developer skills training program that will reach a record number of students worldwide this year with the Master the Mainframe programming contest. In addition, for the first time, the company and academic partners will provide aspiring developers access to the world’s fastest Linux system via the cloud at no cost.

IBM Launches LinuxONE Developer Cloud for Programmers

Marist College School of Computer Science & Mathematics students (from left) Paula Batoon, Dominic Rosillo and Charles Hall inspect the school's IBM LinuxONE system. Marist is one of three universities around the world that will host the IBM LinuxONE Developer Cloud, which provides developers access to a virtual IBM LinuxONE at no cost to create and test applications. IBM also is working with academic and corporate partners to host a Master the Mainframe programming contest in 47 countries this year to reach next-generation developers. (Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Open to secondary and university level schools around the globe, the Master the Mainframe contest will take place this year in a record 47 countries, including 18 new markets. The contest, being held in most countries October through December, asks students to complete a series of challenges from gaining a basic understanding of an enterprise operating system to coding a program that addresses a real-world IT problem. More than 13,000 students are expected to compete this year with regional winners advancing to the 2016 World Championship.

IBM is also working with Marist College , Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and Leipzig University in Germany to launch the LinuxONE Developer Cloud this fall. The new program will provide developers around the world access at no charge through the cloud to a LinuxONE system that can be used for creating and testing applications. The developer cloud will be hosted on IBM LinuxONE systems at the academic partners. The Marist LinuxONE Developer Cloud will go live in late October with Syracuse and Leipzig to follow.

Launched in August, LinuxONE is a new family of systems, software and services that includes the industry’s fastest, most advanced system for the Linux environment. LinuxONE is enabled for a range of open-source and popular tools from independent software vendors, including Docker, Apache Spark, MongoDB, MariaDB and PostgreSQL.[1]

“Attracting and training the next generation of developers is critical to continue advancing technology to make our world work better,” said Ross Mauri, General Manager, IBM z Systems. “We are inspiring students to get more involved in technology by providing them access to the latest technology through programs such as Master the Mainframe and the IBM LinuxONE Developer Cloud, so they can explore opportunities, gain new skills and create new innovations.”

The Master the Mainframe contest and LinuxONE Developer Cloud are part of a broader IBM z Systems Academic Initiative. The program has grown to more than 1,400 partner academic institutions in 70 countries worldwide working with IBM and its clients on developer skills training programs.

The expansion of the Academic Initiative comes as job prospects remain strong for the next generation of developers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , employment opportunities for software developers are expected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, double the rate for all occupations. The IBM z Systems Job Connector website, designed to support employers and candidates interested in filling or finding enterprise computing jobs connected to IBM z Systems technology, has seen participation from over 700 companies and 7,000 job seekers in recent years. In 2015, job seeker activity at the site is up 176 percent year over year and employer enrollments are up 20 percent.

“Global institutions of all kinds rely on mainframes to process, manage and store ever-increasing amounts of data, creating a rising demand for professionals with the skills to support these systems,” said Bryan Smith, CTO at Rocket Software , an IBM Business Partner that recently helped develop mainframe-focused programs at Framingham State University and Wentworth Institute of Technology. “By supporting the Academic Initiative, we can help ensure that students have the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to qualify for these employment opportunities.”

The 2015 Master the Mainframe contest will expand the reach of the competition to a projected 88,000 students since it started 11 years ago. The contest, which requires no prior programming experience, is expected to set a participation record this year as it expands to18 new markets, including Japan, Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Angola, Nigeria, Kuwait, Senegal, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, Pakistan, and Qatar.

While contest prizes vary by country, examples of prizes planned in the Fall include tablet computers, smart watches, Raspberry Pi’s, Bluetooth speakers, Internet of Things kits, and an all-expense-paid trip to the International IBM Center of Competence at Montpellier to meet with IBM executives and learn more about careers working in enterprise computing. All Master the Mainframe participants who complete the contest receive a Certificate of Completion.

For more information or to register for a Master the Mainframe contest, visit

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