IBM developing next generation of mainframe professionals

IBM launches Massive Open Onine Courses (MOOCs) at 50th anniversary event to train next generation of mainframe students

IBM has announced three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in a bid to develop the next generation of mainframe professionals.

IBM’s MOOCs are being provided free, through partnerships with Syracuse University, Marist College and the Linux Foundation.

The announcement was made at the supplier’s Mainframe50 event in New York this week, held to mark IBM’s 50th anniversary of the mainframe. Some 500 people from 38 countries gathered for the anniversary celebration. 

Steve Mills, senior vice-president, sales and distribution at IBM, said: “It’s been 50 years for the mainframe, but we’re really at the beginning of how the technology will continue to change our lives. The mainframe is the workhorse of businesses around the world.”

Mainframe skills development

During the event, Pat Toole, general manager, IBM System z at IBM, said: “There is a skills challenge in our industry – in attracting young people to understand and add value to those in businesses [and] skilling up those already in the workforce.”

The event also showcased the winners of IBM's Master of the Mainframe World Championship 2014, in which 20,000 students participated across 38 countries.

The students work remotely, receiving training from IBM zEnterprise instructors on how the platform supports cloud, big data and analytics, mobile and security initiatives. Competitors are then tasked to build a business application on the mainframe.

The 2014 championship winner was Yong-Siang Shih from National Taiwan University.

Master of the Mainframe 2012 winner Dontrell Harris was present to reveal how he is now a mainframe capacity and performance analyst at Metlife.

“Taking part in the competition has helped me achieved a lot of things and has really changed my life,” he said.

In addition, seven years ago IBM launched its IBM Academic Initiative, which develops enterprise computing skills to aid students in having exposure to IT job opportunities and careers in the sector. 

Since its launch, IBM has worked with more than 180,000 students at over 1,000 schools in 70 countries.

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