IBM has announced the UK and Ireland (UK&I) winners of its Master the Mainframe competition. The competition took place in Ireland which saw a 50% increase in participants from the UK&I. Interestingly, Ireland was one of 18 countries hosting this competition for the first time as IBM expanded this phase of the competition to include 47 countries.
According to David Stokes, Chief Executive, IBM UK & Ireland: “The Master the Mainframe contest is a great example of how the IBM mainframe, over half a century since its first release, continues to be a platform for innovation across the UK and Ireland. The increase in participation this year is a very positive indication that we can continue to identify key talent to address the ongoing and future technical needs of our clients and our digital economy.”
The competition is an interesting one. There is no requirement to have worked on or even be employed to work on a mainframe in order to enter it. It runs participants through a series of lessons to teach them about the mainframe and they are then given the opportunity to design their own app for the mainframe. This year the participants were designing an app that would run on the Linux for z environment and had access to Java and other open source tools for the mainframe.
This year’s UK and Ireland regional winners are:
- Edward Devlin, Letterkenny Institute of Technology
- Daragh Matthews, Letterkenny Institute of Technology
- Teodor Gherasim Nistor, University of Southampton
- Laura Sinkunaite, University of Glasgow
IBM set up the Master the Mainframe competition to address customer concerns over the falling numbers of people who understood and wanted to work on the mainframe. It has since added a jobs board to act as a recruitment opportunity between employers and those who want to work on the mainframe. With IBM recently reporting that sales of the platform continue to grow it perhaps explains the increased interest in the competition.
The next stage for all of the finalists is to take part in the wider European phase of the competition. The finalists will head for Dubai where they will compete for a place in the world finals. Those will take place in Las Vegas in September alongside IBM’s Edge conference.
Master the Mainframe has been good for IBM. It has brought new talent into the mainframe market and helped convince existing and potential customers that they are not buying a platform where staff will be hard to find.