IBM is producing a set of videos that are quick conversations with a new generation of coders and creators on the mainframe. Watch RMU alumna Torrie McLaughlin, who works on the mainframe at a large financial institution, describe how COBOL is a key asset to her professional toolkit.
IBM, a worldwide leader in worldwide computing and technology, is hosting its 11th annual Master the Mainframe Contest.
What is it? Master the Mainframe is a contest that has been held every year for the past ten years. According to the FAQ section on IBM’s webpage, “no experience with mainframes is necessary. In fact, the contest is designed for students with little or no mainframe experience, increasing with difficulty as the contest progresses. Students just need to bring drive and competitive spirit and be ready to compete!”
Why should I participate? If you are even remotely interested in mainframe technology, you should consider signing up! Over the next decade, it is predicted that over 150,000+ mainframe professions will open up as current workers retire. Careers focused on mainframe technology start out at roughly double the average salary of other college majors. As was mentioned earlier, even if you have little to no mainframe experience, it wouldn’t hurt to register for the competition to see if you truly enjoy the material and possibly even win some prizes!
How do I sign up? Registration began on September 1st. The contest begins on October 1st and runs until December 31st. Registration can take place any time before the December 31st cutoff date! Here is the link:
One of the most important outcomes that can be attained through the contest is experience. As IBM states on their website, “Today’s mainframes are growing in popularity and require a new generation of mainframe experts. This contest is designed to equip students with basic skills to make them more competitive for jobs in the enterprise computing industry. Participation in the Master the Mainframe Contest could give you the edge you need.”
For the second year in a row, John Turchek, head of the Department of Computer and Information Systems (CIS), was awarded the IBM Faculty Award, a distinguished honor given to one full-time professor at an accredited university that offers degree programs in the nominee’s field.
IBM professionals nominated Turchek, professor of computer and information systems, because of his exceptional collaboration in research and teaching using IBM mainframes. The $40,000 award reflects the advancement and reputation of the Robert Morris CIS program in addition to Turchek’s numerous activities in the field, and must be used to enhance mainframe enterprise systems in some fashion. Turchek wants to use this year’s award for educational activities that will help meet the immediate demand for IBM mainframe enterprise systems professionals in the field.
(Excerpt from RMU News) See the full article here:
Congratulations, Professor Turchek!
IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest is a rigorous academic contest that involves learning mainframe technologies. The contest takes place in three parts – with each part getting significantly more difficult. It is difficult to finish Part 2 of the contest and extremely difficult to finish Part 3.
During last year’s contest, RMU had 18 students complete both Parts 1 and 2, which is a tremendous accomplishment! Three of those students went on to complete Part 3, the most rigorous part of the contest. To put this amazing accomplishment into perspective, only 50 students received Part 3 Honorable Mentions for completing Part 3, out of 4,900 participants.
Out of 4,900 competitors in the U.S. and Canada, RMU had the following results (see here for complete contest results):
- Part 3 Honorable Mentions: 3 of 50 Part 3 Honorable Mentions
- Part 2 Finishers: 18 of 313 Part 2 Finishers
We are proud to announce the following RMU winners for 2014:
RMU Part 3 Honorable Mentions
- David Conley
- Torrie McLaughlin
- Daniel Owiti
RMU Part 2 Finishers
- Ahmad Aljuryyed
- Timothy Brown
- Ashley Cain
- David Conley
- John Dummer
- David Harouse
- Kevin Kalan
- Monica Kodali
- Kory Kozlowski
- Anthony Kupchick
- Joan Lewis
- John Marcavage
- Torrie McLaughlin
- Daniel Owiti
- Samantha Reitz
- Melissa Roman
- Trapp Thompson
- Brandon Zink
David Conley, one of the Part 3 Honorable Mention winners, described the experience as a positive one, saying, “Part 3 of the contest involved sorting files by use of JCL commands, access to a DB2 database, and the creation of reports using data contained in that database. All are skills that will compliment what is learned in class , look good on a resume, and provide confidence in your new abilities.” David is a graduate student in the MS Information Systems Management program.
Torrie McLaughlin, another of the Part 3 Honorable Mention winners, had the following advice for other students, “I entered the contest because I thought it would be fun, and I enjoy games that test my intelligence. I would definitely recommend the contest for CIS majors of any type, not just Mainframe specific. It was lots of fun and a great experience.” Torrie is a student in the Integrated Bachelor/Masters program working toward an BS in Information Sciences and an MS in Competitive Intelligence Systems.
Daniel Owiti, the final of the Part 3 Honorable Mention winners, had much to share about his positive experience with the contest. He says, “When I joined Robert Morris University in 2012, a couple of my professors, in particular Dr. Kovacs, evangelized the growth and potential of IBM Mainframes and the increasing demand for Mainframe professionals. Despite having a misplaced notion of Mainframe being an old technology, my curiosity got the better of me and I enrolled in two enterprise classes in the Spring of 2014.”
He continues, “When asked to enter the IBM Master The Mainframe Contest, my first reaction was, ‘Will I have the time and energy to go through the rigors while working full time, attending classes and spare time for my family?’ But the constant encouragement of one Professor, Packy [Dr. Packy Laverty], led me to enter the ring and see what this contest was made of. My biggest motivation was just gaining knowledge rather than completing the contest. But once started all I said was ‘Aha!.. This is doable’ with each and every step I completed. Dr. Zeanchock’s very structured and easy to follow class helped a lot. I am very glad I took the contest and went on to be a Part 2 Finisher and a Part 3 Wall of Famer. Part 3 was most challenging but also the most practical and interesting to work on a real world business application. I would highly encourage students and anybody with a tech-curiosity to take part. I look forward to pursuing a career in IBM zEnterprise.” Daniel is a graduate student pursuing an MS in Internet Information Systems.
We are extremely proud of all of our students for their achievements in this contest and hope that even more CIS students will be interested in the contest in 2015. Great work, everyone!
This fall semester of 2014, IBM is encouraging all students from universities, and high schools to come join in their Master the Mainframe Contest. You might be thinking, well why would I sign up for that when I have no mainframe experience? No experience is exactly what IBM is looking for; all they want driven students who want to learn and have a good time. Registration opens on September 23 to December 31. The contest begins on October 6, and will continue to December 31 of 2014. There is still time to participate! If you’re not a computer geek looking to gain some experience and a possible career opportunity, there are also these prizes IBM is offering to its contestants:
- Master the Mainframe Custom T-Shirts
- IBM Swag Prize Packs
- Google Nexus Tablets
- All Expenses Paid Trip To Poughkeepsie, NY
- And More!!!!
There are three parts to this contest. First is Breaking the Ice, then Practical Experience, and Finally Real-life Case-based Experience. If there are some more questions you have about this contest; details can be found here:
Remember NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED. Come have fun with other students from around the world, learn about mainframes, and WIN PRIZES!