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Master the Mainframe Announces This Year's Winners

By | March 31, 2021


Written by Jeff Bisti, IBM Z Ecosystem Architect 

Master the Mainframe is the world’s largest IBM Z competition for students. Open to high school and university students all around the globe, it offers contestants the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience working on a live z/OS system. The contest is open to all skill levels – No Experience Necessary. Students just need the desire to learn more about enterprise computing.

The contest starts out with simple step-by-step instructions that guide the students through system fundamentals like JCL, USS, and data sets.  Once the basic groundwork is set, the contest gradually increases in breadth and difficulty until participants are writing Python, COBOL and REXX, creating Ansible playbooks, and debugging DFSMS commands.

This year, represented many significant changes, most notably shifting the primary interface from 3270 terminal emulators to VS Code using the Zowe Explorer plugin. This enhancement made getting users connected and productive a breeze compared to previous years. The use of Zowe would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication, and guidance of the Open Mainframe Project. Starting with the strong display of Zowe’s functionality at Winter SHARE 2020, which led to the creation of Open Mainframe Project’s COBOL Training Course, the capabilities of the code and the people behind it were proven time and time again.

For the contest’s final grand challenge, participants were tasked with dreaming up their own self-assigned projects and bringing them to reality with the help of any of the technology introduced during the contest. For many of the finalists, this was their first time ever using z/OS. Yet, they have managed to create solutions that grabbed the attention of seasoned mainframe professionals in professional capacities around the world.

A big draw of Master the Mainframe is meeting the latest crop of superstars who will undoubtedly go on to influence the world of enterprise computing. They inspire and challenge us to keep this platform adapting to the latest needs by driving new features, improvements, and fresh perspectives in all corners of the industry.

This year, the tradition continues, and the Master the Mainframe team is proud to announce the latest batch of finalists and winners on the IBM Z Global Student Hub here: