Students as well as non-students can participate, but only students can win some fantastic prizes (Apple Watches, a Raspberry Pi kits and a “Master the Mainframe” T-shirt).
The contest consists of three parts
Part one: Breaking the ice
IBM will provide contestants with screenshots and directions to guide students on exactly what to do. This helps acquaint each contestant with navigating the mainframe user interface, introduce them to basic mainframe concepts, and get each student more comfortable with different aspects of the mainframe.
Part two: Practical experience
Utilizing the skills each contestant learned in Part One, the students will perform extensive programming (advanced commands, system setup, and advanced system navigation) and application developing (C, JAVA, COBOL, assembler and REXX) tasks, as well as hands-on experience with multiple operating systems (Linux on z Systems, z/VM, z/OS, z/TPF).
Part three: Real-world challenge
This is the most challenging stage and requires the contestants to work over weeks and months. Tasks from this stage are taken from real life situations encountered by experienced systems programmers, along with challenges designed to identify the contestants with the most drive and determination.