Where are the young Saudi masters of the Mainframe?


Imagine a technology that works so well, you never even know you’re using it. The mainframe computer is a “behind the scenes” technology that remains relevant and crucial to many of the tasks we take for granted – even though it’s 50 years old. From automatic banking transactions to airline reservations, the mainframe computer is part of the information technology foundation that makes modern life possible.

Over the last 50 years, the mainframe has been the backbone of some of the world’s most critical and sensitive workloads and industries. Unceasingly adapting to evolving trends, the IBM Mainframe secures the era of cloud, analytics, mobile and social. In fact 92 of the top 100 worldwide banks, 21 of the top 25 Insurance organizations, 23 of the top 25 retailers and the majority of credit card transactions rely on the IBM Mainframe, the only commercial platform with EAL5 security classification.

In April, IBM brought students from countries around the world to New York City to compete in a premier enterprise coding event, “The IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship.” In this first-of-its-kind global competition, competitors sharpened their programming skills, cultivated advanced development tools and learned how the mainframe platform supports the applications and data essential to the digital age. Using that knowledge, the competitors were tasked to build a business application on the mainframe. First Place went to Yong-Siang Shih, National Taiwan University and Second Place was won by Rijnard van Tonder, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

No student from the Arab World competed in the coding event in New York City. Moreover, while Mainframe contests are planned for 2014-2015 for many developed countries and even developing nations such as China, India, Mexico, Kenya and South Africa – not a single competition is scheduled yet in the Arab World.

Succeeding on a Smarter Planet requires not only the right enterprise systems, storage and software, but also a staff of IT professionals that are smart, hardworking, forward-thinking and globally aware. This work force will need to meet multiple challenges associated with issues of large-scale systems integration and automation. Saudi students aren’t becoming the mainframe experts that the Kingdom needs to help companies and organizations leverage the superior security, availability, scalability and efficiency of the mainframe in support of core business processes as well as new and growing services.

Students, educators, parents or organizations looking to get involved in “Master the Mainframe” should contact zskills@us.ibm.com






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