IBM, Facebook and the mainframe: Growing a Big Iron following

IBM z10 mainframe

Pretty sure I would never have expected to see "mainframe" and "Facebook" in the same sentence but there it was.  While the page has been up there a while - the zSeries mainframe page has almost 600 Friends - IBM this week acknowledged it had created the page to further develop the mainframe community and of course attract university students to the world of Big Iron.   

On the subject of attracting new students to the ways of the mainframe world, IBM says its ZNextGen offering continues to grow. zNextGen, a community that IBM and its large user group Share worked together to launch in 2006.  IBM says approximately 550 schools worldwide have now joined IBM to offer coursework to some 42,000 students on the IBM System z mainframe.

IBM also noted that more than 1,000 students from Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada and China won prizes through the IBM student mainframe contests. In the United States and Canada, approximately 900 students advanced through progressively difficult computing questions and challenges. And in China, multiple teams from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Peking University and South China University of Technology won prizes for enterprise server projects.

Interestingly IBM touted its relationships with the beleaguered banking industry as one way it is building the mainframe community. For example it said students learning IBM mainframes are getting opportunities with banks, such as Citigroup.

"Citigroup is committed to building a strong talent pool to support our technology infrastructure with System z and ultimately to provide unparalleled service to our customers," said Martin Kennedy, managing director at Citigroup. "For the past 18 months, Citigroup has actively pursued job creation opportunities in mainframe computing."

I would think Citigroup might be worried about other things and it will be interesting to see if it and other banking institutions can continue to develop mainframe expertise.

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