Master the


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The 14th Annual Master the Mainframe Competition has ended. Thank you and congratulations to the thousands of students that participated this year. Whether you finished one part or all three, we thank you for adding Master the Mainframe to your list of advancements towards your future career.

If you missed out this year or want to be the first to know about what we have in store for the 15th Annual Master the Mainframe Competition, please pre-register below.

Competition Ends at 11:59pm PT, December 31st, 2018

Pre-Register for 2019 MTM
View Master the Mainframe 2018 Winners
View Master the Mainframe 2017 Winners

2018 Prizes


Part 1 “Learn the Basics” Prizes:

  • $25 gift card to 300 randomly chosen from first 2,000 completions


Part 2 “Practice” Prizes:

  • Cash Prizes
    • $100 gift card to first 150 to complete
  • Exclusive QTUM Computer Webinar and Q&A Invite
    • Invite to randomly chosen 25 from all those that finish Part 2 correctly


Part 3 “Real World Challenge” Prizes:

  • $2750 travel stipend & IBM Master the Mainframe Hoodie to the top 2 individuals from EACH region


Grand Prize

  • The top 3 individuals globally will receive a $1,000 USD prize pack

How Does it work?

  • Part 1: Learn the Basics
    Meet the platform used by top companies around the world to run their most business critical applications.  Learn how to access a user interface, the basic concepts of mainframe programing, and the fundamentals of what differentiates the mainframe from other platforms. IBM will provide step by step instructions to complete the challenges and set you up for success in Part 2.
  • Part 2: Practice
    Continue your mainframe skills journey learning how to program with languages such as JAVA, C, COBOL and REXX. Learn JCL and assembly language to navigate the mainframe environment using advanced commands, system security tools and system navigation tools.  Earn the Part 2 IBM Digital Badge to showcase your new skills to employers around the world.
  • Part 3: Real World Challenge
    Dive even deeper into the mainframe using real life scenarios encountered by experienced systems programmers. Data Analytics, creative problem solving and knowledge gained in Part 1 and Part 2 challenges will help build out the final challenges.  Part 3 will put contestants to the test and identify those with the most drive and determination to Master the Mainframe.

What is the Master the Mainframe Contest?

This unique, virtual contest is open globally to high school and college students to progressively teach mainframe skills in a real world enterprise computing environment. Employers from around the globe use this contest to seek out potential candidates for mainframe careers.  

Find out more here

Why compete?

Obtain unprecedented exposure to a wide variety of enterprise systems, software, and products. Earn an Enterprise Computing Open Badge to put on your resume or social media pages so potential employers can easily find you.  Yup, that’s right – this is one competition that can even land you a job!

Who can compete?

Anyone who is currently a student at the high school or university level can compete — no experience is necessary. The contest teaches the skills you’ll need and the competition difficulty increases as you progress through the contest phases. For more information on eligibility please reference the PA which can be found here.

Ready to participate?

Pre- Registration for the 15th Annual Master the Mainframe Competition is open. Please sign up here to be the first to know about the 2019 competition.