Master the Mainframe

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The largest student mainframe competition in the world has finished its 13th year in a row with new prizes and new challenges for students around the world.

Win prizes while gaining unique skills that will land you a career in Fortune 500 companies around the world! No experience needed!

Top 3 Overall Winners

Anna McKee

I am currently a student at the University of North Texas pursuing two degrees, Business Computers Information Systems and Decision Sciences. I have had summer internships in mainframe and in cybersecurity.

Murilo Andrade

Murilo Andrade from Brazil, started his professional life as an intern in a computer store when he was 16 yo. While attending civil engineering college, acted as a freelancer of computer-aided designs and buildings’ projects. He has been engaged in the Master the Mainframe contests for 3 consecutive editions. Currently working in a public office, he intends to pursue an IT career upon completion of college.

Sebastian Wind

I’m currently doing my master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Leipzig. Besides my studies I work with the European Mainframe Academy and the Academic Mainframe Consortium. I’m very proud to have my own Enterprise Class Mainframe since 2017.

Regional Winners

Brendan Early

UT High School
United States

Tring Chu

Nagoya University

Hiroyuki Fuchiue

RWTH Aachen University

Diego DeFranco

FATEC Rubens Lara

Christian Ziegler

Hochschule Coburg

David Ntekim-Rex

University of Lagos

Salisu Ali

Bayero University Kano

Prince Dey

RCC Institute of Information Technology

Dinesh Poudel

Tribhuwan University



Part 1 Prizes: Snag your Swag

  • $25 USD Amazon/Alibaba Gift Card for 750 contestants, taken from the first 3000 accepted challenges (a 1 in 4 chance) that are 100% correct.

Part 2 Prizes: Indulge Yourself

  • $100 USD Mastercard/Visa Gift Cards for the first 200 challenges that are 100% correct.

Part 3 Prizes: Show Off Your Talent

  • The top 2 individuals from EACH region (N. America, Latin America, S. Asia, APAC, MEA, and Europe) will win a $2750 travel stipend to visit the head office of IBM in their region and meet with key executives and recruiters on their project.
  • Each winning individual will receive a “Master the Mainframe Global Winner” Hoodie.
  • The top three individuals globally will receive an HTC Vive worth $799 USD.


Part 1: Learn the Basics

Meet the IBM Z mainframe and acquaint yourself with the user interfaces, the basic concepts, and data structures. IBM will provide step by step instructions to complete the challenges and set you up for success in Part 2.

Part 2: Practice

Students will program (advanced commands, system setup, and system navigation), develop (C, JAVA, COBOL, assembler, and REXX) and experience operating systems challenges on IBM Z.

Part 3: Try Challenges

Dive deeper using real life scenarios encountered by experienced systems programmers. Challenges 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. Learn more about the contest history

Why Master the Mainframe?

Industry relies on the mainframe for their speed, reliability, scalability, and unmatched security. Mainframes are critical to the success of a wide range of industries for high-speed cloud computing, real-time analytics, and more, just look at the numbers!

  • 80% of the world’s data
  • 44 out of the top 50 worldwide banks
  • 10 out of the top 10 insurers
  • 18 out of the top 25 retailers
  • 90% of the largest airlines
  • 87% of all credit card transactions ($7.7 trillion per year)

Learn why mainframes matter

Master the Mainframe and you’ll be taking a giant step toward developing critical skills that are in hot demand by the world’s largest and most respected companies.

Meet the new faces of IBM Z.  


Besides the awesome prizes, you can get unprecedented exposure to a variety of systems, software, and products. You can earn an Enterprise Computing Open Badge for your resume and social presences to impress potential employers. Yup, that’s right. This competition 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.

Ready to participate?

All you need to do is register and you’ll be on the first part of your journey towards Mastering the Mainframe.