Master the Mainframe

Powered by AngelHack, Sponsored by IBM

It’s back! The largest student mainframe competition in the world has returned for 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!!



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.  

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 resides on a mainframe
  • 44 out of the top 50 worldwide banks depend on the mainframe to run their mission-critical applications
  • 10 out of the top 10 insurers run on a mainframe
  • 18 out of the top 25 retailers rely on the mainframe
  • 87% of all credit card transactions ($7.7 trillion per year)
  • 90% of the largest airlines leverage the strengths of the mainframe.

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.  

Why compete?

(besides the awesome prizes) 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.

Ready to participate?

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