Master the


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It’s back! One of the largest student competition in the world has returned for its 14th year with new prizes and new challenges for students around the world.

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

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

Register Today
View Master the Mainframe 2017 Winners



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


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!

  • 93 of the top 100 banks use the mainframe
  • Over 3/4 of top WW enterprises across key industries of banking, travel & transportation, retail and insurance run on IBM Z
  • IBM Z builds on the capabilities of the world’s most powerful transaction engine at the center of global commerce today supporting:
  • 87 percent of all credit card transactions and nearly $8 trillion payments a year.
  • 29 billion ATM transactions each year, worth nearly $5 billion per day.
  • Four billion passenger flights each year.
  • More than 30 billion transactions per day – more than the number of Google searches every day.
  • 68 percent of the world’s production workloads at only six percent of the total IT cost.

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.

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?

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