IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest…
IBM has been running “Master the Mainframe,” an annual contest designed to teach students to code and build new innovations on the mainframe, since 2005. This year almost 17,000 students joined the competition, driven by a desire to experiment with a brand-new technology to them (a mainframe), as well as the non-threatening, no-experience-required environment where a student can develop a skill in a teachable, virtual environment.
A look at the demographics of this year’s event reveals some real eye-openers:
-80 percent of the registrants were new to the program;
-The average age was 22 -with participants as young as 13 and as old as 68; also,
-23 percent of participants were female.
The 80 percent number is notable because it reflects high interest in the mainframe and its revitalization. The average age is interesting because even 22 year-olds (or thereabouts – millennials…) want to experiment with the big machines: mainframes. But the 23 percent number is equally compelling – females, who usually do not pursue careers in technology, made up almost a quarter of the registrants.
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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.