I first heard about the Master the Mainframe
contest when I was studying introduction to the mainframe at college. That year, even though I had already taken a mainframe course, I decided not to enter the contest because I feared it was going to be difficult to complete all of the requirements. Knowing the contest now, this is something I regret. Don’t make the same mistake!
Last year, I decided to participate in the contest, and while working on the first part, I got a mainframe co-op position at a bank in Canada. In my case, this sparked more of my curiosity about mainframe. I still remembered a few things from college, but I wanted to learn more about it. By this time, I had a different mentality, and I decided I was going take it as a learning opportunity.
To my surprise, the first two parts guide you through the challenges, and I was able to be in the first 75 participants to successfully complete them. This made me feel good and confident enough to proceed with part three-–not to mention it meant I was going get a bag of goodies in addition to the T-shirt. Like I mentioned before, after completing the first two parts, I knew I was going be able to tackle part three and do a good job. I started working right away on the challenges for the third part. I felt that some were simple and others required more thinking, but nothing feels better than figuring out how to complete them and be able to move on.
I have dedicated a lot of time answering the challenges that, at first, I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. But as the time passed, I realized it made me excited and positive that mainframe could indeed be in my future plans, something that had never crossed my mind. I truly enjoyed the ride and the outcome of it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to know that I had gotten third place in the competition. I met great people and had quite an awesome time at SHARE.
The people I was working with during my co-op were surprised and happy to see I took the initiative to patriciate and was eager to learn more about it, as some of them had never heard of it. I am currently working full time in mainframe at the bank. I encourage everyone to register and participate in Master the Mainframe contest. Give it a try. You might end up liking it and end up considering mainframe as part of your career.
Cindy Diaz currently works at a bank in Canada. In fall 2016 as a student at Georgian College, she placed third in the IBM Academic Initiative Master the Mainframe for North America. Read more about her experience.