On the 21th of November the yearly GSE National Conference was held in the city of Almere with nearly 300 members attending. Traditionally, the main topics were about IBM Z and all that comes with it. And even though the audience is a well-known group of people there was a significant group of newcomers: 25 students from different High Schools within the BeNeLux attended the “IBM Z coding challenge”. A student track which was held for the first time this year with the purpose of engaging a new generation of developers in the world of IBM Z. The challenge was to create a running application on z/OS t using a combination of traditional IBM Z applications like CICS and modern coding language like Node.js.
All students were divided in teams and provided with an IBM Z environment running in the IBM lab in Montpellier, tools needed to create REST APIs and build a front-end application on z/OS to communicate to an existing CICS/COBOL environment.
With a minimum of guidance how to create an interface from and to the CICS application, the students had the most stunning code running in no-time. With the clock ticking in the background they were driven to make the most of it within the time given. While attendees from the GSE conference walked in, talked to the students and even helped them out every now and then, all teams were able to complete the challenge in time.
During the closing plenary session, all student teams needed to present a two-minute pitch of their product and outcome of the challenge. Eventually, all students took the stage together with Henk van Dasler, VP Payments at Rabobank, who announced the winning team and more importantly, encouraged all employees from the attending organisations to help create more initiatives in the future.
We all look back to a successful day at the GSE NL conference and there will most probably be a new challenge held soon. For more information and background feel free to contact me directly.