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Master the Mainframe World Championship: Leaders announced heading into the final week!
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By Deon Newman, Vice President, Marketing, IBM System z
We are one week away from the grand finale of the first-ever IBM Master the Mainframe World Championship! Over the past three weeks, we've seen some amazing work from the 43 students from 23 countries who are currently logging into a zEnterprise EC12 system to complete the difficult technical challenges in the remote portion of the contest.
This weekend, the students will begin arriving in New York City, where they will compete head-to-head for the title of IBM Master the Mainframe World Champion. The first in-person event will take place at IBM Poughkeepsie, a fitting venue for students to compete face-to-face for the first time. After the initial round of the in-person competition, students will tour the manufacturing facilities where the newest zEnterprise systems are assembled, and visit some of the massive raised floors where these machines are tested.
They'll then return to New York City for the final round of the competition at the IBM facilities on Madison Ave. A panel of expert judges from world-class companies and academic institutions will judge the students' work and decide the ultimate winners. Don't miss the livestream of the Mainframe50 event on April 8 in New York City. All of the students will be in attendance, and the winners will be recognized on-stage!
We've had a lot of movement in the standings since last week, bringing two new students into the top three. Heading into the final week of competition, the current leaders are:
Rijnard van Tonder, South Africa (holding onto the top spot for two straight weeks!)
Rijnard van Tonder is pursuing a Master's degree in Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He was drawn to the Master the Mainframe contest because of the problem solving in the context of systems - specifically involving Unix, terminal text editors and programming. In addition to coding and researching embedded device security, Rijnard also enjoys snowboarding!
Shahini Sengupta, India (up from 12th position last week!)
Shahini Sengupta is a Information Technology major at the RCC Institute of Information Technology in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Shahini really enjoyed her previous time competing in Master the Mainframe as she was required to face new challenges. Shahini eagerly awaits the World Championship because it'll help her test her skills even further and satisfy her quest for more knowledge about the mainframe. Shahini also enjoys painting, dancing, and various sports.
Raphael Kiminya Laibuni, Kenya (up from 8th position last week!)
Raphael Kiminya is an Information Technology student at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. This is his first time competing in Master the Mainframe. Raphael loves programming simply because it allows him to work late into the night debugging code, and solving problems in the process. He also loves creative writing, and coding brings together his creativity and problem solving. Raphael is excited about competing in the World Championship to learn about new technology, meet exciting people, and face coding challenges!
Kenya and South Africa ran their first Master the Mainframe Contests earlier this year, and their students have taken two of the top three spots in the World Championship - a very impressive start for the Master the Mainframe program in Africa!
You can find out more about all of the 43 students and follow their progress on the online leaderboard. Good luck to all of our Mainframe Masters in New York City!
Deon Newman is Vice President, Marketing for IBM System z. He is responsible for worldwide brand management and marketing strategy to develop the position of the System z brand in the market, drive global awareness, interest, and demand. Previously, Mr. Newman served as Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM Systems & Technology Group, North America, responsible for driving the North America marketplace leadership and results of the IBM Systems portfolio, marketing strategy and execution. Prior to that, he served as the Worldwide Marketing Director for SOA and IBM WebSphere and as the Worldwide Director of Sales and Marketing for System z Software. Deon joined IBM in 1991 in Melbourne, Australia, and during his IBM career, has held a number of marketing and sales leadership positions across Asia, Europe, the U.S. as well as in a worldwide capacity.