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LYIT Students 'Masters' of UK & Ireland Mainframe Technologies Competition

LYIT students win top awards at IBM competition

Master the Mainframe 2016Damian English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, recently spoke about the continued demand for IT professionals commenting, “The demand for IT skills is something I note in particular.  I am keen to see all levels of our education system respond proactively to address this evident skills need.”

With an evident skills shortage in the ICT sector and a growing demand for a new generation of enterprise computing professionals, the IBM Master the Mainframe competition provides students with an exciting opportunity to gain real world experience using enterprise computing skills.  The contest is open to UK and Irish students providing them with the type of challenges aimed at narrowing the skills gap in this area.  Michael Carey, Lecturer in the Department of Business Studies at LYIT, co-ordinated the participation by LYIT students in this competition, “I felt that the IBM Master the Mainframe competition provided students with the ‘perfect-fit’ challenge in mainframe technologies.  I was lucky to have two captive class groups interested in participating in the contest which gave LYIT students an opportunity to harness their skills.  The first group of LYIT students who participated in the contest were studying for a Certificate in Mainframe Technologies.  This programme, entirely funded by Springboard, was developed by LYIT and delivered at the General Motors site, in Dooradoyle, Limerick.  These students were eager to be challenged with ‘real-world’ scenarios. The second group of LYIT students are currently studying for a Higher Diploma in Financial Services Technologies at the Letterkenny campus.  Both of these student groups undertook this contest outside of their structured academic programme and it is fair to say that their performance excelled all expectations - beyond our belief."

Department of Business Studies students Daragh Matthews and Edward Devlin were awarded 1st and 3rd places respectively in the final part of the competition.  LYIT also received 13 honourable mentions in the final category of the competition, the highest number recorded by any of the participating institutions or universities.  Daragh commented, “Having completed a Higher Diploma in Software Development, I enrolled in a Mainframe Development course at LYIT.  The course was intensive, but it gave me a good base for competing in the Master the Mainframe competition.  Through the contest I was exposed to a host of new mainframe concepts and technologies.  The contest gave me an understanding of the power of the mainframe and how the mainframe is being utilised for present-day and emerging trends. It was enjoyable to work in such a broad array of mainframe areas. Since completing my course I have started a new job as a Mainframe Application Programmer with General Motors."  According to James Flynn, IBM Ireland, “Letterkenny Institute of Technology has an impressive track record in educating mainframe technologies, with 200 students, dating back to 2005, co-operating with a number of companies including IBM. Today’s mainframes are growing in popularity and require a new generation of mainframe experts. By participating in an IBM Master the Mainframe contest (LYIT) students will be equipped with basic skills that make them more competitive for jobs in the enterprise computing industry.”

The IBM Master the Mainframe competition is divided into 3 parts: the first part, ‘Breaking the Ice’, allows students to acquaint themselves with managing the mainframe and introduces them to basic mainframe concepts. The second part of the contest is ‘Practical Experience’ which harnesses the skills learnt in part one where the students performed extensive programming and application development, as well as gaining hands-on experience with multiple operating systems. Finally, what is considered the most challenging part, is the ‘real world challenge’.  This part requires the students to work over weeks and months. It was this ‘real life system’ section that identified LYIT students as the most driven and determined in the competition.

Patricia Doherty, Head of Department of Business Studies, outlined, “Demand for skilled graduates in mainframe technologies continues to grow.  All students studying the Certificate in Mainframe Technologies have now been employed by General Motors in Limerick.  The Higher Diploma in Financial Services Technologies programme delivered in LYIT has a 100% employment record with most graduates gaining employment locally in Pramerica and Allstate.  LYIT places a strong emphasis on shaping graduates for industry and the IBM Master the Mainframe contest provides students with the situational and scenario based challenges that they can expect encounter in industry.  To see so many LYIT Business Studies students succeed at the highest level in this competition, overcoming competition from the likes of the University of Glasgow and the University of Southampton, is a testament to both the quality of students passing through our programmes, but also to the blended learning environment being provided by LYIT. We are so proud of the success of these LYIT students.”

The award winners will now be welcomed at a prize giving event at IBM European Headquarters in Hursley, United Kingdom, where they will be presented with their prizes and celebrated by leading lights in industry.

Caption: Patricia Doherty, Head of Department of Business Studies, and Michael Carey, Lecturer, are pictured with the Letterkenny campus award winners from the recent ‘IBM Master the Mainframe’ competition.  L-R: Jordan Thompson (Carrowkeel, Sligo), Sharon Ormond (Letterkenny), Eamon Muldowney (Portrane, Dublin) and Romit Singh (Letterkenny).



Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:29:00 GMT

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