Georgian student places second in annual IBM mainframe contest
January 30, 2012

Not only did Georgian student Nathan Voth complete IBM‘s Master the Mainframe contest in a record 12 days, but he has placed second overall and will be visiting their Poughkeepsie, NY, mainframe lab March 28 to 30 to meet IBM executives and engineers and tour the mainframe plant.

Nathan, a second year Computer Programmer student, was one of 3,936 students from 400 schools across Canada and the US who participated in the three-part contest over the fall semester.

“I’m thrilled to have placed second. This is such a great win not just for me, but also for Georgian College,” says Nathan, who is completing his co-op in Corporate Marketing and Communications at the college as a Social Media Marketing Assistant. “To have done this well with such stiff competition from institutions such as MIT and Harvard really makes me feel like I’ve chosen the right school.”

Nathan completed parts one and two of the contest as a mandatory assignment in the Introduction to Mainframe course. On a whim, he decided to finish the third part of the contest, which involved tasks taken from real-life situations encountered by experienced systems programmers.

“Nathan did an outstanding job competing against thousands of other college and university students from a lot of the best technical institutions in North America,” says Ross Bigelow, program co-ordinator in the School of Computer Studies. “These sorts of competitions are extremely important as they help students develop strong industry connections. I am sure Nathan’s performance will inspire many students to continue to do well.”

Close to 200 students studying computer programming, networking and network systems security at Georgian put Barrie on the map this year. There were more contestants registered from Barrie than any other Canadian post-secondary institution. On top of that, only one American university had more students enter the contest.

After learning how to log on to a mainframe system, students tackled increasingly difficult challenges, with the prizes getting larger at each level of completion. Topics covered included JCL, SDSF, UNIX System Services, Rational Developer for System z, JAVA, DB2, REXX, C, COBOL and various system programming concepts and techniques.

Eight Georgian students, including Nathan, received 100 per cent on part two of the contest: Paul Bialo, Patrick Bouchard, Ryan Coulter, Alan Jeffrey, Brandon McLellan, Scott Montgomery and Matt Sloper.

For more information about the Master the Mainframe contest, visit the IBM website.