Universities Tackle Mainframes in IT Courses

Five universities--four in the United States and one in China--have teamed up with IBM's Silicon Valley Lab to deliver courses in information technology focused on mainframes. The aim of the collaboration is to help boost the number of qualified IT professionals entering the workforce, with particular emphasis on skills like database administration, SOA, and virtualization.

The collaboration includes three California State University campuses--Long Beach, Sacramento, and San Jose--along with Illinois State University and Tongji University in Shanghai, China. The IBM Silicon Valley Lab is overseeing the collaboration.

"In a fast paced, globally integrated business world, IT skills are important for a wide range of graduates around the world. In particular Computer Science and Computer Engineering graduates should have these skills as well as IT and MIS graduates," said Kenneth Louden, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science at San Jose State University, in a statement released last week. "This is why it is crucial for academia and the industry to work together to get these skills into the classroom, whether it is China or Silicon Valley, and whether it is CS or IT."

The collaboration will result in four courses total. San Jose State and Tongji University are already offering an Intro to DB2 for z/OS course, which students will complete this fall or spring. CSULB and Illinois State will begin offering the course this winter through their Enterprise Computing programs. Other courses will be introduced at all the participating universities toward the end of this year through 2009. These include Application Development for DB2 on System z, Optimization and SQL Performance for DB2 for z/OS, and DB2 for z/OS Database Administration.

"IBM is building skills for globally integrated enterprises by fostering collaboration between worldwide academic teams who are developing enhanced courses on skill areas that are in increasing demand, such as database engineering and mainframe experts," said Gene Fuh, distinguished engineer at IBM Silicon Valley Lab. "As companies have grown more complex, there is a need to have a more detailed understanding of data generated by the organization. Helping companies unlock the value of data is what IBM's Information on Demand strategy is all about. Since IBM has built a track record of growing mainframe and database skills in emerging markets, the company is teaming with California's state universities to do the same in this hot job market area."

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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