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IBM, CSULB Team to Students More Marketable in Workplace

Published: October 13, 2008

Educators at CSULB and researchers at IBM’s Silicon Valley Lab are teaming up in an effort to provide students with marketable business and IT skills in mainframe technology and to increase the number of qualified job candidates entering the workforce.

According to labor analysis firm SkillPROOF, the average number of job openings for IT professionals in California grew to 16,220 this year, up more than 60 percent since 2004. To fill these positions, employers are seeking job candidates with a balance of business skills, such as consulting and management, combined with specific mainframe skills, including database administration, SOA and virtualization.

“These courses will fill a gap in computer science education that exists because curriculum of this nature does not exist and access to mainframe technology is not readily available to universities,” said Alvaro Monge, a professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at CSULB. “Courses that use mainframe technology will give students marketable skills that are sought by industry in many sectors of the economy, particularly by financial institutions.”

IBM, CSULB and several other universities are creating courses focused on using and configuring IBM’s DB2 and database applications running on the IBM System z mainframe, the most powerful enterprise computer platform in the world today.

CSULB plans to incorporate a newly created “DB2 for z/OS” course into its curriculum in the spring. Three additional courses created by the partnership also will be available to incorporate into existing courses in the curriculum. Those course topics will include “Application Development for DB2 on System z” and “Optimization and SQL Performance for DB2 for z/OS.” IBM is developing a fourth course called “DB2 for z/OS Database Administration” to be completed for fall 2009.

All the courses will focus on developing key skills such as using and configuring DB2 and database applications on the mainframe.

The partnership with CSULB reflects IBM’s continued commitment to cultivate and grow opportunities for database engineers, systems integrators and business process consulting experts for the mainframe computing environment.

“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, an engineer at IBM Silicon Valley Lab who oversees the collaboration. “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 job market area.”