IBM Helped Developers Master the Mainframe Through a Global Competition with AngelHack


Cloud Services



Virtual Hackathon

Black background image with blue logo, which addresses Master The Mainframe.


participants (yearly)






AngelHack, in partnership with IBM, revolutionized enterprise technology education through the “Master the Mainframe” (MTM) initiative. This program’s year-long journey highlights the challenges, solutions implemented, and the remarkable results achieved in bridging the enterprise skills gap.


The digital landscape craved enterprise technology skills, but traditional learning methods felt rigid and needed more engagement. IBM needed a dynamic approach to equip developers with the skills to master the powerful, often overlooked, mainframe platform.


AngelHack proposed MTM, a year-long global competition infused with innovative elements. MTM went beyond learning, offering:

  • Engaging Coding Challenges: Bite-sized, gamified challenges kept participants motivated, progressively testing and sharpening their mainframe skills.
  • Supportive Learning Community: A dedicated Slack channel fostered peer-to-peer learning and mentorship, creating a vibrant knowledge-sharing and troubleshooting space.
  • Grand Challenge Finale: A peak hackathon pitted finalists against real-world problems, demanding innovative solutions and showcasing skills to potential employers.
  • Active Recruitment Platform: MTM directly connected IBM and other recruiters with top performers, streamlining talent acquisition for enterprise roles.


The impact of MTM was phenomenal:

  • Reaching the Unreachable: Over 25,000 developers, hailing from 154 countries, embarked on the MTM journey, demonstrating its global appeal and effectiveness in attracting a diverse talent pool.
  • Community Flourishes: The Slack community witnessed a 4,000+ user growth, solidifying MTM as a thriving hub for knowledge exchange and peer support.
  • Skills Gap Bridged: Participants emerged with mainframe expertise, ready to contribute to the critical need for skilled professionals in the enterprise technology landscape.
  • Talent Pipeline Streamlined: IBM and other recruiters identified and engaged with top MTM performers, filling crucial enterprise roles directly from the competition pool.


The MTM success story offers valuable learnings for organizations seeking to bridge the tech skills gap:

  • Gamification Drives Engagement: Infusing learning with game mechanics can significantly boost participation, motivation, and knowledge retention.
  • Community Matters: Cultivating a supportive and interactive learning environment empowers participants and fosters lasting connections.
  • Recruitment Reimagined: Talent acquisition can seamlessly integrate into learning initiatives, providing employers with direct access to skilled individuals.


The collaboration between AngelHack and IBM showcases the power of forward-thinking partnerships in shaping the future of talent acquisition and workforce development.

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