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IBM Teams With Universities in California, Illinois and China to Help Students Prepare for Careers in Business and IT

September 22, 2008

Researchers at IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Silicon Valley Lab have teamed with educators from San Jose State University, California State University Long Beach and Sacramento State University campuses, Illinois State University and Tongii University in Shanghai, China to develop new courses that provide students with marketable business and IT skills for the mainframe.

This first-ever collaboration of this type between IBM and these universities will help increase and prepare 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 increased 60 percent since 2004. This amounted to about 16,220 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Employers are seeking job candidates with a balance of business skills such as consulting and management combined with specific “hot” mainframe skills including database administration, SOA and virtualization, to fill these positions.

IBM and the partner universities are creating four 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.

This project is part of IBM’s continued commitment to cultivate and grow opportunities for database engineers, systems integrators, and business process consulting experts for the mainframe computing environment.

This Fall and Spring, San Jose State University expects several dozen students to complete its newly created Intro to DB2 for z/OS course which is also currently being taught at Tongjii University in Shanghai, China. California State University in Long Beach and Illinois State University both plan to incorporate the course into their respective Enterprise Computing programs this winter with other schools to follow. The remaining three courses will be available later this year and into 2009 at all four institutions. Topics include: Application Development for DB2 on System z and Optimization and SQL Performance for DB2 for z/OS. IBM is currently putting a team together to develop a fourth course called DB2 for z/OS Database Administration to be completed in Fall, 2009.

All courses were developed by the cross IBM – University team focused on developing key skills such as using and configuring DB2 and database applications on the mainframe.

“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 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 hot job market area.”

“IBM’s first ever academic collaboration to develop courses that combine the complexities of databases and mainframes will give students an opportunity to get exposed to the kind of in-depth knowledge that will set them apart from their peers,” says Amy Cho, a graduate student from San Jose State University who is preparing for a career in database quality assurance. “It’s difficult for a company to hire new graduates that have no knowledge of these systems whatsoever. They’ll have an advantage if they take these well structured classes to ease them into the industry.”

Besides teaming on all four courses, San Jose State University is one of the first schools in California to implement a new interdisciplinary approach to curriculum design called Science Service Management and Engineering (SSME) with over 60 students taking part so far. The SSME approach gives business students exposure to key IT skills, while engineering students obtain a greater understanding of business dynamics. As a result, employers can tap higher value job candidates for IT positions.

Similarly, more than 300 business students at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University and the University of Southern California are now learning Business Process Management (BPM) skills with IBM’s “serious video game” called Innov8. Innov8 simulates real-world business challenges using a video game environment to bridge gaps in understanding between business leaders and IT teams in an organization. As the ‘gamer’ generation enters business, computer science and engineering college classes, professors are using IBM’s Innov8 as a teaching tool to attract and maintain student interest in services science such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management (BPM).

“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. 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,” said Kenneth Louden, Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at San Jose State University.

Virtual access to DB2 for z Skills

IBM Academic Initiative members can now participate in the new Information Management instructor-led, online (ILO) training courses focused on data management. These courses allow members to interact with the instructor and other students in a remote classroom environment enabled by Citrix software. Students can also use voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) to communicate with instructors and classmates — saving travel time and travel costs while advancing their skills. These resources can be found at: http://www.ibm.com/university/scholars/products/data/education.html

In addition, two of the courses developed by international academic teams on the topics of Application Development and Optimization and SQL Performance covering both DB2 and System z will also be offered online in 2009 through IBM’s Academic Initiative’s website.

IBM Academic Initiative faculty members world-wide can access over 1000 other hardware, software and services training resources at no cost by visiting: ibm.com/university/scholars/academicinitiative/

IBM Academic Initiative members may also participate in hands-on training sessions at any of its 40 IBM Innovation Centers worldwide. For more information, visit: www.ibm.com/partnerworld/innovationcenters.

 Media Relations Contacts:  Jennifer C. Clemente IBM Software Group Tel: 919 418 6169 Email: jennic@us.ibm.com  Lizette Kodama IBM Software Group Tel: 914-766-1347 Email: lkodama@us.ibm.com

SOURCE: IBM