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ULT and HSBC Global Technology Partner on Winning Mainframe Training


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Learn how ULT graduates get hired at HSBC Global Technology, and also at other major corporations throughout Brazil, Canada, Spain, India and the U.S. Those with mission-critical mainframe skills walk through the doors of these companies as “enterprise-ready” hires who for the most part only require an orientation to data center systems, policies and procedures before they start returning value. For more information on IBM System z, visit

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ULT and HSBC Global Technology Partner on Winning Mainframe Training

  1. 1. Transworld Data Case StudyULT and HSBC Global Technology Partner on Winning Mainframe TrainingIn a unique collaboration between an academic institution and an enterprise, ULT (LatinAmerican Technology Union) in Curitiba, Brazil, teamed with HSBC Global Technology todevelop a System z training program in Brazil that produces graduates with enterprise-readyskills for HSBC Global Technology, the technology arm of the HSBC Group, and for otherenterprises. The program enables ULT to offer students relevant technology education thatfavorably positions them for the job market.The stakes in the ULT program are high for HSBC Global Technology, which has 28,000employees in Brazil, and also a substantial local banking presence. HSBC GlobalTechnology relies on System z/zEnterprise computing for its mission-critical operations,and has one of its four worldwide technology development and support organizations,with over 700 employees, located in Curitiba. The success of this organization dependson being able to recruit and infuse fresh young talent capable of working on mainframe-class machines.“The head of HSBC Global Technology’s Human Resources Department for Technologyand Support came to me, and said that many of their mainframe employees were retiringand that they needed to educate and hire in young people with mainframe, COBOL andcommunications skills,” said Carlos Oliveira, President of ULT the beginning, the ULT-HSBC Global Technology synergy was there.Organizations like HSBC Global Technology focus on developing technology solutionsto support their end businesses. They do not specialize in developmental IT training,although they recognize that they require it. Conversely, an educational institution likeULT has instructional expertise. Both HSBC Global Technology and ULT felt that therewas an opportunity for ULT to develop a strong System z/zEnterprise curriculum and toadvance its goals of developing students so they will be prepared for the enterprise IT jobmarket. As a ULT business partner and sponsor that was integral to the process, HSBCGlobal Technology wanted to be the recipient of these enterprise-ready graduates.Copyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 1
  2. 2. Starting a System z Program Carlos Oliveira, President, ULT The initial challenge for both HSBC Global Technology and ULT was budget. HSBC Global Technology did not have a separate internal training budget that could fund the effort, and ULT could not begin the task of developing a new technology curriculum from the ground up and then hire instructors without some initial funding. This required creative thinking to overcome the complications. To offset ULT’s initial financial burden of developing a System z curriculum and hiringinstructors, HSBC Global Technology agreed to furnish the instructors, who already wereHSBC Global Technology-paid IT staff members. HSBC Global Technology also agreedto lend the HSBC Global Technology “brand” to the school. “As a result of this teameffort, we have some of the best COBOL and mainframe professionals teaching ourclasses,” said ULT’s Carlos Oliveira. “They are true evangelists. They love thetechnology, they are actual industry practitioners working inside of an enterprise, andthey share their enthusiasm with the students.”What neither organization anticipated was the overwhelming student response.As students became aware of the new System z technology curriculum at ULT, they alsobegan to see the job opportunities in enterprises for graduates with this type of training.Students responded overwhelmingly and enthusiastically to the program. Consequently,in the initial five-week enrollment period for the classes, ULT had 105 students enrolledin mainframe classes. “The IBM Academic Initiative program really took off,” saidOliveira. “The program had strong participation from the beginning, and students whodid well were hired by HSBC Global Technology.”Developing an Enterprise-Ready CurriculumAt the heart of the ULT-HSBC Global Technology effort was collaborative developmentof a purposeful curriculum that would give ULT a new technology program, equipstudents with skills that were highly sought in the enterprise IT job market in Brazil, anddeliver to HSBC Global Technology fresh talent for the mainframe side of its data center.Copyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 2
  3. 3. “We took a decidedly different approach to building and delivering the System zcurriculum,” said Oliveira. “From the very beginning, we were directly involved with thePresident of HSBC Global Technology, which is responsible for the bank’s softwaredevelopment. We wanted to produce enterprise technology-ready graduates from theprogram, and HSBC Global Technology wanted to hire them. Also from the beginning,we were under a great deal of pressure to make this program work very quickly.”Students were attracted to the program because courses were taught by mainframeinstructors who were expert technical practitioners in their own right in the HSBC GlobalTechnology mainframe environment. One of these instructors is Ricardo Silva, amainframe support analyst and trainer in HSBC Global Technology since 1993, and amainframe trainer in ULT since 2007.“I built a mainframe course covering various mainframe tools. The course was developedwith the objective of enabling students to be able to produce a system on a mainframeplatform,” said Silva.The curriculum is comprised of several courses:  Introduction to ZOS: Brief history and features of mainframe software and hardware.  TSO/ISPF: Discusses working with files on TSO (allocation, editing, copying, utilities, etc.). In this module, the student receives a userid to access TSO.  JCL: Covers all JCL statements necessary to develop systems in a batch environment, such as JOB, EXEC, DD, IF, PROCS, GDG, etc.  COBOL for z/OS: Covers all COBOL language for z/OS, including all access methods used by COBOL.  SQL: Relational theory concepts and DML/DDL commands.  DB2: DB2 concepts and SQL embedded in a COBOL program.  CICS: CICS concepts, map definition (BMS) and CICS APIs.The System z curriculum provides an excellent theoretical foundation for the mainframe,but it is also very hands-on and practical. The overall idea is to assist students in thedevelopment of their skills as mainframe programmers, but also to give them asufficiently sound foundation that will allow them to more effectively solve technicalproblems that they encounter because they have a deeper understanding of howeverything works together.Silva points to courses in COBOL, DB2 and CICS as examples of how students receivethis strong foundation, and then continue to build on that foundation with progressivelymore difficult “hands on” assignments. “In the COBOL course, students develop a small batch system,” Silva said. “They workon file consistency by updating a VSAM file, and then they build a report for a user. Inthe DB2 course, students change the COBOL program created in the previous COBOLcourse. They change their VSAM file to DB2 tables. In the CICS course, studentsCopyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 3
  4. 4. develop a small online system with CICS screens (BMS), using the database created inthe previous DB2 course.”The approach works. Almost every program graduate secures employment in anenterprise IT organization.Student Responsiveness and Enterprise ResultsSince ULT began offering mainframe courses four years ago, hundreds of students havegone through the program, including 115 students at the end of 2011.Like many young people entering into enterprise technology course work, ULT studentswalk through the door with some understanding of the PCs and the mobile devices thatthey have grown up with, but have limited understanding of the level of computingrequired to run large enterprises. “We recognize the importance of the System z programwhen we speak with young students entering the courses,” said Carlos Oliveira. “Mosthave no knowledge of mainframe computing, how important it is, and what it does.”Marcelo Liteka, a ULT student, is a good example.“Before the coursework at ULT, I did not know much about mainframe computing inpractice,” said Liteka, who took a year-long course at ULT on mainframe technologiesthat included z/OS, TSO, DB2, CICS, JCL and COBOL. “I had an understanding of theimportance of IBM mainframe tools on banking and large companies systems--but I wassurprised about how much more companies used mainframe computing. It was muchmore than I thought they did.”Today, Liteka is an IT banking employee. He uses the mainframe skills that he developedat ULT. “I work in a mainframe environment taking care of user access and the programlife cycle on Endevor. I also perform CICS maintenance, DB2 access and maintenance,and other maintenance related to the mainframe environment,” said Liteka “Themainframe skills I developed at ULT were the main reason why I got this job. Withoutthe mainframe education, I also would not have the necessary level of confidence neededfor the job I do today. All the training and the tutoring at ULT were highly valuable tome.”In another case, System z training at ULT allowed an employee to make a career change.Alessandra Moreira, a business analyst in HSBC Global Technology, took a ten-monthcourse at ULT in COBOL and the mainframe. “The course was instrumental in mysecuring employment with HSBC Global Technology,” said Moreira. “It gave me a greatopportunity and it allowed me to make the career change I wanted.”Copyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 4
  5. 5. The value of the ULT System z program is also being felt in enterprises in Brasil likeHSBC Global Technology, which hires 30 to 40 mainframe-trained students from ULTannually.“ULT has very high quality courses, and it is also very selective of the students whoenroll in them,,” said Caio Doi, Head of Human Resources at the HSBC GlobalTechnology Technology Center. “In other words, they are not just “selling” courses andtrying to get as many people enrolled as possible. Instead, they are making the effort toattract the best and brightest students into these subjects. Because of this, we find that theULT graduates who accept IT positions here at HSBC Global Technology are muchbetter trained and prepared than other recruits that come from outside of ULT.”Moving Forward with New StrategiesDeveloping a System z curriculum that is closely calibrated to the real-world workingneeds of enterprises has enhanced ULT’s reputation for real world results from theeducation that it offers. This has driven sizable annual student enrollments in theprogram, because students see the results and want to invest in an education that cansecure strong employment opportunities.Keeping these enterprise technology courses aligned with the needs of enterprises is thecornerstone of the program’s success. “We have had nothing but great results from thepartnership with Grupo Américas,” said HSBC Global Technology’s Caio Doi. “It’s goodwhen we can align academic studies with the skills needs of our jobs in the company.Doi said that HSBC Global Technology’s close affiliation with ULT has solved a criticalenterprise problem: securing excellent mainframe technology training for new andexisting employees. “By working closely with ULT, we are able to adapt the academiccurriculum to what we need, whether it is skills in the System z area, Java skills, or evenskills in English as a second language. We find that the technology curriculum is taughtso well that when ULT interns and graduates come to us, all we really need to do is to putthem through the basic orientation to our specific systems.”This program has succeeded so well that it has inspired ULT to extend the reach of itseducation. The school’s strategic direction is to convert its classroom courses to an onlinedistributed learning format that can be targeted to a larger marketplace where students inover 5,300 cities throughout Brazil (a country of over 50 million broadband users) canparticipate in online classes that feature mainframe technology. “We are movingaggressively in this direction, and this is the last year that we will be giving classes inclassrooms,” said Carlos Oliveira. “We believe that the future of technology curriculumis in online learning.”Others believe in the power of online learning, too. Last year, Oliveira presented ULT’sonline education model at the University of California. “What we showed them was themainframe program, which combines enterprise know-how with institutional educationCopyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 5
  6. 6. expertise to produce courses and then extends the reach of these courses by convertingthem to an online format that is available to anyone who has Internet and a broadbandconnection,” said Oliveira.The online learning utilizes Blackboard, a content management and learning tool thatallows a professor to communicate with students over the Internet via voice and text. Thesoftware can also deliver tests, grades, videos, other technical resources and even labsystem testing exercises. Most importantly, the program is working---and it is inspiringother institutions of higher learning to consider a similar methodology for technologycoursework.SummaryToday, ULT graduates get hired at HSBC Global Technology, and also at other majorcorporations throughout Brazil, Canada, Spain, India and the U.S. Those with mission-criticalmainframe skills walk through the doors of these companies as “enterprise-ready” hires who forthe most part only require an orientation to data center systems, policies and procedures beforethey start returning value.While this is happening, the worldwide higher education community is being scrutinized byenterprises and by students. Students want their educational investment to culminate in jobs, andindustry wants to see graduates who can quickly become productive in enterprise IT. Using itsclose partnership with HSBC Global Technology, ULT has become both a results-driven and aresults-producing institution, positioning it well in the worldwide drive to excellence in enterprisetechnology education.Copyright 2012 Transworld Data Research Tel (360)956-9536 6