Course Summary
This apprenticeship is federal/state registered
Credit Type:
Occupation Title:
Z System Support Apprenticeship
Type of Apprenticeship Program:
Estimated length of On the Job Training (OJT):
1 year
Estimated length of Related Training Instruction (RTI):
Dates Offered:
Credit Recommendation & Competencies
Level Credits (SH) Subject
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Business Communications
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Decision-Making
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Scripting Languages
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Computer Information Systems
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Introduction to Programming
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Computer Organization and Assembly Programming
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Networking fundamentals
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Information Management
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Information Systems Project Management
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Computer Applications
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Introduction to Databases
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 9 Internship in Information Technology, Systems Administration

Occupation Description:

Z System Support Technicians resolve issues in the mainframe computing and Z system space that impact IBM client business and they play a key role in enhancing the client experience. Technicians understand the clients’ business and technical needs and act as their trusted advisors for the successful deployment of IBM products. Technicians work in the Cognitive Support Platform, which is a ticketing system to track issues. They lead the problem resolution process through analysis and troubleshooting, to deploying workarounds or fixes. Technicians leverage and train IBM AI and other cognitive-based knowledge sources for high-quality and timely problem resolution. They create and reuse knowledge assets and content to promote client self-sufficiency. Technicians coordinate and collaborate with Development, Services, and Field teams to deliver solutions, and drive product quality, functionality, and useability improvements. They work as a team to consistently resolve issues faster, reduce risk, and prevent issues before they happen.

Program Description:

As a Z System Support Technician Apprentice at IBM, apprentices work with a seasoned group of engineers and mentors in supporting our clients’ systems.
The apprenticeship consists of two parts – technical learning and on-the-job training.
The technical learning helps apprentices build a knowledge base in mainframe architecture, z/OS products diagnostics, debugging, code readings, and interpreting IBM Assembler codes to understand the logic of the product supported. The apprenticeship includes certifications like the IBM Technical Support Professional and IBM z/OS Mainframe Practitioner. The technical learning also includes practical experience with the z/OS environment, including z/OS access and navigation of data sources; programming languages and JES spool using TSO, ISPF, JCL, SDSF, SSH, FTP, Unix Services, VSAM, IMS, DB2, Communications Server, RACF, and SMP/E; and identification of base components.
During on-the-job training, apprentices apply agile principles and practices, business and professional acumen skills, and leverage IBM Design Thinking practices to demonstrate high standards of problem-solving behaviors. Apprentices build strong connections with the support team and the client to provide a top tier client experience. Apprentices interact with clients to provide support via the ticketing system which combines forum-like communication and a live agent chat feature.
Z System Support Apprentices gain the skills to be well rounded technical support specialists who demonstrate strong communication skills, excellent teamwork and collaboration behaviors, solid technical skills in z/OS, and model good feedback behaviors. The program is a great pathway for a career within IBM’s technical support organization.

Program Objective:

The objective of this course is to prepare students for a career as a Z system support analyst at IBM

Learning Outcomes:

  • Business Communication: • demonstrate presentation skills • prepare effective business messages for culturally diverse audiences • communicate by written, oral, and visual methods • and compose clean and concise business letters, reports, memoranda, and emails.
  • Decision-Making: • use creative thinking to solve problems • develop strategies for risk analysis and risk mitigation • conduct situational analysis • use decision support systems • conduct backward planning • allocate resources to resolve problems • apply ethics to problem solving
  • Scripting Languages: • discuss the basic techniques used to create scripts for automating administrative tasks • employ regular expressions in processing text • demonstrate the use of scripting languages to manage applications using networks • explain how to use scripting language to process other application's data • show the use of scripting developing applications using networks and databases
  • Computer Information Systems: • describe basic concepts of information systems and computer networks • demonstrate knowledge of computer applications suite • demonstrate the use of Internet and email tools, apply the use of computers in a variety of environments
  • Introduction to Programming: • create programs using fundamental concepts • identify programming's role in cyber operations • create flow charts and design and implement pseudo-code to solve problems • identify variable types and strings • analyze, create and compile programs• describe the use of classes and objects in programming • explain vectors and create functions in programming languages.
  • Computer Organization and Assembly Programming: describe basic concepts of how modern computers (microcomputers to mainframes) work • describe the function of computer system components and how they are arranged • describe how computer system components interact to perform required operations • analyze, debug, and write basic assembly language programs and will be able to describe how high-level programming languages are implemented as basic assembly language • describe how an assembly program is translated into commands for execution on hardware • describe how data and instructions are represented with binary patterns • describe basic concepts of computer architecture.
  • Networking fundamentals: • define networking basics to include LAN, cabling and Ethernet• perform networking addressing • explain network communication protocols• define and apply the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to define data layers • perform basic network troubleshooting • employ IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and subnet masks.
  • Information Management: • identify the fundamentals of information management and the information management cycle (processes and activities) without the aid of references • manage information, ensuring the timely availability of information for analysis and the widest possible dissemination of raw and analyzed information • plan, collect and organize information, given scenarios of varied complexity • conduct a manager's briefing session to disseminate information to stakeholders with the aid of references, given a theme and automated and or non-automated resources, and classification guidance • and conduct an area assessment to validate, update, and provide additional data to fill existing information gaps from area studies and other sources
  • Information Systems Project Management: • appraise the principles and practices for organizing, allocating, and managing project resources • analyze the project management framework, including the stakeholders, domains, phases, processes, integration, and life cycle • examine the potential complexities and pitfalls in initiating and closing projects and assess methods to mitigate this risk • appraise the unique challenges in managing the scope, time, and cost of information technology (IT) projects • assess the principles, strategies, challenges, and measures for managing the quality and risk of IT projects • and analyze the phases, procedures, deliverables, and best practices for business systems analysis.
  • Computer Applications: • create, organize, and manage electronic files and folders • create, modify, and maintain word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation documents • use functions, formulas, and charts in documents, spreadsheets, and databases • and utilize applications and terminology effectively.
  • Introduction to Databases: • input data into forms • download data sets for analysis • develop SQL reports • administer updates to the database management system (DBMS) • and integrate the database with external systems.
  • Internship in Information Technology, Systems Administration: • analyze a complex computing problem and apply operating system administration principals and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions •analyze a complex computing problem and apply principles of programming and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions • evaluate the requirements for a specific system configuration and recommend solutions • based on the requirements, create the program to meet the objectives • function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the task • identify and analyze user needs then create, integrate solutions in the computing-based project • demonstrate the application of knowledge and skill sets acquired from the courses and workplace in the assigned job function • exhibit critical thinking and problem-solving skills by analyzing underlying issue/s and apply to project challenges • recommend ideas to improve work effectiveness and efficiency by analyzing requirements then considering viable options.
Instruction & Assessment

Instructional Strategies:

  • Audio Visual Materials
  • Classroom Exercise
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Computer Based Training
  • Discussion
  • Practical Exercises
  • Work-based Learning
  • Performance Rubrics (Checklists)
  • On-the-Job Training

Methods of Assessment:

  • Examinations
  • Performance Rubrics (Checklists)
  • Quizzes
Supplemental Materials