Unemployed Developers Eligible for Education Grant
Published: August 23, 2010
by Dan Burger
Jobs are scarce. Competition intense. Although predictions for the technology job market continue to be for double-digit growth for at least the next four years, it's the skills that will separate the sheep from the goats. Companies need skilled IT folks. But those skills aren't often the ones that were taught 20, 15, or even 10 years ago. Frequently, ongoing training hasn't kept pace either. The question is where will companies find newly skilled employees?
If you are on the outside of the employment window looking in, you're going to need skills that put you at an advantage. A green-screen resume in a graphical world isn't good enough. Invest in yourself. Education and experience is your competitive edge.
Some good news for unemployed application development programmers came last week from the folks at System i Developer, the group that organizes the twice-annual RPG & DB2 Summit. They are offering, for the second conference in a row, EDiT (Education for Developers in Transition) Grants. The grants total 15 days of education, which will be divided among six unemployed IBM i developers. The educational opportunity applies to the upcoming RPG & DB2 Summit or the related Headstart Seminars, which take place October 11 through 14 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Under the grant program, three unemployed developers will each receive an EDiT Monitor Grant, in which the recipient joins the SiD team as a room monitor in exchange for full conference registration plus a day of Headstart Seminars. An additional three applicants will receive EDiT Seminar Grants, allowing them to attend a full day of Headstart Seminars on October 11.
The application deadline for EDiT grants is Wednesday, September 15. All grant recipients will be responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses.
You'll find additional details on the grants, including qualification criteria and how to apply, at http://www.systemideveloper.com/EDiT.html.
"Last spring we tried to include as many people as possible, expecting that most applicants would live within driving distance and have virtually no travel expenses," explains Susan Gantner, partner at System i Developer. "But the i community surprised and impressed us with their willingness to invest in travel in order to update their skills. Unfortunately, some couldn't justify the cost of travel for a single half-day seminar. So, for this conference, we decided to repackage the benefits to expand the amount of education covered by each grant and increase our total commitment from 11 days of education to 15. This fall there will be three full scholarships instead of two, and each full scholarship will also include a day of Headstart Seminars. Plus the Seminar Grants will double to cover two half-day seminars instead of one."
Allison Taylor, an EDiT Monitor at the Spring 2010 RPG & DB2 Summit, believes that experience helped her gain a full-time position. Her new employer told her as much. To contribute to the implementation of a new system, Taylor says her company was looking for someone who wouldn't be intimidated by new technologies and who "who actively continues to learn new things."
"Too many people have been hurt by the economy," Gantner says. "But in spite of wage or benefit cuts, if we're still employed, we're ahead of the game. It's up to us to figure out ways to lend a hand wherever we can."
"We see reason to hope that the employment situation will improve soon. Paid registration for the Summit was up almost 40 percent at the close of early registration compared to the same period for the March 2010 Summit. If registration continues at this pace, the Summit will be back to pre-recession attendance levels this fall. That suggests to us that companies are beginning to invest again."
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