Modern i Platform Relies on Skills as Much as Technology
June 7, 2010 Dan Burger
The wise learn to adapt and adapt to learning. The hottest skills from 10 years ago, in many instances, are only lukewarm today. And 20-year-old skills are pretty stale in a technology-intensive career. Some survive while avoiding technological changes and continuous learning, but that’s like walking instead of taking the bus–you’ll likely get where you want to go, but most everyone else will have been there and moved on by then.
The capabilities of the IBM Power Systems running i/OS far exceed the capabilities of the IBM AS/400 running OS/400. The technology has evolved. So the question becomes: Have your skills kept pace?
We talk about integration problems in terms of hardware and software, but technology and skills are just as important. New technology and old skills don’t integrate all that well. Some companies recognize this and others don’t. Some individuals recognize it and other don’t.
Companies that realize the value of running mission-critical applications and data on the IBM i platform should be aware of the skills/technology integration issue and understand the return on investment. So should the professionals who make their living with their IT skills.
“A major problem facing IBM i developers is that proponents of other platforms are quick to say ‘We can do that’ when it comes to meeting new business demands,” explains System i Developer partner Jon Paris. “Traditional RPGers know that the i is rock solid, but they don’t necessarily have the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to build modern UIs, Web applications, and data-centric solutions. All of the tools are there. But individuals have to make the commitment to learn the skills that will keep both them and the i relevant.”
Paris and the other partners in System i Developer–Paul Tuohy, Susan Gantner, and Skip Marchesani–just set the dates for their next RPG & DB2 Summit conference, which happens to be one of the top education and training events available for developers and database engineers. It places an emphasis on modern development skills, tools, and methods and inspiring developers to embrace modernization projects that compel their companies to keep mission-critical applications and data on the IBM i platform.
For the first time, the event has chosen a theme: i can . . . can you?
The curriculum also underscores the importance of learning practical and useful tips and techniques for speeding development, improving application flexibility, modernizing program architecture, and implementing new types of user interfaces.
“There’s been a lot of gnashing of teeth over the decline of the IBM i, yet the platform is more flexible, efficient, and secure than ever,” Paris says. “If we want the i to survive, then we darned well better learn to use the tools it gives us so we can prove to management that it’s still the best platform in the world.”
Reflecting the technological changes that have come about since the introduction of the i 7.1 operating system and the feedback from previous Summit conferences, more than one-third of the sessions on the preliminary agenda are new or significantly updated. Added session topics fall into categories such as advanced SQL; free PHP apps; XML with DB2; Java open source; advanced RSE, RDi, and WDSc; DB2 Performance Monitor; and i 7.1 sessions on RPG, DB2, CL, and Open Access.
The Summit is scheduled for October 12 through 14. The Headstart Seminars take place on October 11. The Sofitel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the event location. Lodging is available for $99 per night, plus taxes.
“Last fall, Summit attendees gave the Sofitel rave reviews,” says DB2 guru Skip Marchesani. “The food was incredible, and we had excellent accommodations with complimentary Internet access, parking and shuttle service from the airport. It’s one of the best hotel values we’ve seen in all of our years speaking at conferences.”
In addition to the System i Developer partners, the speakers presenting sessions include highly regarded experts Scott Klement, Mike Cain, Kent Milligan, Barbara Morris, Bruce Vining, and Aaron Bartell.
The RPG Summit Web site includes links to the conference agenda and speakers as well as a ton of references from attendees of previous Summits.