Young Power Systems Professional Organizations Go Global
November 1, 2010 Dan Burger
The IBM i community needs new blood. We joke about the gray hairs and the no hairs, the beards and the pot bellies. It’s surprising you don’t find Geritol tonic and Revitol wrinkle cream as the official sponsors of the annual COMMON conference. You can almost see the retirement barn from where much of this herd is pastured. But in case you haven’t noticed, there are whippersnappers among us–young professionals with enthusiasm for the platform and a desire to network with others and eager to mix the best of the old and the new.
The YiPs (Young i Professionals) have been making a commotion in the United States for more than five years. Now comes word from across the Atlantic that the youth movement is spreading. Our friend Ranga Deshpande, vice president of COMMON Europe and Belgium, let us know last week that a new Power Systems professional organization has taken root in the home of beer and chocolate.
Frank Soltis, former IBM chief scientist, was in Antwerp, Belgium, in mid-October for the COMMON Belgium conference that launched a young professionals’ organization in that country. Soltis was a keynote speaker at the event, which was held at University College. The location was not happenstance. It was chosen specifically to introduce the information technology students there to COMMON and IBM.
Is there some sort of a trick going on? Perhaps helping young people discover an old idea and letting them think it’s their own? Just a thought.
The new youth-oriented networking group in Belgium calls themselves YiPPs–that’s with two Ps, please. The reason being because they are the Young inspired Power Professionals. The idea, Deshpande notes, sprang from the way the more commonly spelled YiPs organization has blossomed.
“There is clearly a lot of interest for this type of networking,” Deshpande said in an interview with the IBM Belgium magazine called Inspire. “Through the Web site, young professionals share their experience, not only about technology, but also about general work-related themes. How you can prepare for a job interview, for example, or what information you include in your resume. Networking, that is what it is all about.”
One of the motivations for networking is education. And you can’t discount the value professional networking brings to learning. But you can’t overlook the motivation of money. In order to make money, you have to find jobs. The YiPPs initiative is attempting to become an employment conduit connecting talented graduates and those in the early stages of their careers with companies seeking talent and specific skills related to IBM Power Systems running i, AIX, and/or Linux.
It’s good to see a youth-oriented network grow and extend its resources internationally. Problems and solutions don’t seem to recognize international borders. Simplified to bumper sticker thinking: Think Globally–Act Locally.
One of the leaders of the African YiPs organization, Richard Ogbechie, was a guest at the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando earlier this year. In a conversation I had with him there, Ogbechie fully grasped the importance networking brings to learning, but he was focused on coming to grips with improving the connections between job seekers and companies filling IT department positions. Ogbechie met with many of the YiPs that live and work in the United States while at COMMON and found many of the same frustrations exist here, albeit not to the same degree found in Africa.
We continue to hear that companies can’t find people with the necessary skills and people with skills can’t find work. Building a better bridge between employer and potential employee is something the young professional organizations hope to accomplish. It’s going to be a strong magnet if it is accomplished. It’s going to throw cold water on a lot of the young people that are needed in the IBM i community if it doesn’t.