The Search For IBM i Intelligent Life
October 8, 2012 Dan Burger
The pipeline of students graduating from college ready, willing, and able to step into an IT position at an IBM midrange shop isn’t what it once was, and those who claim the young talent pool has dried up like a west Texas watering hole aren’t far from the truth. But for companies with current and future jobs for recent grads who have IBM i experience, there’s good news.
Worldwide there are 96 schools with classes that include IBM i subject matter, and 44 of those are in the United States. Finding those schools, as companies previously searching for talent found out, has not been easy. The one source of this information, the IBM Academic Initiative website, was poorly maintained and the information was out of date.
This link to the IBM i-centric portion of the website should be added to your favorites list if your company is taking a long-range strategic approach to its IBM i investment: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/university/ibmi/schools.html
Reclaiming that space as a resource has been a priority for Peter Glass, the program manager for IBM’s Power Systems Academic Initiative. Because this is a Power Systems program, it is worth mentioning that the total number of schools teaching Power Systems skills is 137 worldwide.
As I have mentioned in previous articles on this topic, the most successful college programs are those that involve IBM i shops in the vicinity of the college or technical school. Advisory committees have been formed that joins the schools with the businesses. It allows companies to help shape curriculum so that students are better equipped to come into the jobs and companies get the talent and skills that best suit their needs.
Glass told me in early September the contact database for schools actively teaching IBM i skills would be updated and accessible within a month, and he got that accomplished. It includes school name, location, and Power Systems-related courses being taught. I wish there was an active link to the school website, or better yet a contact name, email, and phone number. Glass says there are some stern-looking folks in the legal department that advised against adding personal contact information on the website.
Next up on Glass’ agenda is the creation of a job board. Glass says he will work with the IBM sales team and client representatives “to establish an honest-to-goodness list of jobs available at client and business partner locations–not a search engine like popular online employment sites, but rather a well-maintained, current, accurate listing of real jobs at real shops and give students at member schools the ability to view them and go after them.”
Glass also promises an increase in Power Systems Academic Initiative marketing. The areas receiving attention include IBM technical events, an enhanced Web presence, engagements at the IBM Customer Briefing Centers, and direct contact with schools and universities.