Tech-Business Skills in Demand, Academic Initiative Expands
December 10, 2012 Dan Burger
Developing new technology skills and being better prepared for future job opportunities will keep IT workers and those aspiring to become IT professionals busy these days. According to the just released 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report, 10 percent of the managers surveyed believe their organizations are inadequately staffed due to a lack of technology skills mixed with business skills. To address that situation, IBM has re-purposed its Academic Initiative program, which includes a Power Systems element.
Overall, there will be a greater emphasis on headliner type topics such as big data, analytics, digital marketing, mobile computing, and security. Educational materials are being expanded at both the collegiate level and through IBM’s business partner channel. At the instructor level there is an online collaboration resource known as the Knowledge Exchange that will specialize in learning material and technical resources. And at the student level, which includes those seeking their first jobs as well as those adding skills to work experience, there will be new training and certification options.
Look for a Power Systems job board to be launched within weeks. This has been on the Academic Initiative’s wish list for several years and is expected to connect people looking for jobs with companies looking for employees. Peter Glass, program manager for the Power Systems Academic Initiative, will have more to say on this topic in a few weeks, so details will be revealed shortly.
In the IBM midrange, there’s no escaping the topics of an aging workforce, workers who can’t find jobs and companies that can’t find workers. It’s good to see a job board becoming reality. We’ll know it’s really working when the IBM i community, including the customer base of IBM i advocates and the colleges where i-specific classes are taught, are participating and connections are being made. The existing gap has been a frustration for far too long.
Companies looking for closer ties to schools and their education and training facilities will find it easier to make the necessary connections with a newly designed website launched just last week.
Ramping up the networking between IBM i shops and colleges and universities is an important role of the Academic Initiative for Power Systems. It’s a two-way street, but it takes participation to make it work. The Toronto User Group (TUG) and the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association (WMCPA) are two good examples of working with local colleges to develop training and education.
Also of note is the Academic Initiative news that IBM recently joined the National Coalition for Advanced Technology Centers. The NCATC provides a wider network of higher education resources, which advocate and promote the use of technology applications. One of the schools with an outstanding reputation in the IBM i community that I’ve mentioned frequently over the years, Gateway Technical College is an NCATC member.