Northeast User Groups Add iBelieve To Conference Format
March 11, 2013 Dan Burger
Like most people in the IBM midrange community, when taking the time to think about updating skills and learning new technologies your thought process automatically shifts into “when do I have time for that?” mode. It may take some mental wrestling, but the conclusion should be there’s no better time than the present. And if one, two, or three days devoted to education is unattainable, then the hole you’re digging may someday be too deep to climb out of.
In case you were wondering, there still are companies that invest in IT training and education. They recognize the advantages that employees skilled in modern technologies provide and probably recognize that if you go looking for skilled employees they are hard to find.
Quality education with the convenience of local availability is what makes an annual technical conference like the Northeast IBM i User Groups Conference a magnet for progressive companies with a view toward building future workforces that are more productive and capable of delivering modern data access for internal as well as external users. The conference is scheduled for April 22 through 24 in Framingham, Massachusetts, which is 18 miles east of Boston and convenient for all of the New England states.
The agenda includes more than 70 sessions in four skills categories that include RPG and Programming Tools, SQL and Database, Systems Management, and Web Development. Workshop sessions, which are more intensive “deep dive” educational options will also be presented on three topics: Web services in conjunction with RPG; SQL and data-centric design; and PHP for IBM i. Individual session descriptions are posted on the conference website. You can fill up two days worth of training very easily.
On the front end of the conference is a free IBM i community event called iBelieve, which features discussions on the innovations and skills that are driving the platform and keeping it as modern or even more modern than other platforms that are mistakenly perceived as technology leaders and better for business computing. Retired IBM chief scientist Frank Soltis leads the group of iBelieve speakers that includes IBM i Product offering manager Alison Butterill, former COMMON user group president Pete Massiello, IBM i evangelist Trevor Perry, and looksoftware CEO Brendan Kay.
The event–an enthusiastic exercise in IBM i advocacy and “i can do” spirit–debuted in May 2012in advance of the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition in Anaheim, California, and a sequel was presented in New York City in September 2012. It delivers the message that this platform has untapped resources, which should be brought to the attention of managers and executives, who are frequently in the dark about the system’s capabilities. The topics of discussion will include future directions in business computing, programming, and applications, all with an emphasis on the IBM i platform.
The iBelieve event has a separate registration and is being hosted by looksoftware, an application development and modernization tool vendor.
iBelieve is a great warm up to the NEUGC Conference, which has its own list of impressive speakers. It is headlined by IBM i chief architect Steve Will, and includes subject matter experts Susan Gantner, Jon Paris, Aaron Bartell, Scott Klement, Dawn May, Mike Pavlak, Charles Guarino, Craig Pelkie, and others. These folks are all blue chippers who are skilled at delivering information that can be taken back to IT departments and put into action.
A vendor exposition area is also part of the conference. Although some folks are leery of having their arms twisted, the IBM i vendor community is very knowledgeable about successfully working with management to bring attention to the capabilities of the platform. I’d recommend spending some time in the expo area for just that reason. For a listing of participating vendors, click here.
Registration for the conference has several options. There are registrations for the two-day conference only, the conference plus the workshops, and for the workshops only. Sharing a two-day registration is an option and an early registration discount is in effect through March 25.
COMMON certification testing (two business computing certifications and one ILE RPG certification) will also be available.