COMMON And Academic Initiative Polish Partnership
April 1, 2013 Dan Burger
Growing your own talent and developing a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce should be on the minds of managers of every organization from multi-national corporations to multi-employee small businesses. It is not uncommon for IT managers in IBM midrange shops to wonder out loud where the next generation of business computing whiz kids will come from. What is uncommon is finding IBM midrange shops growing their own talent through partnerships with local tech schools and community colleges. Instead of searching for talent in all the wrong places, there should be a greater emphasis on developing it locally.
Another step in that direction was taken recently when COMMON and the IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative decided they could get more things done in the way of education, skills, and training by collaborating rather than working in their own individual silos.
Who would have guessed that a little collaboration would be a good thing, right?
One of the benefits to come from this collaboration is the COMMON certification program gets a boost. The international user group has three certifications. Two levels of business computing certification and a certification for modern ILE RPG programming.
The most important in terms of the Academic Initiative is the COMMON Business Computing Associate (CBCA) certification, which was developed by a committee of COMMON volunteers. The certification substantiates professional competence, knowledge, and skills related to the delivery of information technology within the context of business. It augments the host of certifications that are available for specific technologies. For instance, COMMON has its RPG certification and IBM has numerous product certifications, as do other hardware and software vendors.
COMMON is interested in gaining recognition of the CBCA among the technical schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities that are connected to the IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative.
“From COMMON’s perspective, we want to reach out more to colleges and universities to nourish the next generation of members,” says Manzoor Siddiqui, COMMON’s marketing manager. “We also think COMMON certifications would be applicable within the college and university setting and add value for the schools. When we created the CBCA certification, we did it with students in mind.”
The idea is to have graduating students carrying a COMMON certification, along with COMMON membership, as part of their preparations for the job market.
The CBCA certification verifies competency in areas that include: business computing terms and concepts; operating systems, platforms, and environments; system hardware; programming and databases; business processes; networking; security and regulatory concepts; and interpersonal development.
COMMON also has a second business computing certification designed for individuals who are deeper into their careers. That certification is known as the COMMON Certified Business Computing Professional. The RPG certification is the third certification. It is also designed for individuals with several years of work experience.
Pete Glass, program manager of the Power Systems Academic Initiative, says the first step in the collaboration with COMMON is to bring the organization’s certification program to the attention of schools participating in the worldwide AI program. It will do so on the AI website where IBM certifications are already listed and in materials publicizing both IBM’s and COMMON’s certifications, which are emailed to the schools.
Another avenue of collaboration would potentially expand of the number of schools in the AI program by connecting subject matter experts and business professionals who are involved in COMMON with educational institutions that are receptive to adding classes, curriculum, and adjunct faculty specific to Power Systems and IBM i, AIX, and Linux.
The Academic Initiative has always provided the courseware. It is just beginning to strengthen the program by helping colleges in their search for instructors. COMMON has agreed to help in the recruiting. Glass says he also intends to tap IBM resources–current and retired employees–to help augment a list of Power Systems experts interested in teaching.
“We will reach out to our membership to see how many would be willing to get involved with their local colleges and help promote Power Systems,” Siddiqui says. The first steps of this will be an article in the COMMON Connection magazine and the Academic Initiative booth at the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition scheduled for April 7-10 in Austin, Texas.
Eventually IBM i shops are going to need talented people for IT jobs. Some need to find talent now, some next week or next month. The Academic Initiative working more closely with COMMON is a good indication that partners can move things in the right direction.