COMMON Conference Could Benefit From Modernization Strategy
February 10, 2014 Dan Burger
Workforce modernization should be on the minds of a lot more IT managers and executive level long-term strategists. We hear companies putting out the message that they need IT professionals with skills that match the newly blossoming job requirements. There are unfilled jobs waiting for the right applicant to come along.
I’m not an IT director or a human resources manager, but as an IT industry observer it seems to me existing IT staff in many of the IBM midrange shops is underused. Overworked, but underused. This is an opportune time to consider a job training program that is job driven.
In the IBM i community, the largest technical conference with the widest array of education and training options is the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition. It’s a five-day package of education that includes sessions, hands-on labs, workshops, certification testing, the Power Systems largest vendor representation, and plenty of networking opportunities to help companies and individuals modernize their skill sets.
Although it is best known for its IBM i orientation, this is a Power Systems conference with a curriculum that includes educational sessions on AIX and Linux topics. The complete list of courses totals more than 300 classes. Topics such as application and database modernization, PHP, Open RPG, mobile technology, systems management, and business analytics are expected to be extremely popular. An online course reference guide grouped by categories, including the relevant operating system is available. It allows searches based on courses of study (i.e., app dev, security, systems management, personal development, leadership and management, etc.), session speaker, day of the week, and also includes a keyword search.
IBM has always supported COMMON by bringing a lot of technical firepower to the conference. Many of them are presenting technical sessions and are often found in the IBM booth in the exposition hall, along with more than 70 other Power Systems vendors. Among the prominent IBMers you can count on seeing are Steve Will, chief architect for IBM i; Alison Butterill, product offering manager for IBM i, Gene Cobb, DB2 for i technology specialist; Dawn May, technical staff member for IBM Systems Director; Barbara Morris, lead developer for RPG compilers; Tim Rowe, IBM i business architect for application development; Debbie Saugen, technical owner of IBM i backup and recovery; and Jeff Uehling, technology chief engineering manager for IBM i security. Many of those people have or had key roles in product development and others are subject matter experts in their specific areas.
The conference is scheduled May 4 through 7 in Orlando, Florida, at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Discounted registration is available through April 3. COMMON members are offered the least expensive registration price, so membership may be wise alternative to take advantage of group rates. Single-day registration options are also available. The one-day pre-conference workshops scheduled for May 3 and require a separate registration.
Training, education, and employee development should be playing an increasingly important role in IBM i shops as companies covet a diminishing supply of skilled professionals and build their in-house skills. COMMON and other technical conferences, as well as technical schools and colleges specializing in information technology should benefit from the workforce modernization movement as well.