OCEAN Tech Conference Gains Audience
July 28, 2014 Dan Burger
The opportunity to attend a local IBM i training and education conference only comes around once a year in Southern California. IBM i shops know it and they take advantage. Nearly 200 IBM i advocates gathered at the National University facilities in Costa Mesa earlier this month, the largest attendance in recent years. The OCEAN user group, based in Orange County, California, hosted the event. OCEAN is one of the largest IBM i user groups in the United States and by far the largest west of the Mississippi River.
The 2014 technical conference was expanded to a three-day affair after years of being a one-day event. It included a Thursday night dinner with a keynote presentation by Alison Butterill, IBM i product offering manager, as the conference opener. That was followed 40 classroom-style educational sessions and a vendor exposition on Friday and five hands-on lab sessions Saturday.
Margaret Matthews, the conference chairperson, was clearly pleased with the way things turned out. The conference registered 186 attendees, which was nearly 20 more than a year ago. More than 100 attended the dinner Thursday night and the Saturday labs/workshops had more than 50 participants. Practically all the attendees were from the Southern California region.
Sessions by IBM’s Dan Cruikshank, a member of the DB2 for i Center for Excellence, were very popular. His session topics included data design using IBM’s Data Studio, SQL programming techniques, data definition language, and data-centric programming. This was Cruikshank’s first time at the OCEAN Technical Conference.
Susan Gantner and Jon Paris are also major attractions at any conference. Gantner covered topics such as modern design tool productivity and RPG enhancements and Paris took on subjects like open source software options and RPG Open Access. They combined for a session on future-proofing your RPG career, which was a conference favorite. Gantner and Paris (along with Paul Tuohy) are the principal members of System i Developer, which hosts the RPG and DB2 Summit conferences.
Matthews is already looking forward to the 2015 conference and is optimistic that it can draw participants from a wider region. “I had a great team of volunteers working on the conference,” Matthews said. “It takes a team and a lot of people came through.”
Upcoming events at OCEAN include an open house in September with free registration for members and non-members. Bob Langieri’s annual report on the state of the IBM i job market, plus presentations on project management and application development. Tim Rowe, IBM i business architect for application development, will be the guest speaker in October.
OCEAN is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.