IBM i Badges Reward You For Community Participation
October 20, 2019 Alex Woodie
If you are proficient on the IBM i platform and active in the IBM i community, then you might be interested in the new IBM i Community Badge Program sponsored by Big Blue that rewards IBM i professionals with digital certificates for actively engaging with the community. Nearly 100 badges have already been handed out, so don’t be surprised when they start popping up on the Web.
The IBM i Community Badge Program officially debuted last Tuesday, October 8 – the same day that IBM launched the latest Technology Refreshes (TRs) for IBM i 7.3 and 7.4. The program, which is administrated by Acclaim, includes four IBM i-specific badges that IBM i professionals can earn based on their level of participation in the community.
According to IBM i Worldwide Product Marketing Manager Brandon Pederson, the program came about at the urging of community members, as well as several advisories councils around the IBM i community that IBM participates in.
“The IBM i community is extremely passionate and the reason for the continued success and growth of the platform 31 years after being launched,” Pederson said. “We wanted to recognize and incentivize the many members of the IBM i community that make the platform a success.”
The four badges include: Level I Community Contributor; Level II Community Influencer; Level III Community Advocate; and Fresh Faces.
To qualify for the Level I Community Contributor badge, a community member must successfully complete a minimum number of specific tasks. According to IBM, they must complete three out of the following five requirements within a year, including:
- Present at least one session on IBM i at a user group or industry event such as POWERUp, IBM Systems TechU, Common Europe Congress, etc.
- Sustain contribution as a member of the board or leadership committee of a user group such as COMMON, OCEAN, OMNI, etc. for at least a year.
- Create or contribute to at least one piece of content such as a demo video, customer story, podcast, or contribute a blog post or article to an industry publication such as IT Jungle, IBM Systems Magazine, COMMON Connect, etc.
- Sustained contribution as a member of an advisory council such as COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC), COMMON Europe Advisory Council (CEAC), the Large User Group (LUG), etc. for at least a year.
- Contribute code to at least one IBM i open source project on GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, etc.
Each individual applying for the badge must submit proof that they have completed three of these tasks. The submission should be sent directly to Pederson, who is based in Rochester, Minnesota.
“I read and receive each application form submitted by a badge applicant,” Pederson tells IT Jungle. “I review them and decide whether they have completed the required achievements. The achievements are clear for each badge level and can be found on our Wiki page. I will bring in the IBM i team if there is a question or doubt about any application form.”
Once the individual has successfully completed considered the requirements for Level I Community Contributor, they are eligible to apply for a Level II Community Influencer badge. The requirements are similar for Level I Community Contributor, except the individual is expected to do more.
For example, to qualify for the Level II Community Influencer badge, instead of presenting one session at an industry conference in the past year, he or she must present two sessions. Similarly, he or she must have sustained leadership contribution to a user group for at least two years; have created at least two pieces of content; been a member of an advisory council for at least two years; or contributed code to at least two open source projects for IBM i.
The requirements to achieve a Level III Community Advocate badge are similar, except the magic number is three. The requirement to obtain a Fresh Faces badge is a little bit different, as there’s a separate process for selecting the annual Fresh Faces group. Pederson, who spearheaded the creation of the Fresh Faces program several years ago, is in charge of that program, and any nominations for that program should be sent to him.
In the first week, IBM granted 85 badges in the IBM i Community Badge Program, Pederson says. There are other badges in the works, including one for IBM Champions, and Pederson says he’s working on creating additional badges for IBM i technical and educational achievements.
“Digital badging is the new certification testing,” he says. “Badges are very popular in the technical community and showcase skills and achievements. They are also often used for job recruiting.”
IBM has created more than 2,000 badges and digital certificates over the years with Acclaim for all sorts of technical and business specialties, including Data Science Foundations, IBM Automation Practitioner, Spark Level 1, and Finance and Accounting Essentials.
The best part of the program might be the cost. IBM is picking up the cost of the program, so it’s free for users to participate, and participants can collect their badges from the Acclaim site without paying anything. It’s an external-only program, however, so IBM employees are not eligible.