POWERUp 2020 Pushed Online By Coronavirus Continuing Spread
August 5, 2020 Alex Woodie
Any hope that the spread of coronavirus would die down enough for COMMON to hold its POWERUp conference has been successfully smothered, as the user group last week was forced to cancel its annual meeting a second time in four months. If there’s any consolation to the COVID-19 chaos, it’s that online and virtual events are getting better and better – in the IT sector generally, as well as in our little neck of the i wood.
There will be no cake served during the 60th anniversary celebration that COMMON had planned for its annual meeting, POWERUp 2020, which was scheduled to take place August 31 through September 3 in Tampa, Florida. But user group members will still be able to toast the longstanding user group during a virtual version of POWERUp that’s now scheduled to take place September 14-17.
COMMON President Larry Bolhuis announced the news in an email Monday. “The staff and volunteers are already hard at work putting together a robust virtual POWERUp 2020 – which will offer all the hallmarks of COMMON conferences: extensive education, access to industry expert speakers, an Expo of leading solution provider partners, networking opportunities, and our community.”
Everything but the cake, as it were.
This was the second time that COMMON was forced to cancel a POWERUp conference amid the coronavirus epidemic. In March, the Chicago, Illinois-based user group was forced to cancel its spring POWERUp conference, which had been scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 19-23.
In lieu of the spring conference, the user group put together COMMON iNSIGHT, a virtual event that featured 150 sessions of IBM i content, an Expo, and networking opportunities. That event ran May 5-7, but was available on demand for 60 days.
The virtual version of POWERUp looks to be similar to that event, but be bigger in scope. COMMON promises there will be more than 300 sessions from more than 70 industry experts at the virtual POWERUp. There will also be classes, dubbed “Education Modules,” which are composed of one-hour presentations followed by 30 minutes of live discussion with the presenters. You must be a COMMON member to register for this event.
COMMON will do its best to provide virtual renditions of old conference standby, including Ask the Experts, Fun and Games Night, COMMON’s Got Talent, and the Volunteer Recognition & 60th Celebration. It won’t be the traditional COMMON experience, but the eternally optimistic Bolhuis chooses to look at the bright side.
“With no travel costs, POWERUp 2020 offers an unprecedented value to attend – gain new skills, enhance your current skillset, learn about new solutions and technologies that will drive business success, and connect with industry experts and peers,” he says.
Virtual POWERUp won’t be the only venue for online education this fall. System i Developer recently announced the launch of Summit Hands-On Live!, a series of 10 live, interactive workshops that will take place online each Tuesday and Thursday, starting August 4 and running through September 3.
The company explains:
“Instructors Paul Tuohy, Susan Gantner, Jon Paris, Mike Pavlak, and Doug Mack will meet with students in real time to go deep into 10 different technical skill sets needed by today’s IBM i developers. Each single-topic workshop features a full day of training, individual attention with a cap of 20-students, hands-on labs, and access to an IBM i.”
These are hardcore tech classes with titles like “RPG Procedures & Service Programs,” “SQL for the RPG Programmer,” and “RDi Beyond the Basics.” Each event costs $449 for the general public, or $399 for those who have attended the RPG & DB2 Summit or the Virtual RPG & DB2 Summit (folks only have to pay the $449 fee once before they’re granted alumni status and earn the lower rate).
Developers learn major new skills best when they immerse themselves completely and practice as they go, says Paris, a System i Developer partner. “Combine this with face-to-face interaction with the instructor, and you have a recipe for success,” he says in a press release. “With all in-person training on hold, we think it’s particularly important to up the game on online learning for the IBM i community. Honing skills is more important than ever in this environment.”
iTech Solutions Group this week unveiled iADMIN Fall 2020, an online event that will take place October 20 and 21.
“If you’re like us, you might be bummed that we’re unable to attend in-person events and conferences this year,” the company writes. “This is why we’ve created a full virtual experience and bring IBM i education right to you. Our goal is to make this experience as close to the real thing as possible.”
The company plans to host at least 20 sessions over the two days, including such proven winner as iTech Solutions CEO Pete Massiello’s “What You Need to Know to Successfully Upgrade to IBM i 7.3 & 7.4,” Steven McIver’s “Getting Started with VIOS for the IBM i Admin,” and Steve Pitcher’s “Perception vs. Reality: IBM i Security.” (Pitcher and McIver are both iTech Solutions employees.)
iTech Solutions hasn’t nailed down all the sessions yet, but it does appear there will be some live sessions, breakout “boutique” sessions, as well as a virtual happy hour, where attendees will be able to compete on trivia and win prizes.
In the meantime, IBM i users may be interested in checking out a new session from IBM i professional Christopher Burns. His session on technical debt was cut from the upcoming POWERUp event, and so he has found a new home for it. Burns will be presenting “On the Clock” on Wednesday, September 9, at 11 a.m. ET. Attendees can register for the free event at https://gemko.webex.com/gemko/j.php?MTID=m2bb54af42dc1dfb0004e51bef65b945a