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Educating Fresh Faces—Boot Camp, Summit and More

August 22, 2017

Last time I talked about the Fresh Faces who have been joining our IBM i community. Seeing new people getting started is great. But once they get here, how do they learn what they need to know?  Today’s blog will talk about a couple of ways, in particular, and briefly mention some other ways.

First: COMMON’s Boot Camp.

 

 

You all know about the COMMON organization. They have, as part of their mission, creating material to educate their membership about IBM i technology. This makes them a key strategic partner of ours, because we at IBM know we will be best able to get education to our clients if we work with partners. (See the blog I wrote about IBM i’s Cooperative Strategy.)

COMMON has been getting requests to provide their members basic education—classes that are specifically created for those new to the IBM i community. To address this need, COMMON created a Core Team of people who decided to create what they are calling an RPG Boot Camp. Tim Rowe, the Business Architect on our team who focuses on Application Development, is on that team, and he told me how they went about creating this RPG Boot Camp.

The core team put together an education roadmap. We defined the core sessions as well as created a base outline for that we wanted to see in each of the sessions. Once we had the course laid out, COMMON opened this up to the community. Experts from the IBM i family submitted their names as possible presenters for these topics. The review committee then discussed these experts and assigned sessions to various speakers. Then each presenter went off and created the presentation for the session, which was reviewed for content, style and to ensure it was on target, based on the direction for that session and the place it fit into the entire series.

“Then each presenter was sent off to create the actual recorded presentation. 

“For much of the education series the same example software program is used and built upon to show both the example of the technology and principal being discussed in that section. This example program, as well as all other material used is included as part of the education material available to participants.”

 

What will developers who are new to RPG learn from the Boot Camp?  Well, first of all, they will learn Modern, Free-Format RPG. And they will learn to use RDi. Because it’s the combination of these two aspects of development which provide the strategic approach to RPG development that will carry developers and their output into the future. The specific sessions are:

1. Introduction to Programming and RPG - Hello World Program-Driven
 

2. Getting Started - How an RPG Program is Put Together

3. Basic Screens

4. Using Declarations and Data Structures for File I/O

5. Controlling Program Workflow - Subroutines and Subprocedures

6. ILE Concepts

7. Static SQL

8. Further Operations and Functions (Select Functions and Primer How to Get More Information)

9. Programming with Subfiles

10. Additional SQL Techniques

I’m excited about COMMON completing this first Boot Camp, and I look forward to the other one they’ve announced is coming, dedicated to IBM i Systems Administration. In today’s connected world, having on-line courses is a key component to educating anyone, and perhaps especially those who are new to a technology.

But that’s not the only way a new person can learn. COMMON, of course, has its fall conference, which focuses on application development.  There’s also the RPG & DB2 Summit.

Another partner in educating people about RPG is System i Developer, which puts on the semi-annual RPG & DB2 Summit. As you can see from the image, the next Summit is happening in October. The agenda for this conference contains topics that cater to both the new and the experienced members of the IBM i community.

Though I’m not speaking at this fall’s Summit, some of the IBM team will be there, along with other industry experts. They are all keenly aware of the need to teach to the Fresh Faces.

Then, of course, there are other events run by Local User Groups around the country and around the world. One that I’m particularly excited about is the MAGiC conference in September. MAGiC is the Mid-Atlantic Group of IBM i Collaborators, a Local User Group that was organized just last year. The group is hosting its second annual conference in September.


While this event is not specifically organized around educating Fresh Faces, I do think it’s important that anyone who is new to the community becomes involved in a local user group if there’s one in the area. And, by the way, it shouldn’t just be the Fresh Face participating—but more experienced members of your team as well. We at IBM try to support local user groups as much as we can, and so to many of the well-known expert voices in our IBM i community. We know how critical face-to-face education and networking can be to advancing both the knowledge and the careers of the people who depend on IBM i for their living. That’s why some of us will also be at the OMNI User Technical Conference in Chicago!

So, let’s sum up: If your company has hired, or will soon hire, a Fresh Face, that person is going to need education. Undoubtedly your company will train that person on information and procedures specific to your organization, but you’ll also need some help educating the Fresh Face on the basics. Luckily, there are many groups out there providing that education. COMMON’s Boot Camp is a brand new way to educate brand new RPG developers. But there are also COMMON conferences, the RPG &DB2 Summit, and events held by local user groups, such as MAGiC and OMNI. These are all helpful ways to get up to speed, and they are an important part of making the future of IBM i bright, in more ways than one!

 

P.S. If your user group is holding a conference this fall (or any time!) and I didn’t mention it, PELASE put a link to it in the comments section of the blog. The more the merrier! I know WMCPA and OCEAN recently had events, for example, and perhaps they will be doing more. And there is great education coming at the iSUC conference in Japan I’m sure. I’ll be there doing some high-level presentations with IBM i Offering Manager Alison Butterill. The list of groups and opportunities is too long and changing too often for me to keep in my head – but that’s where having a community to spread the word really helps! 

 

Posted August 22, 2017 | Permalink

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