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Extend Your Skills Into Adjacent Spaces at TechU

You can take TechU sessions in "adjacent spaces" to extend your skill set to other areas.

Multicolored puzzle pieces assembled to reveal the word "skills."

When I interviewed for my job at IBM, back in 1986, I was asked if I could program in PL/X programming language.  I had never worked with PL/X, but answered that I was confident that I could. 
Graduating from the University of Arizona with a computer engineering degree meant that I had by that time learned quite a few languages, from Assembler and FORTRAN, to COBOL and Pascal. How hard could it be to learn another?
Over the years, I would have to learn additional languages—from C, to coach young students to program their Lego Mindstorm robots, to Python to run servers for the "One Laptop per Child" program.
Today, I work mostly in PHP and SQL to maintain a website and access MariaDB databases.
All of these are examples of extending skills by exploring what I call "adjacent spaces."
That’s why I’m excited to be one of the content managers for IBM Systems Technical University events, or "TechU" for short. With technical sessions across IBM Z, LinuxONE, Power and Storage systems, there are plenty of learning opportunities.
Most training opportunities are focused on a single product, a single operating system platform or a single service provider. Not TechU!
Take for example the upcoming TechU in Las Vegas, October 7-11, at the Venetian Resort.  There will be over 700 sessions to choose from. Dozens of session across the IBM Systems portfolio are also available TechU events in other geographies, including Johannesburg, South Africa (Sep 10-12), Bogota, Colombia (Oct 1-3) and Sydney, Australia (Oct 15-17). 
Most attendees focus on improving their existing skills. If you mostly work in CICS, IMS or Db2, there will be plenty of sessions to hone your craft.
But why stop there? You can also take sessions in "adjacent spaces" to extend your skill set to other areas. Maybe these are areas that you don't work in today, but could mean getting a promotion to work on a new project, helping to modernize your data center.
What am I talking about? I’ll give you three examples of learning paths offered at TechU in Vegas:
  1. Our "IBM DevOps Fast Start for IBM Z" learning path teaches how to bring development and operations together. Software developers learn from the adjacent space of operations, helping to improve quality by reducing cycle release time. Meanwhile, operations personnel and database administrators learn from the adjacent space of software development, improving test methods to keep systems up and running.
  2. Our "IBM LinuxONE Fast Start for Linux Admins" learning path is targeted to people who already have Linux administration skills, but on another platform like x86 or POWER. Here, Linux admins can extend their skills to the adjacent space of LinuxONE, a server platform to run the world's mission critical Linux applications.
  3. Our "IBM Pervasive Encryption for IBM Z" learning path teaches how to implement encryption end-to-end, from your IBM Z internal memory, to external Coupling Facility, networks and storage devices. Security administrators extend their skills into z/OS administration, and Z sysprogs extend their skills into the adjacent space of cybersecurity.
All of these learning paths will earn you an IBM Digital Badge and can be completed in 10-12 hours, giving you the rest of the week to explore other adjacent spaces you might be interested in.
If you sign up for one of these Fast Start learning paths, you also qualify for free access to online e-learning courses from Interskill that you can use before the event, and up to 90 days after the event is over!
I’ll be there, and I hope to see you in Las Vegas!
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