Young professionals building successful careers using IBM Information Management products
Darshan Vaishnav: DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows Young Professional
Darshan Vaishnav was born and raised inIndia, where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from L D.College of Engineering. He subsequently moved to the United States and earned his M.S. degree in Computer Science from TowsonUniversity in Maryland. During his job search, he was approached by a company looking for a candidate with DB2 training and certification.
This inspired Darshan to begin certification training on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (LUW). He found the database product extremely interesting as well as easy to use. He earned hisIBM Certified Database Administrator for DB2 on LUW V8.1certification in 2004.Darshan worked as a consultant at several Fortune 500 companies before he moved to his current company, Marriott International, about 2 years ago. At Marriott, an industry leader in the hospitality industry, Darshan works as a senior database analyst in support of the Marriott.com website, where customers make business and personal lodgingplans online.
Typical day of a database analyst
Darshan supports the main production database for the Marriott.com website. He carefully checks and validates any proposed structural or functional changes to the database before the changes go live in the production database. He ensures that the changes will not harm currently used databases or processes.
Darshan also teams with other Marriott database application developers and testers to ensure they have proper authorization for their projects in the test, development and production databases that he owns. He must ensure, however, that they do not gain any level of access beyond their functional role.
Other daily activities include ongoing database maintenance tasks such as ensuring critical daily backups are successful and monitoring and adjusting database space usage.
Darshan is often called upon to offer suggestions about performance tuning issues, such as adding indexes, changing database parameters and modifying existing queries. Another critical task he owns is ensuring his databases are ready for potential disaster recovery situations.
Technical challenges Darshan faces on the job
Marriott.com is a highly visible asset of Marriott International as well as a very high volume website. Darshan must ensure that his databases are maintained to a high set of standards and that they are ready for any jump in traffic. The main challenges he has faced were ensuring that the databases were tuned to avoid locking problems while at the same time providing enough concurrency for various applications while also keeping daily maintenance jobs running smoothly. In addition, he must ensure that the nightly data refreshes to the production database are successful and performed on time. Darshan and his peer DBA also ensure the best query performance by making sure that all tables have current statistics information and that the tables are available at any point in time.
Interesting application of the DB2 database
Darshan makes maximum use of DB2 LUW's maintenance utilities. He is an avid believer that DB2 has fantastic maintenance strategies in their Runstats and Reorg commands. He created scripts to update statistics every day and performs reorgs every week. He explains how he also makes use of the aliases capability in the DB2 product, “An alias is a pointer used for an actual table and we used it in some special manner such that, when some maintenance is happening, there is no outage required and all important tables have the best possible performance.”
His largest accomplishment in his career to date
Darshan is very proud that his knowledge and support for the Marriott website databases has helped successfully maintain high availability over the last two years.
Darshan is also proud of an earlier project he accomplished prior to starting at Marriott International. The task was to convert databases at several hundred stores from Sybase to DB2 UDB. He carefully crafted several custom scripts and a set of steps to migrate the data. The migration occurred very effectively and accurately due to his skill and diligence on that project.
Advice to peers pursuing a similar career path
Darshan believes it is important for all database administrators to also have some understanding of the operating system where the database resides and how the database interacts with the operating system. With this knowledge, he describes the ease of learning DB2, "IBM's DB2 is less complicated than other database management systems. It is easy to learn and easy to get certified. The database is very responsive, very fast, and very efficient."
Positive impact Darshan's work has on Marriott customers
Darshan is very dedicated to maintaining the Marriott.com website and keeping it available for customers at all times. Darshan explains how he has made a positive impact on his customer's overall experience with Marriott.com. "I feel that when I work with the back end as a DBA, the front end (the Marriott.com website) gets better; the front end gets smoother. People can come on my website and book their trip very easily, without any issues and very fast. And they can get on with their lives. If it starts with a really good experience with my website, obviously they’ll be happy. So that makes me feel really very good."
Darshan understands the importance of staying current with additional database training, and he has also completed his "IBM Certified Database administrator for DB2 V9" certification. This allows him to understand the ongoing feature additions to DB2 LUW and implement the appropriate ones for his databases. This dedication to his company and to his skill development makes Darshan an outstanding example of a successful DB2 Young Professional!
Kudos to the AI team and the IBM Innovation Center in Hungary! They held two additional training and certification testing sessions in October for the Information Management DB2 Academic Associate Certification program. They took the time to get feedback from the students on the program, and provided the following write-up and pictures:
Because of the big demand from university teachers and students for the DB2 Fundamentals and Application Development workshop held at the Budapest Innovation Center, we decided to add two additional courses in October (5-7 and 19-21 October) for those whom we could not participate in September.
We had 42 participants from 7 universities at the two October workshops: Budapest University of Technology and Economics (7), University of Debrecen (1), Eötvös Loránd University (9), Dennis Gabor Applied University (3), West Hungarian University (1), University of Óbuda (1), Pannon University (1), Peter Pazmany Catholic University (1), University of Pécs (2), University of Szeged (1) and College of Dunaújváros (1).
This time we were interested in the participants’ opinion about the course so you can a read a short review of student feedback below.
Where did you hear about the course?
Most of the students heard about the workshop through their university correspondence list and some of them through ONIK (which is a group for university informatics students) or the IBM Academic Initiative newsletter sent to faculty members who belong to this free program.
Why did you apply for the course?
Because we were interested to learn more about IBM’s DB2 software and to widen our knowledge, as this was a unique education on a topic that we don’t learn at the university. It was also tempting because the course and the exam at the end are free and the certification we got can be put on our CV as well. For those who already worked in the database area, it was a good way to deepen their knowledge.
Did you learn database management earlier?
There is basic database management at almost all universities; most students learn SQL as part of that course. But this was the first time that we could try a database program in practice, with the integrated hands on labs that are included as part of this program.
Were you aware of the DB2 product before this course?
Students were familiar with the DB2 name, but they did not have the chance to use the actual software previously. Editor’s note: Students attending the course each receive a DVD to keep that contains a Linux virtual image of the DB2 Express-C and Data Studio products. Students can continue to use the software after the course for other school projects and for further learning and investigation
How could the DB2 course material be used further in your university?
It could be made available as an optional lesson or practice lab in the curricula. Also, if there would be more posters about IBM software at the universities, students would be more aware. Editor’s note: Faculty members, the course is organized in modules with appropriate teaching materials, scripted notes and integrated hands on labs so that it can be easily incorporated in your curricula. The DB2 Academic Associate Program site contains additional information on this program
What was your opinion about the workshop?
It was a very useful course with good atmosphere at a pleasant place. According to some participants it’s a pity that these three days are so tough and it would be much better if they could learn for one week in the late afternoon and evening hours. According to others it is great that the course was scheduled into the three full day course. It was much more convenient for those who come from the countryside or who work and have to take some days off. Editor’s note: The course can be organized a number of ways to best meet the needs of the faculty and students. It was also very positive that we could meet the IBM HR colleague so we could get a more complete view about the career opportunities at the company. The server room was also very popular among us as we don’t get a chance everyday to see such large capacity servers.
How hard was the exam?
The exam itself was not so difficult as more than half of the participants passed it, but it was hard that the questions were in English and we had to take the exam on the last day of the course. Editor’s note: The exam is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese. It would have been much better if the exam had been a bit later so we had more time to prepare for it (such as for the university exams). But some other participants were very happy that the exam was at the end of the course as they didn’t have to come to Budapest from the countryside next time or to take some day off in case of working somewhere.Editor’s note: Students passing the certification exam can use the candidate ID they receive via email to enter their CV into the IBM Student Opportunity System (SoS). IBM Customers and Business Partners can also search this database to find students who have skills in IBM products. Student who have passed this certification test can be found by searching under ‘Types of Certifications’ for the ‘IBM Certified Academic Associate’ certification in the ‘–IBM INFORMATION—‘section. SoS link: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/university/students/sos/index.html
Where will you be able to use what you learned?
It will be useful to be able to list this course and certification when we apply for job. It will also be useful at our workplace (for those students also working). The content is also good to learn because it covers content that is common to any relational database. One thing is for sure: it was worth coming to the workshop.
The new DB2 Academic Associate certification exam for DB2 9.7 for Linux, UNIX and Windows is now translated to Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese. Proctors desiring one of the translated exams should mention the specific language requirement when they request the the codes or the exam.
An additional improvement to the teaching materials for the course is a script to match the course workbook to help guide new teachers for this course.
Check http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/data/events/db2academiccertification/index.html for additional information about the certification course and exam and the special offers for 2010.
Young professionals building successful careers using IBM Information Management products
Alexandre Marini – Informix DBA improving database performance in Brazil
Meet Alexandre Marini, an Informix Database Administer working in Campo Grande, the capital of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS). Alexandre received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Universidade Anhanguera-Uniderp in Campo Grande. He learned the core database concepts in his basic database class. His interest in the area led him to more advanced courses where he developed a deeper knowledge of databases and worked with a variety of database products. He actually began his professional database work while still in college. He began as an Informix 4GL developer and then moved into the role of an Informix DBA ten years ago, while still a student.
He currently works at the Local State Financial Department of Mato Grosso do Sul (Secretaria da Fazenda do MS). Read below to learn more about Alexandre’s role maintaining the government database systems and some of the technical challenges he faces on the job.
Typical day for a database administrator
As a database administrator, Alexandre is responsible for operating two types of systems for the MS government. The Informix-based OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) systems manage the daily transactions for tax documents in the state. These databases are integrated with the larger Brazilian national tax system. They are also connected into the mail system and aid in preventing tax evasion. Alexandre manages eight instances of the OLTP environment.
Alexandre also manages one instance of an OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) database. This instance is optimized for handling Decision Support System (DSS) queries that generate supervisory and executive management reports. The OLAP database contains historical data from the OLTP system and other data sources that enable the government to observe longer term trends and analyze metrics to make better business decisions.
Technical challenges on the job
Alexandre works hard to keep his databases healthy and fully available for his customers. He continues to improve his skills as evidenced by completing two Informix professional certifications last May (Informix Dynamic Server 11.50 Fundamentals and System Administration for Informix Dynamic Server)He also stays current with new Informix features and functionality. These skills helped him solve a challenge when a disk space problem shrank the amount of available disk space to a critically low level. Alexandre implemented the Informix Storage Optimization feature to compress the data and shrink the amount of disk space required for the database. This enabled the database instance to be back up and running smoothly on the existing, smaller number of disks in no time.
Alexandre loves the enthusiastic environment that surrounds his job and the atmosphere that encourages continued study and new technology skill growth. Alexandre describes his job environment, stating, “I’ve got great work friends here. We are always helping others, giving technical suggestions to help other teams improve their work quality and solve some of their problems.”
Alexandre is also very excited to be working with the Brazilian Informix User Group and increasing the visibility of this group within his work community.
Technical skills required on the job
The core computer science, database and operating system concepts Alexandre learned in school continue to be important for understanding and finding solutions to database management problems. He describes their importance, stating, “That gave me critical knowledge to recommend hardware and installation techniques to other teams, improving overall database performance.”
Why Informix over other databases?
During the acquisition period at the local state financial department in MS, the Informix family of products were highly recommended by other government bureaus in Brazil. Informix has been used there as the OLTP system since 1996.
Pride in accomplishment
Alexandre is proud of developing encrypted reports that prevent tax fraud. He is also proud to have implemented some Informix data replication features that improved the overall structure of the database system and lowered the amount of resources required to manage the database environment.
Alexandre continues to improve his database skills and is looking forward to continue to work with big enterprises, implementing high availability on environments, partaking in systems migrations, and spreading Informix features and benefits throughout the marketplace over the next several years.
Advice to peers pursuing a similar career path
Alexandre would give the following advice to his peers, “Make an effort to thoroughly learn all the concepts; this will help to apply your knowledge into different areas of technology.
Professor Susan Dischiave announced and described their new Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Data Science to the audience during the morning session. She and Data Science Program Manager, Erin Bartolo, continued to discuss the program with other attendees at the conference, who all were enthused about the program and the university support for the program.
This 15-credit Graduate level certificate has a focus on managing Big Data for today's roles requiring interdisciplinary skills. Specializations within the certificate include Data Analytics and Data Visualization. The certificate program has part-time and online options, and can also become part of the requirements for more complete Masters degrees from Syracuse University. Syracuse University is currently enrolling students for their Data Science CAS for the Summer 2012 term.
Additional coverage from the iSchool announce also includes more information about the program.
Syracuse University also has a very active partnering community with other universities worldwide. If faculty members from other schools would like to discuss a partnership with the Syracuse, please contact Sue Corieri (email@example.com), Assistant Dean for Special Academic Initiatives, for further information.
The IBM Information Management Skills team has been collaborating with the Syracuse University iSchool faculty regarding the strong Masters of Science in Information Management degree that is offered by the Syracuse iSchool. IBM is sharing their vision of the education needed for the IM Professionals who are required to manage the Information Infrastructure needs of large enterprises now and only more so in the future.
I was excited to receive this report about the first of the three DB2 Academic Associate Certification workshops held in Budapest, Hungary:
31 August – 2 September 2010
Budapest IBM Innovation Center organized its first free DB2 Fundamentals and Application Development course for university students and teachers between 31 August and 2 September 2010. Despite the fact that we announced the course in the middle of the summer and planned it for 24 participants, more than 100 students and teachers applied. Because of the big demand we decided to add two additional workshops in October for those whom we could not accept in September.
The workshop began at 9 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. every day at the IBM Innovation Center (IIC), where Ferenc Rada, the leader of IIC welcomed the participants, then Tamás Piri (IIC) delivered the education in Hungarian.
First the students got better acquainted with the IBM DB2 database and the parts of application development, then after the theoretical part they could practice the operational and development tasks with hands on labs in the perfect educational environment of the IIC. The students also received education materials in the form of a course work book and a DVD to be able to practice their knowledge on their own time after the class.
Besides the professional education, the students could hear about the current IBM trainee positions and they could ask questions to János Ponczók from HR. Then Szilvia Kovács (from Software Marketing) spoke about the 48 hours programming contest in November, where everyone can try their fresh knowledge that they gained at the workshop, and the best students will get valuable prizes.
At the end of the 3 day course the participants could take a free exam in English in an internationally approved exam system. The best students got IBM gifts at the end of the course.
We can say in general that the students were quite receptive to learning about the DB2 database and database concepts, which was totally new for them. This was reflected very well by their questions and their interest all during the course.
There were 21 participants at the September course from 7 higher educations: Budapest University of Technology and Economics (7), University of Debrecen (1), Eötvös Loránd University (2), Dennis Gabor Applied University (1), Pannon University (3), Pázmány Péter Catholic University (3), University of Pecs (3) and University of Szeged (1). In October participants from College of Dunaújváros, University of West Hungary and University of Óbuda will join as well.
Additional information about the DB2 Academic Associate Certification program available here.
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Hello DB2 friends, You should check out a great new Enterprise Systems Certificate program Marist College has just announced. Marist is offering a new DB2 Application Programming Certificate as part of their zOS Series education.
The need for skills in this DB2 zOS area is a critical one and now Marist offers a three course DB2 Application Programming program that is 100% online, so you can get trained from anywhere! Their introductory price is $2,000 (for all three classes). These classes are based on the DB2 for zOS materials developed by Dr. Gene Fuh and used at San Jose State. This material has been enhanced with additional labs which the students complete on the Marist College z10 server. For additional information, please visit the program web site ( www.idcp.org/learnzos )
Help build a strong career path today by checking out this program!
Great initiative by these schools and our IBMers as well! This grass roots movement is creating lots of excitement for the Information Management products in Latin America.
We are also getting GREAT response to the DB2 Academic Associate Certification programs in South America, and have a lot of classes organized: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/wikis/display/im/DB2+Academic+Associate+Workshop
Contact imschool@us,ibm.com if you want to discuss getting a program started at your university and we will talk!
We had several good WW calls yesterday updating the IBM University Ambassador community on current and future IM university programs. IBMers, if you were unable to attend the call live, the Americas version of the call was recorded, and can be found at this link: http://w3.tap.ibm.com/medialibrary/media_view?id=92028. The call included a talk and demo of the exciting pureQuery tooling that can be very helpful for a variety of university curricula.
University personnel, do check in with your IBM ambassador to hear about the current programs that are available.
Not only did Informix recently release a new, exciting version of their product (Informix 11.7), but the Informix team has also been busy adding classes to the Academic Initiative courseware site. Faculty and their students can now gain access to **SEVEN** additional Informix courses on the Academic Initiative web site. You can find these courses in the Information Management section of the Academic Initiative web site:
Welcome to the Information Management Academic Community Updates for Faculty Blog!
I would like to use this blog to post interesting information relevant to the academic community. Please feel free to comment and let's discuss things further! The IM Academic Community Marketing team is really interested in hearing your views about what you are seeing and hearing from your vantage point, whether that be as a university professional or a student or a business leader or an IBMer. Let us know where you see needs and we will work together to help out.
We will also use this forum to post interesting profiles of Young Professionals doing interesting real-world projects using IBM technology to learn what they are finding valuable in their early careers and what helped them get to their current positions in the first place.
Both CEOs and current student leaders were interviewed about what future leaders will need to be successful in our complex world. Several points jumped out at me. - Today's current CEOs talked about creativity and and adventurous spirit being very critical. This seems to be SO important, yet often overlooked while trying to ensure that a high amount of knowledge and skills are imparted to our students in always too short a time. - Both CEOs and students also noted how important the correct analysis of trends is/will be. CEOs noted this relative to operational dexterity and students comment on making decisions using more data. Will databases have been around for a long time now, their importance continues to grow. As does the amount data to be analyzed. Students need a strong knowledge of database fundamentals to understand how data can be managed and what capabilities are possible with data analysis. IBM has a large portfolio of data analysis products and tools. Let's work together to use these tools to teach students what they need to learn to be successful for their future.
Congratulations to Norberto Gasparotto Filho, 1st place winner of the 'DB2's Got Talent' Contest! Well done, and enjoy your trip to the IDUG of your choice.
It was also exciting for me to learn that IBM's Academic Initiative had played a pivotal role in Norberto's professional success. While a professor at the Dois Vizinhos campus of Unisep, in Brazil, Norberto was excited to use the Academic Initiative DB2 content to build knowledge and DB2 skills for himself and his students.
As Norberto comments, "Through AI, I was able to use great IBM-official content, which added much value to my classes. I was also able to take my first certification exam with discount, and that was certainly an additional motivation." Norberto now has 7 certifications, and he can now add his new honor to his collection of professional successes.
Faculty today can take advantage of the DB2 Academic Certification program to easily provide DB2 training to their students and prepare the students to take the 302 Academic Certification Test: DB2 9 Database and Application Development Fundamentals
Read more about the DB2's Got Talent contest and find links to replays of the videos.
Nick Geib- Enhancing the Informix database to meet the changing needs of businesses today
Nick works for IBM in Lenexa, Kansas as a software developer on Informix database products. He graduated from Boston College with a degree in philosophy and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he obtained an M.S. degree in Computer Sciences.
During his graduate studies in Wisconsin, Nick's professors introduced him to Informix database software. In his courses, he learned the basics of data structures, syntax, compilers, and debuggers, which all helped him land a job at IBM. To further advance his skills, Nick pursued IBM Professional Certification (http://www-03.ibm.com/certify/index.shtml) on Informix software and became an IBM Certified Systems Administrator. At IBM, Nick continues to develop Informix technology to help businesses meet their growing demands in today's dynamic environment. Read below what he has to say about the challenges and rewards of database development.
A job with global scope
Nick really enjoys the varied, worldwide scope of his job. One of IBM's three core values is 'Innovation that Matters' and IBM works with companies from all over the world to deliver innovative solutions. Nick deals with companies in many different sectors including banking, telecommunications, and retail. He says of his experience, "It is wonderful to interact with these customers and work with them through their challenges, planning for what the future holds."
Technical skills required
Nick finds that he needs not only technical skills to be successful, but also communication skills and a broad understanding of a customer's business. To learn more about the skills Nick uses,listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
Engaging in hot topics
Energy sector applications today are focusing on analyzing increasing amounts of data to allow consumers to make smart energy decisions. An energy provider in the UK, Hildebrand, uses Informix to gather and analyze large amounts of energy data at a very rapid pace. Informix was more than able to handle the significant workload. Nick describes this accomplishment stating, "For us, we will live in a world where you can have more control over energy usage in your home and be better stewards of the environment."
The biggest challenge for Nick is developing features that work across a number of database servers without impacting stability and availability. To learn more about the challenges he faces, listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
Finding solutions for his customers
Nick has found that each new customer requirement presents an opportunity for the Informix database to be used in an innovative way to solve a business problem. Some of Nick's customers run businesses that maintain relatively stable patterns throughout the year but have high data periods at quarter or year end. During these times, the customer must deal with an increase in data workload requirements. The amount of information a database must manage can more than triple during this period. Informix uses a cluster-based replication functionality to handle these types of issues. With the scale-out and load-balancing capabilities of the cluster, customers can rest assured their systems maintain up time. Nick further describes the capabilities of Informix, "Due to the 'Capacity on Demand' functionality, IBM technology is able to handle the large increase in workload with ease."
Advice to students pursuing a similar career
Nick would give the following advice to students, "Do what you love, that is the most important thing. Whatever job you get, if you love it, then it will seem like play to you and never seem like work. It's important to have strong technical skills and those aren't the only skills you need to have. Good communication, reading and writing, interacting/ team leading are important too."
Making a positive impact through his profession
Nick believes that IBM is the best company to work for and he wants to make Informix the best database in the world. Nick describes his ambitions, "There is continuous innovation in Informix. Our product helps businesses run the world. It's cool to pick up the newspaper and see the companies in the headlines, knowing they are your customers. We are making a difference."
I am excited to note that the new DB2 Academic Associate Certification exam, the 302 exam, is now available in Chinese! It is already available in Portuguese, and Spanish will be available soon! For more details on this program, check out: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/data/events/db2academiccertification/index.html
Are you a fan of the US quiz show, Jeopardy? Then be sure to not miss the $1M competition between IBM's "Watson" computing system and the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Feb 14-16
There are a few good recent updates to the DB2 Academic Associate Certification IBM-internal program support page: A link to an online assessment survey and a link to more details about the exam itself (including the information about taking a practice exam. IBMers can see these updates at this link: https://w3.tap.ibm.com/w3ki2/display/UNIVERSITY/IBM+Academic+Initiative+-+Information+Management+program+DB2AA
non-IBMers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get further information about these programs.
Are you a University Ambassador covering the Information Management portfolio? If so, here is a short (10 question) survey to help evaluate the current program for the ambassador community as well as for the university. Participate and help shape the programs in the future. Here is a link to the survey, for those who fit into this category: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WY7Q7YB