Yesterday I read this article “How Employers Can Help Solve the Skills Gap” by David Smith which discusses the skills gaps that are appearing throughout the world. A big part of the problem is the lack of corporate funding for education. This leaves employees to take initiative to keep their skills sharp. But how does one do so?
My suggestion is to get skilled digitally. IBM is good at digital… have you noticed? And, I hope that I can give you some direction in how to do this.
IBM Education is known for its high quality content and excellent instructors. Take this education digitally, with your choice of the amount of interaction you want.
Instructor-led online (ILO)
ILO courses are taught by a live instructor with whom you can interact and ask questions using Voice Over IP (VOIP). Courses are taught on a specific day and time, some of which may even be scheduled after business hours to minimize time away from work. Most courses are exactly the same as their classroom equivalent, including the course duration, content, hands-on labs and student materials. ILO classes can be delivered in both Public and Private settings.
Self-paced virtual (SPVC)
SPVC are online courses that include the same quality course content, exercises and hands-on labs as our classroom courses. These courses can be taken any time of day or night allowing students to study when and where they want. Start your training by studying the lecture content of the course. When ready, log into the lab environment to complete your hands-on lab assignments working with IBM software. Self-paced virtual courses are the perfect training method for students who can't travel or prefer the flexibility of self-paced training. Experience this eLearning method with a free trial!
Web Based (WBT)
WBT allows you to learn at your own pace and on your schedule with training that is completely self-contained from your desktop. Most courses provide introductory and overview training that serves as the foundation for more technical and follow-on training. Courses include expert instruction but do not include hands-on labs.
I hope you like reading as much as I do… because look at all the choice that is available:
These very popular books have been digital for more than 40 years now! Here are 10 that you may be interested in: http://ibm.co/hZDwXV
We publish books about IBM products and technologies via a bunch of highly reputable publishers. Every one of these publishers creates their books in digital format. Thanks to the popularity of iPads and Kindles, these books can be inexpensive and available as soon as the printed versions are available. Here are a few books that you may be interested in: Books, books, books
Electronic Book Libraries
There are three big electronic book libraries that I know of: Safari, Books 24x7 and PacktLib. Sadly this is publisher-driven, so you will not be able to find all possible books in any of these libraries. For instance IBM Press books will be in both Safari and Books 24x7; MC Press books will be only Books 24x7; and Packt books only in PacktLib. Check to see if you have a corporate license to any of these libraries. If not, check out your university or public library. You may be surprised at the number of technical books at your fingertips.
Flashbooks are short targeted books that are handed out to conference attendees at certain conferences. We also produce these books in electronic format for you to read them digitally. Here are a few you will want to check out: Free e-book versions of Flashbooks
DB2 on Campus
DB2 on Campus Series of ebooks - Thanks to an amazing team of authors led by Raul Chong, we have high-quality ebooks available for university students to learn about DB2 and related products. The authors who have worked on these books are experts in their area and they have volunteered to share their expertise with you for no financial gain to themselves. The authors can be found around the world, so as a result, you’ll see that many of the titles have already or will one day be translated to another language. We at IBM want to make sure that everyone in the world is able to benefit from the knowledge that is being shared.
Take Certification Exams
You could debate that this topic doesn’t belong here, but consider this: the assessment and certification exams are delivered electronically. You can take the assessment exams from anywhere, but you must be at a testing location to take a high stakes certification exam. There are digital ways to learn and assess your skills and many exams to choose from. Best of all, the certification roadmaps take the guessing out of what you should study and what is important. The Certification Roadmaps give you very clear guidance as to how grow your skills. Here are a few blog entries you may want to read:
I personally enjoy webinars and find that they are an easy and effective way to learn something new or to get deeper into a topic. There are so many choices available that you could set aside an hour a week to catch them all.
DB2Night Show – This is a 2 session per week webinar produced by IBM Champions Scott Hayes and Klaas Brant. Mondays are when the DB2 for z/OS topics take place and Fridays, the LUW topics. Here are replays of the top rated shows from the past year on the DB2Night Show: http://bit.ly/i8qP49 and information about the DB2Night Show's DB2's Got Talent Competition: http://ibm.co/hcCH90
TechTalks (Formerly Chat with the Lab) – This free webinar series was designed to help you discover practical insights on deeply technical topics, learn about breakthrough technologies, learn best practices from the pros, chat with subject matter experts during live Q&A, and access prior sessions in the OnDemand archive. See the replays of the "Chat with the Lab" webcasts: http://ChannelDB2.com
Interact with a Community
PlanetDB2.com – Allow us to filter through all the blogs that are on the web to bring you only the bloggers that talk about our favourite subjects: DB2, InfoSphere, Warehouse, and other Information Management technologies.
ChannelDB2.com – The single largest community of people working on DB2 and Information Management products, world-wide. You’ll be able to build your network of professionals who work in your country or who are interested in the same technology as you. The best feature is the incredibly large selection of videos of people presenting about this products. Once in awhile, save your eyes and tune into these videos.
DB2Express-C – Maybe you’ve just heard of DB2 or maybe you use a competitor’s product. No worries… give DB2 a try for free. Find out for yourself how easy it is to learn and how much better it is than the product you may be using.
Information Center – Perhaps I’m biased since I worked for 6 years on the Information Development team that produces product documentation, but I really think you’ll find the completeness and the quality of this information to be outstanding. All of the information is online, for every release, for free, and is updated regularly. The benefit of the content being online is that you can search and easily find the information you need.
developerWorks – You’ll find more articles, blogs, tutorials and other training resources than you could possibly consume in a lifetime! The link I’ve provided is for the DB2 Professional Community, but you’ll be able to find technical information about all IBM software products. Endless :)
DB2University.com – Some of the courses are free, but not all. The idea behind DB2University is to offer you very low cost training opportunities.
Facebook – if you participate in Facebook, do a search and you’ll find IBM well represented.
Twitter – I tweet and love it. I find that it is a very fast and easy way to stay on top of many things that are going on.
Blogs – Follow my blog to get tips like the ones you’re reading now.
So you see, there is much available for you to learn digitally. Try to fit in a bit a time and you’ll be able to keep your skills strong.