One thing about IBM is that there is NO shortage of options for you to choose to increase your skills and learn about IBM products and technologies! You can find options that are free and easily accessible to custom designed courses to suit the specific learning needs of your employees.
Why are there so many options? Learning is one of the most important things you will do in your lifetime and is something that you do from the day you are born until you die. We don't all learn the same way though, so having a choice of options is very important so that you can find the learning method that is best for you.
Here are articles and white papers that I've read that emphasize the importance of continued learning:
The Value of Training shows that by cutting skills development and training budgets in the hopes of improving gross margins will cause higher attrition, higher support costs, and the risk of falling behind in technological advances.
Whitepaper DBA Certification: Is It Worth It? by Howard Fosdick compares the costs to the benefits of earning a DBA certification. This white paper is a few years old, but the message is still valid.
Is certification valuable, or not? We have the definitive answer " by Linda Musthaleris says that companies need high-functioning teams that are able to transform and grow the business like never before. These teams consist of highly skilled professionals who have current and relevant knowledge. Certifications are designed to encourage people to keep learning and then to validate their skills.
Here is a list of the learning options that are available for the Information Management products and technologies.
e-books - Many choices are available ... many are free, but you can also read books on electronic reading devices such as Kindle. See my blog entry "The Year of the e-Book".
IBM Redbooks - The PDF versions can be downloaded for free and books are available for a very wide range of topics. See the IBM Redbooks web page and my blog entry with a few IBM Redbook recommendations.
developerWorks - Tutorials, Demos, Skills Kits, Best Practices, e-kits - These are free and very popular.
Gaming - 3 games are available to help you learn SQL in a fun way.
White papers - A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. For a list of whitepapers, google search "db2 whitepapers".
Virtual Conferences - Last year there were several virtual conferences that were run by IBM that allowed you to "attend" a conference via your computer. You can also find recorded conference sessions from the Information on Demand Conference, 2009.
Retail books -IBM Press, MC Press, McGraw-Hill, Apress, O'Reilly, Packt are the publishers who have invested in publishing about IBM products and technologies. For a listing of books by topic, see our bookstore website . For a list of books that were recently published, see my blog entry "Busy Publishing". I've created a group on Developerworks to keep track of all these books.
Here is some additional information.
Conferences - IDUG holds amazing user-based conferences in various regions each year; IBM holds many conferences including the popular Information on Demand Conferences.
Instructor-Led Training (ITL) classes are traditional classroom courses where students are in the same room as the instructor who guides the students through classroom material and hands-on lab exercises. Students are able to interact with fellow students and the instructor and are provided with printed course material.
Instructor-Led Online (ILO) classes are equivalent to ILT classes in terms of classroom material, labs, instructor and fellow students, only you won't need to leave your home or office as you will connect to the classroom via your computer. See my blog entry about ILO classes.
Self-Paced Virtual Classes (SPVC) are for students who don't need the instructor or don't want to be tied to a class schedule. These classes are typically lower priced than ILO or ILT classes meaning that you save on travel and tuition costs. Content, labs and instructors are the same as ILO and ILT classes, but it is recorded so the class can be taken at your pace, where and when you want it. See my blog entry about SPVC.
Web-Based Training (WBT) are standalone courses on the web that provide 6-8 hours of instruction. These are typically voice over power-point format.
Custom Classes are available for companies that want training to take place on their premises with course material that is taken from multiple existing courses and changed to suit specific needs.
Just a reminder that I will cover this information and more in my upcoming webcast - Feb 12 at 11 am EST on
The DB2Night Show Episode #12 - " The Wild Wonderful World of DB2 Resources "