Keep on Learning
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:
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.
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.
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
One thing I neglected to mention in my blog posting yesterday about the value of Certification is the Take it Again program that is active again this year.
Earning IBM Professional Certification is a smart career move. But many of us are nervous when taking the certification exam. Our “
By the way, I've been invited to be guest on Episode #12 of The DB2Night Show coming up this 12 February 2010 at 10am CST. Our theme for this show is "The Wild Wonderful World of DB2 Information Resources". Claim your free seat in our virtual studio audience by registering at http://www.DB2NightShow.com. I hope you can join Scott Hayes and I!
The conclusion of an intensive IDC study and in Linda Musthaler's article "Is certification valuable, or not? We have the definitive answer" is YES certifications are important! 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.
The results of the IDC study in the November 2009 report by Cushing Anderson called "Impact of Training on Network Administration: Certification Leads to Operational Productivity" shows "a direct relationship between higher levels of certification and improved performance -- when team skills improve, organizational performance increases proportionally."
Although the report doesn't specifically mention database or DB2 certifications, I would say that the same holds true. I've personally seen the performance of a team improving as a result of the entire team earning DB2 certifications. The DB2 program grew 29% in the past year and is expected to grow this year as well. Are you on board?
To help you navigate through this certification program, I've created the following entries:
1) Certification 101 that links to articles about the benefits, where to start, how to prepare, and what to do once you've passed.
2) Certification Checklist where you learn to use a checklist within developerWorks that leads you through the entire certification process.
Don't be left behind! Jump onto the Certification bandwagon so you can begin seeing the improvements in your skills and the skills of your teams.
PS. Don't forget that earning a certification benefits you personally as well. It can differentiate you from others, but will also give you the confidence that you do have the skills that you need to do your job!!
Everyone is talking about e-books and even more e-reading devices have been announced and are waiting for your books to be loaded! Where does IBM stand in all of this?
Personally I think that IBM has been at the leading edge of having e-books available about our products and technologies. Even if you don't read them, surely you've heard of IBM Redbooks. For more than 40 years, IBM has been creating "how to" books to help you build your skills on our products and technolgies. There are half a million IBM Redbooks downloaded every year! IBM Redbooks are available to you for FREE in PDF format. Read these books on your computer, laptop or any device that will accept PDF documents.
Beyond the IBM Redbooks, you can find product documentation for DB2 products in PDF format as well as integrated within the product through online help. Again, as these are PDF files, read them on any device that allows PDFs.
IBM Press has published a wide variety of books that can be purchased in the traditional book format, Kindle format, PDF format, or through online book engines such as Safari Books Online and Books 24x7. If you are an employee with IBM, you automatically have access to all the books available on Books 24x7. If you are a student at a University, you may also have access to Books 24x7. Check with your administrator.
A series of books "For the community by the community" are available from developerWorks. These books are available for you to download for free, in PDF format. Titles in this series are being added all the time... and good news for who want translated editions. The books are being translated by members of the community as well, so you may find a translation that is suitable for you.
If you are looking for books specifically for DB2 pureXML, check out the list of free ebooks that are available for you to download in PDF format.
If you're not sure yet if you want to read books online or via a device, give it a try to see what you think. You can download chapters from various Web 2.0 and Social Media books to see if you like it or not.
Many of the publishers who I work with are presenting e-book strategies to me for future publications. The idea is that the books will be available immediatly in an online format of some kind, but the books are only printed when they are requested / purchased by a reader. This means that the book can be more easily updated when necessary and the publisher will not have a warehouse full of printed books. This makes sense, doesn't it?
Do readers want online books exclusively? I don't think so, yet. Perhaps there will always be a need for a printed book... and if you could see my desk, you'd know immediately that I am a big fan of printed books! I got a Kindle for Christmas, so I've started to see the benefits of reading on such a device. And really, Kindle is just the beginning. Everywhere you look there are different devices being made available: Sony, Nook, iPad, apps on iPhones and Blackberries, etc. I can't keep up with all the new devices, but I found this website that lists many that I've never even heard of! So, take a look if you are interested.
All of this combined tells me IBM is very into this ebook trend AND that 2010 is the Year of the e-Book... at least in terms of supply... so we'll have to wait to see if you the readers buy into the ebook technologies.
If you want to add to this discussion, take a look at this group that I've created on ChannelDB2.com: Electronic Books.
You're invited to a free session about Driving Business Innovation with Smart Analytics at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto the morning of February 10th.
The topic is Driving Business Innovation with Smart Analytics and it is being offered by ComputerWorld Canada’s Technology Insights.
Join Network World Canada editor Greg Meckbach and his guests Glen Sheffield, IBM Information Management Technical Specialist and Jason Gartner, IBM Business Analytics Development Executive.
WHAT WILL BE COVERED:
• The software, hardware, storage and infrastructure requirements for data warehousing and business analytics initiatives
• How to reduce the cost and time of deployment;
• How the business can leverage these analytical tools to turn information into insight and make sound business decisions
Glen Sheffield, IBM Information Management Technical Specialist
Jason Gartner, IBM Business Analytics Development Executive
“Work smarter, not harder” How many times have we heard this phrase? Working smarter means analysts and key decision makers have the right information and insight. It means analysts can quickly access the right data points to evaluate key performance indicators. And yet, working smarter may be more important today than it has ever been. Learn how by attending ComputerWorld Canada’s Technology Insights session in Toronto on February 10th. Seating is limited so don’t delay in reserving your place.
Working smarter means your front line business leaders know where to find the new revenue opportunities and which product or service offerings are most likely to address the market requirement. It means corporate risk and compliance units can recognize regulatory, reputational, and operational risks before they become realities.
Within your organization you have billions of bytes of information stored on your computers. We will examine how to give your organization the insight it needs to work smarter in this challenging environment by putting the right answers in the hands of your decision makers today while putting your business in the best position to quickly adapt and grow to answer the questions of tomorrow.
8:30 AM - 9:00 AM Registration & continental networking breakfast
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM Welcome address & content introduction.
9:15 AM - 10:00 AM Building the Foundation
Bringing a multi-terabyte data warehouse into production can be an insurmountable task. Find out how to overcome the challenges of bringing an enterprise database into production by employing the right software, hardware, storage and infrastructure. Learn how to reduce the time and cost of deployment.
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM Networking & coffee break
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM Turning Data into Decisions
Businesses need a range of analytics capabilities to address the variety of decisions that need to be made every day—and the confidence that those capabilities can be easily expanded as new demands arise. IT managers need to ensure they can quickly get the solution up and running and that it remains as relevant and powerful in the future as it is today. Learn how you can help the business quickly and efficiently turn your information into insight for smart business decisions.
11:15 AM - 11:45 AM Panel of experts - Q&A
11:45 AM - 12:00 PM Wrap-up
12:00 PM Program concludes
If you are in Toronto... come out and join these fabulous speakers and get inspired!
Rebecca Bond - MY Data Champion!
Have you had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Bond in person yet? I have, and must say that my world is a better place knowing her! If you haven't, take a look at her accomplishments so you can get to know her in a virtual way.
Today another of Rebecca's articles on security published in Database Journal: DB2 LUW Security - The DB2 DBA as a Locksmith.
Rebecca started a blog several months ago and the focus is on security as well: DB2 LUW Security
Last year IBM recognized Rebecca as a Data Champion.
Scott Hayes the host of DBI's DB2Night Show saw the brillance in Rebecca and has had her on his show twice now! I love the video Rebecca created in New Orleans for her first show!
I saw Rebecca being filmed at the Information on Demand 2009 conference, but I'm unable to find the video online. Can anyone point me to it?
And how could I forget the amazing book that Rebecca was involved with! She was planning to write it all on her own, but Katrina and a few other issues got in the way, so a few others were happy to work with Rebecca to achieve this wonderful accomplishment:
To promote the book, check out this article from Rebecca: DB2 Security - The Starting Point
Can you see why I've chosen Rebecca as my first Data Champion? The funny thing is that Rebecca likes to thank me for some of her accomplishments! I'm completely flattered by the compliment and if I had anything to do with her success, I'm so very proud!
I've enjoyed putting the spotlight on Rebecca and think that I'll do this for a few other people who truly stand out in my mind!
PS... Keep up the AMAZING work Rebecca!!
Yesterday I blogged about all the benefits of joining ChannelDB2.com. One of the things that I encouraged you to do is to join a group if there is a group that covers topics that you are interested in... and to participate in the groups in whatever way you can.
Today I got an invite from Rav Ahuja who has just created a new group on ChannelDB2.com called "Chat with the Lab" . If you are a member of this group, you'll automatically receive a notification for upcoming or previously recorded Chat with the Lab sessions.
Chat with the Lab sessions are free webinars from the IBM Labs. Join the experts to learn about DB2-related breakthrough technology, best practices, and to get your questions answered during a live Q & A session.
Some of the previous Chat with the Lab sessions include:
Thanks Rav for setting this group up! I'm sure you'll have many people join the group to stay on top of these amazing sessions.
It's been awhile since I blogged about the ChannelDB2.com. I've noticed that we now have cool posters on the walls of the lab to build awareness for ChannelDB2.com. The poster says
ChannelDB2.com now has 2,388 members, 71 groups, 259 videos and presentations, discussions, and links to free books and software. Are you a member yet? I've noticed that the university relations teams are reaching out to people in universities across the world and encouraging people to join groups that are specific to their country or university. If your country / university isn't represented, add it!
The videos are very interesting interviews and presentations featuring various people inside and outside of IBM. You'll find topics on just about everything covered in these videos. The best thing? If you have an educational video that you would like to share, you can add it to the collection.
The groups allow you to give and get information about related topics. For instance, one of my groups is DB2 in Books where I post information about the latest published books, events related to the books, and discounts if they are available. If you are a member of the group, you are able to ask questions that can be answered by me or perhaps an author of one of the books. If you aren't yet a member of this or other groups, it is easy to join... and you won't get too much mail as a result of joining.
You can also create groups yourself. If you feel that there is a topic that isn't yet covered, create a group and invite people to join.
Raul Chong and his team have been busy creating e-books for you to download for free. These are full books in the 300-page range and can be read on your computer. The two latest titles include "DB2 Express-C: Updated for 9.7" and "IBM Data Studio for DB2". These books are part of the "Getting Started" series and will introduce you to the software and how to use it. The books are full of screen captures and are easy to read.
In conjunction with the books is the free software. From ChannelDB2.com, you'll find links to the Express-C software that you can download for free to try all the latest features. If you haven't tried DB2 yet, this is the best way to get your hands on it to see how easy it is to use and learn.
Lastly are the blogs. You may already know that PlanetDB2.com is an aggregate of all DB2 related blogs. These blogs are also pulled into ChannelDB2.com, so you can come to one place for all kinds of important information.
ChannelDB2.com is a way for you to actively participate in learning, sharing, and discussing the DB2 products.
If you are a member, ask me to be your friend :)
Join me (as Scott's special guest) on Feb 12 at 11 am EST on
The DB2Night Show Episode #12- "The Wild Wonderful World of DB2 Resources"
What will I talk about?
I'm open to suggestions, but I'll likely cover the following:
1) Books published in 2009.
2) Books that are expected to publish in 2010.
3) Websites where you can get additional information about the books and have a chance to communicate directly with the authors of the books.
4) Opportunities for you to get involved in writing / reviewing or promoting books.
5) How to get a discount on books.
6) Future of publishing as ebook readers are becoming increasingly popular.
Is there something else you'd like me to discuss as well? Let me know!
Thanks for the opportunity Scott!
Watch The DB2Night Show Episode #10 on 8 Jan 2010 10am CST "DEAR IBM..." with IBM Executive Guests.
Host Scott Hayes has lined up IBM Executives Sal Vella (Vice President, Development, Distributed Data Servers and Data Warehousing), Tim Vincent (IBM Fellow and Chief Architect DB2 LUW), and Drew Bradstock (DB2 LUW Product Manager) to hear what is on YOUR mind regarding DB2 LUW.
This is a RARE and special opportunity - usually you would have to attend an IDUG or IBM IOD conference to gain access to these DB2 LUW executive leaders.
Register NOW for your FREE seat in our Studio Audience - the capacity of our audience is limited to only the first 1,000 seat reservations. You are part of the DB2 LUW community - let your voice be heard!
Instructions for submitting a "DEAR IBM" letter, the show registration link, and recorded replays of previous shows can be found on:
Sorry for the late notice! I hope you can make it...