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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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Access more than 14,500 books and videos from O'Reilly Media, Addison-Wesley, Wrox, IBM Press, MC Press (DB2 Certification Guides & more), McGraw Hill, Wiley, Apress, Exam Cram and other top publishers.
Watch hundreds of expert-led instructional videos on today's hottest topics.
Bring your library to your smart phone, iPad, tablet, or any mobile device with a browser at m.safaribooksonline.com.
Be first to learn about the newest technologies and trends with Rough Cuts pre-published manuscripts and new technology overviews in Short Cuts.
Round out your overall skill set with an extensive professional development category of books and videos in the library.
Copy and paste code, create smart searches that let you know when new books about your favorite topics are available, and customize your library with favorites, highlights, tags, notes, mash-ups and more.
If you’re an IBM employee, you have access to Books 24x7 from internal IBM pages. Quite a few other companies, colleges, public libraries and universities also have access to the Books 24x7e- library. Check with your organization to find out more. This library is very similar to Safari Books Online, and access from most e-reading devices is supported. See this website for details. I’ve recently started to watch the Quick Talks series:
Are you looking for a quick 2-3 minute distraction in your day? I think I discovered the perfect option. I was looking for books on Books 24x7 and found Quick Talks. First... do you know about Books 24x7? As an IBM employee, you have access to a very large collection of electronic books in the Books 24x7 library. You must access the site via an IBM intranet site and must enter your IBM ID & password. Once you're in, you have full access.
So the Quick Talks. These are very short videos featuring authors. There are more than 3000 of these videos and they cover a massive range of topics. Here are a few that I watched today:
QuickTalks: Email Etiquette: Introduction
Featuring Tim Sanders
QuickTalks: Sir Ken Robinson: Creativity is a Collaborative Activity
Featuring Sir Ken Robinson
QuickTalks: Karen Moloney: How to Get Promoted
Featuring Karen Moloney
Take a look! I'm sure there are a couple that you'd be happy to watch when you need a short distraction in your day.
I’ve just recently started paying attention to Packt Publishing and must say that I’ve been impressed with their approach to publishing, frequently updated books, and of course an e-library of books:
Need instant solutions to your everyday IT problems and don't have the time to thumb through your book collection? Fed up of books cluttering your desk and weighing down your shelves? Then you're going to love PacktLib.
PacktLib allows you to access and search across Packt's entire library of books, finding practical solutions to your searches at the click of a button. That gives you almost 100,000 pages of book content in one fully searchable companion.
If you’re not interested in a library, but like e-books, don’t miss this great “sale” that is currently on till June 12: Look at all the IBM Press books.... http://bit.ly/j4ztIq For next 3 days get 50% off ebook purchases.
For the next month, Packt Publishing is offering a special on their books. If you purchase the print version of any of their books, you’ll also get the e-version of that book plus access to the PacktLib version of that book. One price, three formats.
The following eBooks about key IBM Products are available at a 50% discount for the next two weeks, ending April 17. For all the details, click here. Note that the discount is automatic on these selected eBooks:
Books can be expensive… I know because I’m an avid reader and having go used to using a library! I tend to look for books on sale but also I have switched primarily to ebooks as the price is normally quite a bit lower than the printed book.
Check out the great prices offered by IBM Press for a wide selection of eBooks: There are 58 books in the list! Here are a few that I want to highlight:
If you’ve been wondering about the content of these 6 books, getting this sampler is a great way to preview the content so you can determine whether you want to read the entire book. I have a Kindle and preview all of the books I purchase. You should no longer find yourself purchasing a book only to find out once you get home that it isn’t what you thought it would be.
If you like to “Try before you buy”, also consider the offer for trying education classes before you sign up for them.
This past February, in my blog titled Year of the e-Book, I highlighted a variety of online resources for avid readers and predicted that this year is the year of eBooks. Low and behold – I wasn’t too far from the truth! Today, I am surrounded by eBook enthusiasts. I personally use a Kindle; my son, a Sony. Just last night, my visit to the neighbourhood bookstore reminded me just how much I can save if I buy new releases in their electronic format.
I’d like to share some resources that I think you will really benefit from.
If you haven’t read an eBook before, now’s a good time to change that. Books published through IBM Press, MC Press, Apress, and Packt can now be purchased in the traditional print, Kindle, or PDF format, in addition to online book engines such as Safari Books Online and Books 24x7. The beauty of this phenomenon is that, in order to access eBooks, you don’t have to own a reading device. Smartphones (equipped with apps) and computers (armed with software programs) serve as perfect substitutes for optimizing your experience.
One of the many benefits of accessing Books 24x7 is that you can read an electronic book offline. All you have to do is download it! Upon subscribing to the portal, you will be able to search for keywords across hundreds of titles, bookmark books, keep track of what chapter you are on and more. Even if you prefer reading a printed version, the engine will help you filter through an enormous amount of content to find the most appropriate title of interest.
IBM employees can access Books 24x7 via employee home pages. This portal is now offered to many schools as well. IBM Press books are on this site, as are books from many other publishers.
Safari Books Online is another electronic book engine and, essentially, the same as Books 24x7. In addition to IBM Press books, Pearson Education and O'Reilly titles are also available. If you are looking for a personal subscription, Safari’s prices are quite affordable. At times, if you’re lucky, you’ll even get a free trial.
Electronic Book Readers
These handheld devices were designed specifically for reading books. This means, they are roughly the same size and weigh as much as a book. However, the text is easier on the eyes. Best of all, they are portable! The best known ones in the market at this time are the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and Sony eBook Reader.
A variety of publishers are already presenting me with e-book strategies for future publications. This new channel will make books available immediately in an online format of some kind. Printed copies will be available in limited quantities and/or if a request has been placed. This will reduce, if not eliminate, the need for publishers to have warehouses crowded with printed books, thus remaining environmentally friendly. The biggest benefit of all, however, is that publishers will now be able to more easily update books whenever necessary. This will drastically change the rate at which updated knowledge and information becomes available.
Have we reached the era where readers only want online books? In my humble opinion, not yet. Perhaps there will always be a market for printed books (if you could only see my desk, you'd know just who makes up a good chunk of that market!).
My Christmas present, the Kindle, constantly reminds me of the benefits of reading using such a device. Without a doubt, the Kindle is just the beginning. Everywhere you turn, a different and, possibly, more innovative device is waiting to be explored: Sony, Nook, iPad, apps on iPhones and Blackberries, and the list can go on. Frankly, it will only get harder to keep up with all of them.
To sum it up, the mainstreaming of the phenomenon of eBooks is showing no signs of stopping so get on board today. You will be glad you did.
My purpose at the conference is to sell books to attendees, but I wasn't able to arrange for a bookseller to set up shop. I'm not able to sell books myself so instead I've decided to do something completely different. I'm going to be promoting both electronic books and buying books directly from the publisher.
Safari Books Online is joining me as they provide one of the available options for electronic books.
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. Although owning a book reading device is nice, it isn't necessary. There are apps that run on smart phones and computers to optimize the online reading experience.
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.
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.
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.
I digress... back to the conference: Safaria Books Online and I will set up in a central location and have plans to showcase many of the books that have been recently published. For an idea of the books that you'll see there, see my previous blog entries:
Magnus is a trendspotter and futurologist based in Stockholm, Sweden, His mission is to help companies make sense (and money) out of future possibilities and inspire people into action. He founded his company Pattern Recognition AB in 2005 and have a mix of large conglomerates and nimble upstarts within finance, energy, media and IT on the client list. Furthermore, he was elected Sweden’s Business of Speaker of the Year in 2009.
Mario Godinez, Eberhard Hechler, Klaus Koenig, Steve Lockwood, Martin Oberhofer, and Michael Schroeck
To celebrate Earth Day April 22, InformIT is offering a 40% discount on eBooks, Short Cuts and Video LiveLessons. Take a look at these digital products and enter coupon code EARTHDAY during checkout to receive your discount.
What books should you choose? Here are some that are offered:
Are you feeling left out that you are back to work and NOT back to school like so many others? Take one of the the Self-Paced Virtual Classes (SPVC) trials for free and you'll be "back in school" too!
What is SPVC?
Self-Paced Virtual Classes (SPVC) are recorded lectures, demonstrations and exercises that you can access on-demand. Meaning... you can take the class in the middle of the night if you like, wearing whatever you choose to wear, and wherever you choose to be (as long as you have high speed internet access! The classes are narrated by IBM classroom instructors.
What is the benefit of this type of class?
* Big savings with no travel costs and lower tuition * Delivers same content, exercises and hands-on labs as classroom courses * Instructors are included “virtually” through recorded lecture, demonstrations and exercises * Conduct hands-on labs with real IBM software – not simulations * Access to course Forums with expert feedback from instructors and fellow students * Flexibility to train when and where you want What is offered in the Free Trial?
The trial courses include a portion of a real course that, depending on the course, includes instructor lecture, demonstrations, and exercises. The trial courses do not include access to the hands-on lab environments. However, a copy of the lab exercise books are included on the materials tab.
After enrolling,you receive your access and login information by email. At your convenience, anytime within the next 30 days, log in and begin your course. Once you login, your class material is presented as an integrated eLearning environment, with all course components in one easy-to navigate interface.
Begin your study by reading the course content and to reinforce key concepts, you are challenged to multiple interactive online exercises.
Enjoy the free trial and if you like it... let me (and others) know!
All five of these certification prep guides were written by members of the exam
development team. That is, they created the questions for the certification exam
that you are about to take! Also, each chapter of the book corresponds directly
to a section on the exam. So, if you take the assessment exam and find out that
you are week on a single topic, you simply need to read the chapter that
corresponds to the topic where you need improvement. Lastly, the authors created
a set of sample questions for the book that provides you with the correct answer
to the question as well as an explanation as to why the correct answer is
correct and the incorrect ones are not.
All six of these books... and many more, can be read and searched electronically. Safari Online and Books 24x7 are two popular electronic book engines where these books are available. Why would you want to read a book electronically? You might not want to read an entire book electronically, but if you are browsing books to find out which one you should buy in print, searching and reading parts of the book electronically makes sense and may help you make the best choice on your purchase.
Also, if you are mostly prepared for the exam, but just want to do a bit of review before taking the exam, you might consider doing the review electronically. At the very least, I'd suggest reading the summary for each chapter, answering the sample questions that are found in the book, and reading the description for the answers. This can be done quite easily electronically.
Safari Books Online is a
great electronic book engine and right now, you can receive a free 15-day
trial. With Safari Books Online, you can search for a particular keyword, read
the entire book cover to cover, or simply ensure that this is the book you need
before you buy the printed version. Hurry! This offer has been held over until the end of 2009.
Books 24x7 is another great electronic book engine. IBMers world-wide can access books via this engine, free of charge. You can reach the site through many internal home pages. Many other companies and schools also have subscriptions to Books 24x7. Check with your company to see if you have a free subscription.
Are you interested in checking out some new books in electronic form? Safari Books Online is a great electronic book engine and right now, you can receive a free 15-day trial. With Safari Books Online, you can search for a particular keyword, read the entire book cover to cover, or simply ensure that this is the book you need before you buy the printed version. Hurry! This offer ends the end of June, 2009!
are all looking for ways to be green these days, and for opportunities
to save money–without sacrificing our ability to keep our work skills
sharp and current. Thankfully, with Safari Books Online you can be
green and spend less, with searchable access to over 7,600 books,
certification guides and videos online, all for less than a penny each!
Safari Books Online
is an on-demand digital library providing subscription-based access to
thousands of the best technology, creative and business titles from top
publishers like IBM Press, O'Reilly Media, Addison-Wesley, Apress,
Manning and more. With searchable online access from your computer or
mobile device, Safari Books Online makes sure you have the right
information when and where you need it.
Be more efficient and get more done—for less money—with Safari Books Online:
Quickly search over 7,600 books, videos, and certification guides to find the information you need.
New! Search and access mobile-friendly books directly from cell phones and mobile devices.
Watch thousands of hours of expert instructional videos.
Read pre-publication manuscripts and interact with the authors.
Download book chapters or an entire book (PDF) to print or read on the go.
Copy and paste code directly from leading technical books.
Save up to 35% off the price of print books.
*Offer ends June 30, 2009. Available to new subscribers only. Copyright 2009 Safari Books Online. All rights reserved.
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Can you think of a better way to learn? Whenever, wherever, at your own pace or with peers... without traveling. Now with three different options, you can really find the perfect way to keep your skills at the top level!
virtual courses (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 watching a
recorded instructor. 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.
courses allow 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. NOTE: All of these courses are less than $500!
led online (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.
You'll get the high-quality content and personal interaction that you expect from a classroom course with the convenience and cost-savings of online training with instructor-led online training (ILO). With speakers, microphone or headset, you join a virtual classroom where you interact with the instructor and fellow students as if you're in a traditional class setting.
Now is the best time to experience the live instruction, hands-on labs and exciting group dynamics when you enroll in an ILO class. If you want to see how this works, view a demo and enroll today.