Whether it's increasing productivity, improving collaboration, managing massive amounts of information, or improving operations and cost, there's one key to success - Knowledge. User groups help to provide this knowledge. As an attendee, you will have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and technical experts, as well as hear and provide feedback on the roadmap for the future.
Upcoming events for 2015:
MWLUG - Atlanta, GA - August 19 - 21 (limited spots left)
Developing a network of peers working in the same technology area is vital. Discussing your current project and bouncing ideas off of people who might have a different viewpoint can give you a fresh perspective, and encouragement to keep going when you hit a roadblock. In addition, there are long term benefits, too. As many as 60% of tech jobs aren't advertised formally. It's likely that your perfect job opportunity will come via your network. A recommendation from a peer carries a lot more weight than passing your resumé across someone's desk. Then there's the social aspect: exposure to other cultures, discussions about other markets and economies, forging friendships over cocktails, bonding over your favourite song during Karaoke. There's no end to the possibilities!
2 - Learning opportunities:
Solving business problems through shared experiences - If you're facing a problem, chances are that someone in the community has already faced and solved that very problem, and can help you with advice or guidance. If you're looking for a better way to do something, hearing how others implement solutions can help you think outside of the box. Speakers at user groups are generally considered experts in their field, and therefore have a wealth of knowledge, and are always willing to share. Attending sessions gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and perhaps even stick around after the session for a more in-depth discussion with the expert. Customer presentations are the heart of user groups. Explore new solutions, hear frontline stories, get valuable ideas to optimize your productivity.
3 - Sharing knowledge:
I consider this one to be paying it forward. We all owe someone something. Whether it's the person who recommended you for a job, or someone who helped you out of a sticky situation. We don't always get to pay that person back, but what we can do is pay it forward by helping someone else. An added benefit of sharing your knowledge is that it raises your own profile, within the community, and within your company, and these contributions are considered when choosing our IBM Champions.
4 - IBM Champions:
User group meetings are run by, and heavily attended by IBM Champions. These are the people who go above and beyond their daily work to advocate for solutions and share their knowledge. IBM recognizes them as Champions because they help drive our business and show the world how to implement our solutions in real life scenarios. They meet challenges head-on, create solutions, share their knowledge to enable others' success, and provide valuable feedback to IBM to influence future direction and improvements. Spending some time with an IBM Champion is never time wasted.
As many of the IBM Champions know, our industry is very skewed when it comes to gender, looking at our IBM Champion program as a representative group, we can clearly see that there is a lack of balance between male and female. While there are things we can do to support our current women in technology, and encourage them to become IBM Champions, I'm excited to tell you that I've also been working on a program that might help with that balance further down the road.
IBM is excited to sponsor a Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program in New York City this year! Girls Who Code is a national non-profit dedicated to empowering teenage girls to pursue a career in technical roles. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be the program manager for this partnership, and what a fun ride it's been so far! As it's IBM's first time to sponsor Girls Who Code, I'm blazing a trail, which is something that gets me out of bed in the mornings. We all want to make a difference in the world, and I'm thrilled that I get to make a difference by helping young women, who might ordinarily not have the opportunity, to see the potential of a tech career.
As a woman in tech, this subject is near and dear to my heart, and this year I'm celebrating 15 years with IBM. I've held roles as lead technical writer, development manager, program manager, and most recently moved into a marketing role to run business programs for IBM's Cloud Ecosystem, including the IBM Champion Program. My advice to women starting out in their careers in tech:
There's nothing a man can do better than you. The barrier is breaking down the stereotypes that make others believe that statement not to be true. By not allowing these stereotypes to limit us is how we will eventually lose them.
So with that, I'm really excited to see the plan coming together for our program. In addition to the already robust curriculum provided by Girls Who Code, IBM's sponsorship of the program includes a range of amazing women from IBM who will spend an hour in the classroom for the speaker series, talking to the girls on subjects ranging from career development, to testing, to inventing, to leadership. The girls will take a field trip to IBM Watson's headquarters in NYC, where they will get a tour of the facility, get to interact with Watson, and have lunch in Chef Watson's cafeteria. We'll also be demonstrating the power of IBM's Bluemix platform with a workshop where they will build an application on Bluemix. We're providing IBM mentors to each of the girls, and will have a face-to-face event for the girls to get to know their mentors, and using IBM's MentorPlace tool to communicate during the program and beyond.
We hope that IBM's support of women in technology, via our sponsorship of Girls Who Code, and other initiatives, will build a pipeline of strong, confident women, who will eventually be the next wave of women in technology at IBM, or as our customers and business partners, perhaps even IBM Champions, and will help close the gender gap in our industry.
On a personal note, having been in the role of World Wide IBM Champion Program Manager for just over a year, it's been a great experience watching the IBM Champions in action at conferences and user groups, reading your blogs, and interacting with you on social media. You're inspirational to be around, an you've all been very kind to "the new kid", and for that I'm grateful.
IBM Champion program
The IBM Champion program recognizes innovative thought leaders in the technical community, and rewards these contributors by amplifying their voice and increasing their sphere of influence. An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who influences and mentors others to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services.
The IBM Champions are all set to rock IDUG in Philadelphia next week, May 4 - 8. I'm excited to be celebrating Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you), in the company of so many nerds technical folks :-) I'm also very proud to see that there are over 40 sessions hosted by IBM Champions!
IBM Champions know that knowledge is useless unless it's shared!
This past week was Social Connections in Boston, the first time for this conference to be held in the USA. So being so close, and full of IBM Champions as speakers and attendees, of course I had to go!
There were 17 IBM Champions speaking at the conference and many more in attendance from all over the world. The conference was arranged by several of the IBM Champions: Simon Vaughan, Wannes Rams,Jan Valdman, plus Lars Samuelsson, Maria Enderstam, and Doug Morrison. What a great team, and a fabulous conference!
Here are some resources from attendees so that you get a well-rounded view of the conference:
This coming week will be the International Informix User Group conference, in San Diego. Celebrating 20 years! It boasts the largest gathering of Informix DBAs, Developers and Business Partners in the world, including many of our IBM Champions!
I want to call special attention to the IBM Champion sessions. IBM Champions are leaders in the community, experts in their field, and are passionate about the work they do. They love to share their knowledge, and you'll leave their sessions with valuable information for real-world application.
This session will present some things that you can do to check on the health of your database.
It will cover how to set up automatic alerts, SQL that can be run against sysmaster and onstats that can be used to identify performance bottlenecks, bufferpool use, checkpoints, table usage and more.
In order for database to really become the heart of a living information system, it takes more than only storing, changing and retrieving data in a perfect way. The adoption of a DBMS quite often depends on availability of additional tools and frameworks that support it. This is the field in which both Informix product and Informix community could use some improvement.
In this presentation, the importance of such tools will be emphasized, and some of the examples of such software will be shown, from some useful DBA utilities and programming tools to large application frameworks.
A case study over resolving pending in place alters on over 1 billion rows using a pre v12.10 engine without performing dummy updates against every row, without downtime and without any performance impact.
Fun things you will learn about:
* What worked and what didn't
* What happens when you update a page with a pending IPA
* The data page slot table
* Bitmap pages
* Mapping physical addresses to logical addresses
* Using sysmaster to read raw data from disk
In this session, you will learn how to use JDBC to connect to an Informix database. We will follow 3 examples and will draw
some comparison with 4GL. If you are a 4GL developer and want to understand how to understand how Java works, this is
This is an introduction-level session. At the end of the session you will be able to create your first JDBC CRUD application using Eclipse and Informix.
Informix application development often rhymes with 4GL. On this panel, we will discuss with experts in Java, 4GL, and .net development using Informix. They will share their experience with us and answer the floor’s questions.
JSON and other semi-structured data formats present unique challenges fororganizations. To take advantage of these new paradigms for new systems andintegrate them into our existing systems, we wrestle with unacceptablealternatives. I will propose a better way.
This session will demonstrate an end-to-end example of how the Internet of Things really works. It will show how data from home-built sensors (based on Arduinos) can be fed to a gateway (ARM processor running Informix) and stored in a TimeSeries database. The sensor information can then be pushed to the cloud where it can be accessed from a mobile device in real time. The demonstration will include viewing the TimeSeries data graphically through a web page.
Attendees will learn how Informix TimeSeries is a perfect fit for storing sensor data, and why it can and should be at the center of an Internet of Things solution.
Demonstration of this running on a small ARM based computer will show how this can be part of an easily deployed, low power and cost-effective embedded solution. This is a very practical demonstration, including how the sensors themselves can be easily constructed and is a great example of the Internet of Things.
I had the honor of attending two independently run user group meetings in Europe recently: ICS User Group in Bremen, Germany, and Engage User Group in Ghent, Belgium. Both conferences are organized by IBM Champions, Stafan Sucker and Theo Heselmans, respectively. I am thrilled that I got to go and support them, and the 40+ IBM Champions who were speaking at the conferences, either one or both of them.
It was an amazing experience to see the commitment and passion in the community, from the organizers, the sponsors who make these user group conferences possible, the speakers, and the attendees. There was high-quality content being presented, and people learned new things. New friendships were made, and barriers broken down. That's what this is all about.
Between the two conferences, there was a very fun mode of transportation, fondly referred to as "the beer bus". I admit to not drinking a single beer ;-) (what I did drink will remain a mystery to those not on the bus) Needless to say that as the miles passed, the jokes got funnier, the dancing got better, and the noise level got louder. 7 hours in a closed environment with some of the best the ICS community has to offer: unforgettable.
So that's my short and sweet intro. I'll let you discover for yourselves how the conference went with some social metrics, and some links to other peoples' reports and photo streams:
A BIG THANK YOU! to hosts Stefan Sucker and Theo Heselmans for their hospitality and attention to detail. The community truly appreciates your efforts.
Just a quick update on IBM InterConnect from an IBM Champion perspective. I was so happy that I got to meet so many IBM Champions at the conference. It's always great to put a face to the name. Our IBM Champions are truly special people. They are the ones leading user groups, speaking at conferences, such as IBM InterConnect, and independent conferences, bridging the gaps in knowledge with their blogs, answering questions in forums, providing feedback to IBM. They build a community around our products and solutions and love to share their knowledge and experience. The IBM Champions hosted 29 sessions at the conference.
As IBM Champions, one of the perks is that we give them a little extra love at IBM Conferences, in addition to the privileges they enjoy throughout the year. At IBM InterConnect they enjoyed:
Recognition during the walk-in experience of general sessions (names displayed on big screen)
Up close reserved seating at the general sessions
Access to exclusive receptions, such as Inner Circle and Heroes receptions
Special IBM Champion logo crystal award and give aways
IBM Champion meet and greet happy hour with specialty cocktails
Promotion of IBM Champion sessions through social media from key IBM social accounts
Floor access to Aerosmith
All well deserved and we always wish we could do more to recognize these amazing people. So I would like to say a big THANK YOU! to all of the IBM Champions for all that you have done for us!
Do you know customers, business partners or consultants who are prominent advocates? Who influence others toward IBM Information Management solutions? Who help support the development and growth of the IBM Information Management business and its communities? If so, consider nominating them for IBM Champion.
Nominations for the 2015 IBM Champion for Information Managementprogram are now open worldwide and are being accepted through 8 March, 2015. Candidates may be nominated by another individual or they may self-nominate.
Although applications will be reviewed and approved solely on the efforts of ones community contributions, we are especially interested in applicants outside the United States. Please note a nomination does not guarantee acceptance.
We are looking for customers, business partners, and consultants that demonstrate a strong impact within the community in some of the following ways....
Advocate Information Management offerings in the community with competence and credibility (customer references, analyst/press, videos/podcasts, social channels, blogs, presentations, etc.)
Share knowledge with and provide support to the community (books, articles, blogs, forums, social channels, presentations, videos, education etc.).
Support development of Information Management products (beta programs, Customer Advisory Councils, etc)
Nurture Information Management communities (user groups, online communities, social groups, etc.)