Nick works for IBM in Lenexa, Kansas as a software developer on Informix database products. He graduated from Boston College with a degree in philosophy and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he obtained an M.S. degree in Computer Sciences.
During his graduate studies in Wisconsin, Nick's professors introduced him to Informix database software. In his courses, he learned the basics of data structures, syntax, compilers, and debuggers, which all helped him land a job at IBM. To further advance his skills, Nick pursued IBM Professional Certification (http://www-03.ibm.com/certify/index.shtml) on Informix software and became an IBM Certified Systems Administrator. At IBM, Nick continues to develop Informix technology to help businesses meet their growing demands in today's dynamic environment. Read below what he has to say about the challenges and rewards of database development.
A job with global scope
Nick really enjoys the varied, worldwide scope of his job. One of IBM's three core values is 'Innovation that Matters' and IBM works with companies from all over the world to deliver innovative solutions. Nick deals with companies in many different sectors including banking, telecommunications, and retail. He says of his experience, "It is wonderful to interact with these customers and work with them through their challenges, planning for what the future holds."
Technical skills required
Nick finds that he needs not only technical skills to be successful, but also communication skills and a broad understanding of a customer's business.
To learn more about the skills Nick uses, listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
Engaging in hot topics
Energy sector applications today are focusing on analyzing increasing amounts of data to allow consumers to make smart energy decisions. An energy provider in the UK, Hildebrand, uses Informix to gather and analyze large amounts of energy data at a very rapid pace. Informix was more than able to handle the significant workload. Nick describes this accomplishment stating, "For us, we will live in a world where you can have more control over energy usage in your home and be better stewards of the environment."
To learn more about the Informix application, click here to read IBM's Press Release on Hildebrand.
The biggest challenge for Nick is developing features that work across a number of database servers without impacting stability and availability.
To learn more about the challenges he faces, listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
Finding solutions for his customers
Nick has found that each new customer requirement presents an opportunity for the Informix database to be used in an innovative way to solve a business problem. Some of Nick's customers run businesses that maintain relatively stable patterns throughout the year but have high data periods at quarter or year end. During these times, the customer must deal with an increase in data workload requirements. The amount of information a database must manage can more than triple during this period. Informix uses a cluster-based replication functionality to handle these types of issues. With the scale-out and load-balancing capabilities of the cluster, customers can rest assured their systems maintain up time. Nick further describes the capabilities of Informix, "Due to the 'Capacity on Demand' functionality, IBM technology is able to handle the large increase in workload with ease."
Advice to students pursuing a similar career
Nick would give the following advice to students, "Do what you love, that is the most important thing. Whatever job you get, if you love it, then it will seem like play to you and never seem like work. It's important to have strong technical skills and those aren't the only skills you need to have. Good communication, reading and writing, interacting/ team leading are important too."
Making a positive impact through his profession
Nick believes that IBM is the best company to work for and he wants to make Informix the best database in the world. Nick describes his ambitions, "There is continuous innovation in Informix. Our product helps businesses run the world. It's cool to pick up the newspaper and see the companies in the headlines, knowing they are your customers. We are making a difference."
Articles written by Nick on developerWorks
New capabilities for migrating to DB2 and Informix in IBM Migration Toolkit 1.4.9
Replication technologies for Informix
Informix ER made easy for OpenAdmin Tool
Migrating to IBM database servers gets easier with the latest MTK release
Using the IBM Migration Toolkit from a command line