The importance of the IBM i community

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There are no excuses. I just wasn’t able to keep up with my own expectations to walk into the IBM i world but…bear with me, though. I’m here to relaunch this path, learning process, interest, passion and of course, this blog. Every time I see any mention to the fresh faces to the platform, I say to myself “hey, you should be one of these faces should you have more perseverance”. So, if you support this (I’m basically talking to myself here), please continue reading (writing / learning / sharing).

Early this year I have been interviewing different people who kindly share their time, views and energy toward IBM i. This became a series called “Learning From Champions” and it was created with the purpose of getting to know both the platform and the people who have a very close connection to it. Leaders, champions, experts, passionate…you name it. The brain of this project was my mentor, Mr. Trevor Perry, who happened to be the first interviewee. In every single interview the IBM i community was a recurrent topic. The IBM i community is an essential pillar for the platform. Moreover, the IBM i community is a key resource for people like me, people with tons of interest in learning, understanding and slowly joining it.

The idea of this post is to name the people, websites and publications that are part of this great community and who I have some sort of interaction with.

  • Although they write about many platforms, IBM i is the one that receives the most attention. IT Jungle publications are provided freely to their subscribers, which helps a lot when you are just starting on this. You can find a lot of information related to technical as well as business aspects. They have many people involved in the writing process and I do enjoy and learn from one of them specially: Alex Woodie. However, you will find that all itJungle contributors are excellent.
  • Mohammed Yusuf M.: His YouTube channel is incredible. It contains many videos explaining different aspects of the platform as well as how-to guides that will take you step by step to, for example, a Practical Use Case using Python in IBM i, ILE concepts in RPG and many other videos. He’s posting almost every week and sometimes multiple times per week.
  • iTalk podcast by Paul Tuohy: Paul Tuohy is an IBM Champion and has specialized in App development on IBM midrange systems almost forever. He runs these podcast by interviewing people that are either part of the platform development team as well as members of this resourceful community. I have the pleasure of interviewing him as well as being interviewed by him and it was an absolute pleasure and incredible learning experience.
  • The people behind this website are just incredible. They offer a free and public server running IBM i for people like me, where we can play, test and learn. They normally upgrade to the latest version pretty quick once it becomes available.
  • IBM Systems Magazine: another great resource to find any type of information related to IBM i, from interviews to guides on how to perform different tasks within the platform. They have many contributors, although I know just a few, being one of them Dawn May (I had been lucky enough to interview her early this year). She runs her blog called i Can where you will not only learn but also perceive the passion she has for IBM i.
  • Help Systems Blog: They write about multiple platforms too, being IBM i one of them. I find this blog very useful and I do enjoy and learn when Tom Huntington, an IBM i expert and IBM Champion writes, like this incredible post called Is the AS/400 Dead?
  • COMMON is the world’s largest association of IBM and IBM-compatible information technology users – extracted from their website. Every year, a few times a year they offer conferences where you can learn from experts and champions as well learning about where the platform is going. I still wasn’t able to go to one of them however I don’t give up; participating is in my To-Do list. Common’s mission is to enhance the career of its members so I would love not to miss any conference from them.
  • Trevor Perry, Mike Pavlak, Liam Allan, Jim Buck have been there for every question I had, providing me with tips, ideas, counselling and shedding light upon my journey.
  • IBM i Community on Slack: Matt Seeberger created this chat group where a lot of exchange occurs among IBM i community members, professionals. This space is another great resource for being up-to-date with information about the platform.
  • RPGPGM.COM: I was forgetting about this fantastic IBM i blog – Thank you David for pointing it out! Simon Hutchinson’s blog is full of tips and how-to guides. In every single post there is something to learn. Although I am not that advanced, this will be a key reference for me in my journey.

The community is large and there are tons of contributors. However I listed the ones I have used the most to prepare myself for the interviews as well as learning.

What I do understand for sure is that the IBM i community is extremely important to keep the passion growing. At least it helped me to keep the spark alive while busy with daily life responsibilities. As the song goes, everything burns if you apply the right spark.

Thank you IBM i community. I’ll keep learning from you with the goal of eventually becoming part of it and a resource for others.

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