Are you going to COMMON?

If not, why not?

OK, yeah, COMMON is kind of pricey. Add air fare, hotel, & food to the conference fee and you’re talking real money (not quite $100M though <grin/>).

Next question: Do you attend your local user group meetings? What about their technical conferences?

Word of advice: If you don’t go to either, you absolutely SHOULD GO!

A lot of people I’ve talked to have commented that the IBM i (System i / iSeries /AS400, take your pick) is “old” technology. They are quite surprised when I tell them the kinds of things it can do.

So where does the “old” technology moniker come from? Well, one possible source is the fact that a lof of people who work on the “i” don’t learn new concepts.

Face it folks … in the technology world, the only constant is change. If you don’t keep up with technology you’re going to be left behind in the dust.

For this reason alone, it’s absolutely in your best interest to attend user group meetings and technical conferences. As an added benefit, when you attend a user group meeting, you’re going to meet others in the field … and networking is never a bad idea.

Heck, it’s even a good idea to attend meetings where you don’t have a specific interest in the topic. Case in point: Yesterday I attended an Omni User meeting where my friend Rob Berendt was presenting on the differences between DDS & DDL. Honest truth, I didn’t have a lot of interest in the topic … but Rob is a friend and I wanted to see him. And, despite my best efforts, I learned something about using DDL. PLUS, I talked to a MKS customer about a concern they had.

So some of you aren’t going to be able to attend COMMON … and there’s no local user group in your area. In that case: teach yourself some new technology … even if it doesn’t directly apply to your job. Learn something new. Even if you just get a book on Java or PHP programming, download Eclipse, and start playing around you’re going to be ahead of the game.

I’ve always been surprised when I meet a technical person who doesn’t play around with computers a little bit in their spare time. In my opinion, it’s absolutely required that you keep learning. It doesn’t have to be to the extreems that I do it, but learn something new at least once a week. Download a copy of Linux and play around with it, learn a new programming language, or if you want to really expand your horizons, pick up a book on business conepts and learn a new problem domain.

The key is: Keep learning.

About David:
David is a Principal Software Engineer for PTC, Integrity Business Unit. He cut his teeth on the S/36 and has more than 25 years of experience on the IBM i / System i / iSeries / AS400. He primarily works in Java and ILE RPG specializing in cross platform integrations. David has received the COMMON Distinguished Service award and was named an IBM Power Systems Champion. David is an active volunteer with the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure fundraising bike ride. He is currently captain of Team RED Chicago. David runs and maintains midrange.com. His personal blog is Geeky Ramblings.