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Jun 10, 2010

A Shortage of Something?

By Tami Deedrick

Brian May of the Young i Professionals wrote an article for our EXTRA enewsletter that brought up an interesting question: Is there a shortage of workers or a shortage of jobs?

I encourage you to read his article and then make some comments below. 


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I am pretty passionate about working on IBM i . Though this is one of the best and finest piece of technologyes available in the market today there is definetely a great shortage of work force. One of the main reasons for the shortage of work force is easy and affordable access to learn and master this technology , this leads to lack of availabality of skilled work force, this even worries corporates and as result companies move to other technoligies where they can find more skill set available in the market .

I am also passionate about working on IBM i. I feel the shortage is due to two areas, the lack of easily accessible high quality inexpensive training and the demand for high paying jobs in the industry.

When the AS/400 was first introduced, training by IBM was readily available and it was free. There were lots of user groups across the country bringing qualified speakers to present information and people were willing to attend and learn. Education was an important part of the industry and employers were willing to help provide this as a means to keep good employees and improve the quality of the employees work and improve their productivity. Hardware and the reduced cost of manufacturing has lead the industry to be less concerned about how efficient the end product is and more about how cheaply it can be produced. With the increase number of workers came a reduction in salaries. The higher paying jobs went to the newer flashier technology.

The IBM i, is still seen as older technology, although we know better, but the marketing of the IBM i has not been improved or changed to keep the box in the mainstream of business decision makers minds. Back when the AS/400 was introduced, the mainframe, personal computer and AS/400 were separate and competing against each other. This is no longer the case and IBM does not care which box you purchase as long as it is IBM, so the market share for the IBM i has been diluted.

It all comes down to supply and demand. When the supply of qualified candidates for a job was few, the salaries were higher and the demand to go into this area of the industry was great. As the number of jobs has fallen, so has the demand. As these employees age and retire, the demand will increase unless the number of IBM i boxes falls.

I am a YIP, I have been with this wonderful system since last 7 years and I have kind of fallen love with it.
We need to get more young folks on this system is what I feel will make its truth more visible.
The most important what I feel is the lack of IBM I visibility among college/university students, If IBM can make it there, trust me you will find more and more YIPS.

I have only recently been exposed to the IBM i and at first I was very reluctant and thought that "big iron" was on its deathbed. It certainly didn't have the attention that personal computers have received and all of the glitzy new technology for the web and language variety like Ruby or Python (although PHP seems to be slowing gaining a bit of ground).

But I have come to appreciate the strengths of the IBM i and want to dig deeper and get more at home with it using what is available. Sadly, what is available for training, distance learning, or reference is sparse, expensive, or non existent. Which makes it difficult for someone that wants to learn more.

IBM has a solid product on it's hands. It is sad that so few who know about it and that resources to learn to use it well are so hard to come by.

For all that are looking for free/inexpensive remote access to an "IBM i in the cloud", please email me privately so I can add you to my list of people to contact once such a system becomes available (which it will hopefully this year yet). My email is [email protected]

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