Trevor Perry writes this week about a recent System i conference he went to, and a panel session he moderated. Anyone who knows Perry knows that he complains about the complainers. That is, he criticizes those who bemoan platform name changes, IBM’s marketing of the System i, and so forth.
This time, however, I think he has a solid argument.
Perry recalled how, during the panel session, the discussion arose regarding the shrinking pool of System i developers out there. Some panel members pointed to the IBM Academic Initiative, which has gotten some System i-related courses in universities and community colleges. Attendees supported this kind of educational effort, but as Perry writes, the complaints continued:
And the conversation went around and around. And the complaints continued. While we all love love love the platform, there are not enough people who know about IBM i, not enough new programmers working on IBM i, not enough, not enough, not enough… So, I asked everyone in the room – about 40 or so, some questions I have used with the i community in the past. I had just not paid attention to the answer.
The questions were:
- “How many of you have talked to your local college or school and encouraged them to teach IBM i and RPG?”
- “How many of you have hired interns from local colleges to work with your IT department with IBM i and RPG?”
- “How many of you have told someone outside this community about this amazing platform?”
As Perry recalls, there was a lot of uncomfortable silence following those questions, and Perry knew why. Because they hadn’t actually done any of those things. He thinks that everyone in the System i community — not only IBM, the ISVs, the VARs and the consultants, but the end users too — should be participating and doing things to further the platform. He has a point.