How do we attract new IT talent to IBM i?

Question for you:

What would it take to attract and keep IT professionals to the IBM i platform?

Many of us in the community have struggled with this question over the years.

The burgeoning adoption of open source solutions on IBM i has given us languages that can attract new IT talent to the platform.

Attracting new talent

Languages like Python, node.js, Ruby, and PHP are great at attracting fresh talent out of colleges, universities, and technical schools, but is it enough? I don’t think so.

I’ve worked at companies that brought in a new skill to marry with an existing skill. The idea was to drive synergies and gain cross-pollination. If IBM i shops took this approach, they could build new capabilities, while extending the reach of their systems and data through modernization.

Going with what you know

However, I’ve seen in those same shops a tendency for new developers to convince their new company to move various aspects of their workload off the IBM i and onto operating systems like Linux.

It’s a natural reaction: just like we love the IBM i platform because we grew up with it, new IT professionals are going to gravitate to Linux because it’s what they grew up with. This is not a reflection of the technical merits of any platform or operating system, but part of human nature.

Bring new talent into IBM i shops

A quick side comment on the right and wrong ways to bring new IT talents, who are well versed in open source technologies, into IBM i shops.

The wrong way would be to bring in new talent, let them sit by themselves in a corner, left to their own devices without explicit direction. What will typically happen here is that the new talent will suggest moving off the IBM i. They may also decide to leave the organization to work for a “real” open source company.

The right approach is to have new talent work directly with the IBM i skilled resources on your team. Now, new talent gains IBM i skills, an appreciation for the platform, and a new level of open source skills, and the IBM i skilled resource will have the opportunity to pick up some open source skills – a win/win/win result.

New technologies to attract new talent?

So, what new open source tools and packages available on the IBM i platform would help to attract new users? Is it the latest and greatest languages like Go? Is it cutting edge IDEs like Brackets and NetBeans? Is it debuggers like xdb?

We need to identify new tools to attract talent and convince them that the IBM i platform is modern (which, of course, we know that already!).

Add your comments below

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Your input could have a significant impact on the next wave of open source solutions and packages that get ported to the platform! Please leave a comment below.

Alternatively, email me at ossoni@roguewave.com and together we will build a platform that remains modern and relevant for the next 30 years!

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    Erwin Earley

    Erwin is a senior solutions consultant for Rogue Wave Software. As an open source advocate for IBM i, he has been instrumental in the leveraging of technologies such as Linux, and PHP on the IBM i platform

    About Erwin Earley

    Erwin is a senior solutions consultant for Rogue Wave Software. As an open source advocate for IBM i, he has been instrumental in the leveraging of technologies such as Linux, and PHP on the IBM i platform