Archives: September 2015
From time to time, nearly all of us resist or postpone developing new skills and learning how to take advantage of new technology. This can be especially true as we age, even among information technology professionals who have had long and successful careers in an ever changing environment.
According to the Pew Research Center (PRC), approximately 30% of the United States workforce is over 50 years of age. In another study published this year, the PRC estimated that approximately 59% of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 were still active in the workforce. If you are in this age group, you may be thinking more about the end of your career than about learning new work-related skills. The simple fact is, however, that staying mentally sharp and developing new skills at work not only raises our value in the workforce, but also helps us stay mentally sharp and productive at home.
The US Social Security Administration says that a man who is age 50 today is likely to live another 32.3 years while a woman age 50 is likely to live to another 35.6 years. That’s the average life expectancy. Many of us will live much longer. Taken another way, if you are in this age group, you probably have as many years in front of you, in or out of the workforce, as you’ve had since you left high school or college. That’s a long time and it will be a whole lot less interesting for those who’ve stopped challenging themselves to learn new things.
Unlike our peers in physically demanding occupations, those of us who work in information technology can, with a commitment to lifelong learning, continue to perform at a high level regardless of our age. That’s cool and important to remember next time you find yourself resisting an opportunity to learn.
If you use Google to search for information related to IBM i, what terms and product names do you enter? IBM i, iSeries, System i, AS/400? Google's own search statistics indicate pretty clearly that many people still use them all. As software vendors, we must know what words and phrases people search on because we want our own information and search advertising to appear frequently. NGS uses Google's Adwords tools each month to get a quantifiable measure of market interest and what people in the "Americas" search on when they look for things related to IBM i. It's a little tricky to get accurate numbers because of multi-word product names, special characters like "/", etc., but here's what Google's Adwords tool shows for the average number of searches per month for the past year ending June 2015:
|Keyword or Term||Average Monthly Searches
June 2014 through June 2015
|"IBM System i"||140|
|"IBM i 7.2"||40|
|"IBM i 7.1"||30|
|"IBM POWER i"||30|
It's amazing how AS/400 and all its variants continue to dominate the market even after all these years since IBM marketed a product by that name. We support and use IBM's current naming conventions consistently in our conversations and materials, but sometimes we're forced to use older terminology to ensure our Google ads and website come up frequently in search results.
For comparison sake, Google shows that "business intelligence" was entered an average of 33,100 times in May and June. LINUX was used 201,000 times both months. "IBM Watson" was searched on 22,200 times in May and 18,100 time in June.
Caveat: Google search stats may be misleading in technical fields because experienced IBM i developers know where to go directly for technical information and are not as likely as consumers to start out at Google, but the managers and users they support may indeed begin their research at Google when they have questions.
Here's more information on how Google arrives at these statistics.
Personnel changes happen more often than technology at many companies. If your company has changed IT personnel from experienced IBM i people to IT people who have little background on the platform, watch this video. Afterwards, IT professionals new to IBM i will come away with a deep background and an understanding of key IBM i concepts. Watch this short video for some ideas to stimulate the discussion in your enterprise.
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