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Learning AIX and IBM i: Courses, Tracks and Certifications

As I made my way across the country from the ocean, to a campsite in the woods, to a cabin along a lake during my latest camping adventures, I realized that I had not answered a question I had received. 

I was asked “Are there some courses or tracks or certifications you would recommend if we are looking to develop IBM i and AIX resources internally?”

I immediately wondered, what is the background and skill level of the person who needs training? I would have different recommendations for someone with many years of IT experience and a Unix or Linux background versus someone with little or no IT experience who had only used Apple computers or Windows operating systems.

I went with a pretty generic answer, for example they might consider formal classes, like AIX basics. The course description states:

“This course enables you to perform everyday tasks using the AIX operating system.”

There are classes from Global Knowledge like implementation and administration where you learn to install, customize and administer the AIX operating system in a partitioned environment.

Or maybe the advanced administration class. The description states that this course provides advanced AIX system administrator skills with a focus on availability and problem determination. It provides detailed knowledge of the ODM database. It shows how to deal with AIX problems. There is special focus on dealing with Logical Volume Manager problems, including procedures for replacing disks. Several techniques for minimizing the system maintenance window are covered.

There is a jumpstart class if they already know Unix where they provide focused training for experienced UNIX administrators on how to install, customize and administer the AIX operating system in a multiuser POWER partitioned environment.

The whole list of classes can be found if you search for AIX.

There was an article that stated that user groups are the Power systems heartbeat, and I tend to agree.

“User groups are the heartbeat of the IBM Power Systems community. … Many features that we have built into the platform were a direct result of feedback we collected from clients and business partners in user groups.”
“Everyone is in it together. Many user group members are business partners or clients who compete against each other on a daily basis, yet when it comes to the user group community, their dedication to IBM Power Systems platform outweighs the desire to outfox the competition.”

“Virtual learning is of particular importance since many clients are unable to attend conferences and seminars (such as IBM’s Technical University events) in person. As a result, virtual learning groups allow professionals to further their education without financial burdens or logistical headaches.”

I wrote about this topic in 2007. Even back then I said: 

If you can’t attend meetings, either due to a lack of time or the absence of a group in your area, you can still join virtual user groups and sign up for their teleconferences and webinars. They bring in various guest speakers just like traditional user groups–and perhaps an hour-long conference call fits more easily into your schedule.

User group mailing lists can be another great resource. Groups that may not regularly schedule formal meetings may still have active lists, and the informal question and answers that can come from the mailing list can be very helpful.

I revisited the topic in 2011 when I wrote about different blogs, bloggers, videos and documents, some of which you may still recognize and use 10 years later.

I want to remind you to watch the replays from the Power Virtual User Group technical webinar series.

There are other groups that have older recordings which do not have recent content but may still be worth checking out. 

Nigel Griffith recorded videos for the njmon and nmon user meetings as well as the AIX user meetings.

Nigel also has videos going back eight years on his Youtube channel. At the time I recorded this he had just posted a new video.

One of the most well-known meetings is the Power Systems Virtual User Group, the oldest Sessions I can see were from 2007. These monthly meetings have been going for years and are still very relevant.

At the end of all of taking all these classes and watching these replays, you may find that you are ready for the AIX v7 administrator certification.

Lastly, be sure to keep up to speed with the latest Redbooks.

This was some of what came to my mind when I considered how I would get new staff up to speed with POWER systems, how would you answer the question?

Hopefully you have learned something today, thank you for your time and I will talk to you soon. Thanks for watching.