Last week (March 12 - 16, 2007), Bradley (Brad) Steinfeld and myself represented the DB2 Express-C team at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) in Tokyo Japan. We delivered demos including one on Ruby on Rails and DB2 Express-C. Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework for creating database backend web applications, and is becoming increasingly popular for Web 2.0 development. The demonstration showcased Aurora, an application builder which allows business professionals to build and secure web-based applications with little or no programming skills. Aurora was created on top of DB2 and Ruby on Rails using the Starter Toolkit for DB2 on Rails which conveniently packages Ruby, Rails, DB2 Express-C and the drivers/adapters required. The demonstration was timely, as the highlight of this ACM event was the speech from Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz), the creator of the Ruby language.
Brad is a student of the University of Waterloo and is working on his last internship at IBM before graduating. Brad was one of the four members of the IBM Extreme Blue team that designed Aurora. What is interesting about Aurora is that it is a neat application built from scratch by students who had no knowledge of Ruby, Rails or DB2. They built it in 3 months. Without taking any credit away from these students (they are very smart!), this does show how easy it is to code on Ruby on Rails using DB2 Express-C as the backend database.
Several students at the event dropped by our ped, especially after Matz speech. We also described DB2 9's pureXML technology.
This is the first time I'm attending the ACM ICPC world finals event. It was an extraordinary event were the smartest students in Computer Science/Engineering all over the world compete to solve a given set of problems in a given amount of time. The winners this year was Warsaw University. Read more about it at the ACM Web site!
This February 2007, I visited universities in Argentina for 2 weeks. This is my sixth visit to this beautiful country, however, it is the first one during the summer time... and it was hot, hot, hot!. From the -10 celsius temperatures in Canada to the 35 celsius in Argentina, I felt both extremes in weather weeks apart. I was told in the city of Resistencia that had I arrived a few days earlier, I would have experienced temperatures close to 49 celsius!.
In my visit this time, I finished the DB2 on Campus program cycle in several universities. For example, at the UTN-Resistencia, and UNNE in Corrientes, I delivered a DB2 speech in early 2006 (my 1st visit), delivered DB2 courses by mid 2006 (2nd visit), and this time I proctored the DB2 certification exam 730. In this occassion, I also visited Buenos Aires, Resistencia, Rosario and Cordoba, and delivered DB2 courses to instructors.
The only unpleasant experience in Argentina is probably flying with the national airline. Their planes are old (making funny sounds)... I have an uneasy feeling every time I board one of their planes. This time I was also unfortunate to have all my flights delayed from 2 to 10 hours because the radar at the airport was not working. Many people were frustrated... In my case, I'm used to this type of things; and as long as I have a laptop with me (and Internet connection), I'm happy and productive. In fact, many of the articles I've written were at airports or on planes, that's why I always double check I carry enough batteries for my Thinkpad.
This has been another successful visit to Argentina. I've come often to this country because the local IBM organizer, Fernando Gomez, is keen to schedule many visits. I will support most the people with most interest in the program... so if you are interested, ensure to push your local IBM representative to work scheduling visits to your school!. If you don't know where to start, send a note to email@example.com with your concerns.
I enjoy working with students and giving them advise...that's why I love running the DB2 on Campus program. For a student, the bottom line is to find a good job in a good company; at least, most of them at the undergraduate level have told me that. I've enjoyed working with the students in Resistencia, Argentina. They have shown a lot of enthusiasm, and have worked very hard to grow their DB2 User's Group. In my last visit, I reminded them the power of "Marketing". It is good to be a good student, and get very good marks; however, in my opinion, it is most important to be visible, and let others know you are good at what you do. That's why I'm encouraging students during my visits to blog, write DB2 articles, write DB2 books, post their resumes including DB2 in them, and participate in the DB2 forums. The more visible you are, the best are your chances of getting that great job you are looking for... And I recently proved this is the right approach. Mario Piz, the first student featured in the IBM DB2 Express-C web site was hired as a coop student at a bank in his province. The manager called and hired him after seeing his picture in the IBM site! (Success story!). Mario is a rather quiet student. I'm sure many engineering and computer science students would identify well with Mario's personality. It is important for Mario and all students like him to market their skills and be visible!. It pays off!
We have decided to rename the "DB2 Express-C University Program" to "DB2 on Campus Program". The new name is shorter, and it reflects the visits my team is doing to universities... I will start blogging my visits for 2007.