When is the last time you attended SHARE? If the answer is anything beyond a year, quite frankly, it’s been too long! Those of you newer to the mainframe may be asking, what is SHARE and why should I be interested in attending? SHARE has been making some changes and improvements, including some initiatives specifically geared toward the newer mainframe professional.

What Is SHARE?

In 1955, just two years after the release of IBM’s first computer, a handful of the earliest IT professionals collaborated to form SHARE. Thus, came into being the world’s first organization of computing professionals. Ever since, SHARE has become synonymous with high-quality, user-driven education, training, and resources to make enterprise computing professionals more effective in their jobs and more valuable to the organizations for which they work. SHARE currently counts more than 2,100 enterprise computing organizations among its active member ranks. These SHARE member organizations represent more than 20,000 individual enterprise computing specialists. SHARE is an independent, volunteer-run, financially self-sufficient organization that maintains an extremely close partnership with IBM and its subsidiaries, as well as other leading vendors. SHARE will be holding its next conference in San Diego, August 12 – 17.

Improving and Evolving

The last five years have seen SHARE make a concerted effort to continually improve its conference and to evolve into more than its stereotype of being a mainframe-focused users group. While the mainframe has always been, and will continue to be, a very important part of SHARE conferences, SHARE has much more to offer than just mainframe training sessions. In 2007, SHARE introduced two business issues—IT 2010 and Business Continuity. In keeping with these business issues, SHARE developed focused sessions around preparing the IT organization to realize business value from emerging technologies and lessons on how to keep IT services from failing and causing business interruption.

The Professional Development project at SHARE features presentations from some of the top speakers in the IT industry on subjects other than IT. For example, if you’re like many people, you have a profound fear of your boss asking you to give a presentation. Surveys indicate that the majority of us fear public speaking more than we fear dying.

Guess what? At SHARE, you can attend two sessions led by one of the world’s top public speaking coaches, Randall Munson, and get world-class advice on how to overcome your fear of public speaking and deliver great technical presentations. If you’re about to make the move to management, George D’Iorio, Richard Marshall, and Vicky Jo Varner lead some great sessions on how to prepare for your transition to management and how to succeed once you make the transition.

Is your organization evaluating Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)? SHARE in San Diego has 24 SOA training sessions from the basics to the advanced on a wide variety of platforms. How about IT 2010 or IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) initiatives? SHARE in San Diego has a variety of sessions on those topics as well. SHARE in San Diego also will see a renewed emphasis placed on business continuity, disaster recovery, and IT resilience for all platforms and technologies.

SHARE members and attendees frequently express the value of SHARE to their companies. The April/May 2007 issue of z/Journal highlighted the success realized by the Province of Quebec in its migration to Linux on System z. They were able to take knowledge gained from SHARE colleagues and sessions and apply it to their successful implementation. It’s just one example of learning from SHARE and applying the results at home. Other examples are highlighted in a SHARE’d Experience, a platform where attendees communicate and express opinions about SHARE’s year-round education, networking, and user-driven programs.

SHARE Mainframe-Focused Highlights for San Diego

SHARE and IBM have been working closely to attract more IT professionals to the mainframe, both new college grads and experienced professionals. The zNextGen initiative is an active project at SHARE that now has more than 250 members. IBM’s Academic Initiative is doing a fantastic job at the college/university campuses of getting the mainframe back into the computer science and MIS curriculums. Session 3102 (Head of the Class: Professors’ Perspectives on Mainframe Education) will be led by Mary Ann Hoffman, Cameron Seay, and Chu Jong from Marist College, North Carolina Central University, and Illinois State University, respectively. zNextGen and the IBM Academic Initiative also are sponsoring the Entry Level Systems Programming certification exam. The normal $95 fee will be waived if you take the test at SHARE. For those from the vendor ranks, you will be able to register for and take IBM sales and technical sales support System z certification exams at a significant discount. Finally, on Sunday, Aug. 12, there will be an all-day workshop on “The Best of Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About DB2 for z/OS” led by five-time IDUG Best Speaker Award winner Bonnie K. Baker.

The SHARE MVS Program will again offer more than 240 sessions on topics ranging from assembler programming to performance management, capacity planning, storage, JES2, and many other topics from such noteworthy speakers as Pat Artis, Tom Beretvas, Cheryl Watson, Peter Enrico, Glenn Anderson, Harv Emery, and Ed Jaffe.

SHARE continues to lead the way in mainframe focused user education and training, and has expanded beyond the mainframe to offer the most comprehensive technical and professional training program available today. For about one-third of the cost of your typical training course focusing on one area, you can get topnotch training focused on your interests and taught by industry thought leaders. If you haven’t attended SHARE in the past year, it’s time to reconnect. To learn more, go to www.sandiego.share.org. Z