When you see the power of how the mainframe can have so much control over things, you get over a little Java program that you can use to run a game or something. I felt like this was more challenging, and I could go further with this type of job. With the mainframe there's so much to learn. There are so many things going on. It's like you can play this game forever and never reach the highest level. That aspect of a mainframe career got to me, and I never looked back. What does IBM have to do to get young people interested in mainframes?
That's definitely the question of the year. IBM has already been working to address this problem through the Academic Initiative program. We have to get past the stigma that the mainframe seems to have with the younger generation. Most people don't know the mainframe very well. My peers told me I was crazy for going into this career. IBM is trying to get schools to teach this curriculum. It is a problem being worked on, but it's one of those that can't be solved in a week or a day or a year. How did you get involved in zNextGen?
It sort of began at Share in Boston, which was in August of 2005. They held a little get-together for younger people at a tavern, and that went so much better than people expected it to go. I got involved in it by participating in that. The next thing I knew they decided to make zNextGen a full-fledged project this year. They designated me as project manager, and I was happy to take on the job. Tell my why zNextGen is such a good thing.
We have plans to really work with projects to make sessions more beneficial to members. We also do have some things hopefully planned outside of the Share conference. I was just up in Poughkeepsie, [New York], for an IBM course, and we had a dinner event up there. Hopefully we'll do more of those.