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An IBM Z Checklist: Kickstart YOUR Future - Inspired by University of North Texas

By Melissa Sassi posted Wed September 22, 2021 02:41 PM


Yesterday, our IBM Z crew had an amazing opportunity to visit the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, Texas for a guest lecture on IBM Z technology, careers in enterprise computing, and opportunities available for STUDENTS EVERYWHERE to build their skills and prepare for the future of work.

Go Mean Green!

We were welcomed by two incredibly passionate professors of UNT – James Parrish and Le Roy Hardy – both talented technologists and educators within the ~40,000 student strong campus. Parrish and Hardy filled the lecture hall with more than 100 students asking thought providing questions about what it’s like to work at IBM, how to land a job in enterprise computing, and what steps they could take now to get ready for either an internship or full time position.

Whether you are a student at UNT or any other university or community college around the world, we came up with a checklist to help you better prepare.

1.       Join the IBM Z Global Student Hub & Start Exploring.
You made it to the Hub if you are reading this, so take time to formally register and become a member. It’s virtual, free, and available to learners everywhere! The first two things I would check out include: (1) Kickstart YOUR Career in Enterprise Computing & (2) Learning Journeys to Truly Kickstart YOUR IBM Z Career. Have a look around the blogs and other videos in the Hub.  

2.       Become an Active IBM Z Global Student Hub Fan & Advocate.
Respond to a discussion question or ask your own of our audience…maybe introduce yourself to the group. We do respond and we are accessible for Q&A. Ask us anything about IBM Z or your career development needs. Maybe write a blog about what got you interested in tech, why you are thinking about a career in enterprise computing, or anything else relating to IBM Z. Start to build your eminence and personal brand so employers can find your thought leadership pieces when they look for you online. You can always include references to your writing and/or videos in your resume for employers to check out.

3.       Attend IBM Z Events & Tell Your Friends.
Register and attend the events published in the Hub. Don’t just talk about attending…actually attend! Check out our biweekly livestream called StudentX: for students, with students & by students. It’s free and virtual.

Take notes, blog about what you have learned, share a video about it via social media, network, ask questions in the sessions to build your skills with an aim of being a learn-it-all. Are you receiving a certificate of participation for your attendance and action? Document those trainings on your resume for the world to see.

4.       Take Part in IBM Z Xplore.
Register for IBM Z’s flagship student learning platform – IBM Z Xplore – to begin to build your skills and demonstrate your true understanding of IBM Z technology. IBM clients and business partners actively look at the winners and participants for their hiring needs. You can also win money and prizes. The contest runs from October 15 - November 15 for students 18+ at accredited schools, and is run by Hacker Earth. 

5.       Build YOUR Personal Brand.
Set up your social media profiles to align to your career goals. Imagine what you want employers to see or think about you when they check your profiles. They do actually do this, you know. Think about your super powers, your strengths, what you want to be known for, and how you can craft your own narrative around how others see you and talk about you when you are not in the room. Be an example through your active social media engagements.

6.       Volunteer with Startups or Nonprofits.
A great way to build your resume is to volunteer with startups or nonprofits. Think about what topics you are passionate about or if there is a tech4good cause that speaks to you. Not sure about what tech4good subject that might be of interest, check out the UN Sustainable Development Goals to learn more. Which ones wake you up in the morning? Identify startups or nonprofits in your community that align to those interests, contact them for volunteer opportunities, and give a helping hand to make the world a better place. Volunteer experiences are valid opportunities to add to your resume. One great place to look is the IEEE chapter at your school.

7.       Signup for Hackathons.
Whether you are a hipster, hustler, humanitarian, or hacker, sign up for hackathons, both global and in your community. They are wonderful risk-free zones for building both technical and nontechnical skills that can also be reflected on your resume.

8.       Get Ready & Signup to be a Z Ambassador
Interested in taking your leadership skills forward, enable others through your acquired skills, and also learn more about IBM Z, sign up to be a Z Ambassador when the next call for applications lands next year. This is another amazing and free opportunity for you to win prizes, build your eminence, boost your CV, network with peers and experts, and land your first big job in tech.

9.       Share your Skills Forward.
What technical skills do you have currently? How could you enable your friends, family, and community to learn those same skills to empower them? There is significant power in coding camps that can also be done virtually.

10.   Join Meetup Groups.
With tons of virtual groups made available, identify some global, regional, and/or local meetup groups that are aligned to your technical or nontechnical areas of interest. Take part, speak up, offer to be on a committee, engage with others, and follow up. Networking is a huge factor that enables us all to identify job opportunities and have a leg up from the competition.

Thank you to the UNT team for inspiring us to write this blog following all of the great questions post by the students of UNT.

We look forward to more campus visits throughout the world as our team continues to enable students everywhere to learn IBM Z skills while preparing for the future of work.

Your Friends in IBM Z

Anna McKee, Paul Newton & Melissa Sassi

1 comment


Thu September 23, 2021 01:33 AM

On behalf of AIS and the University of North Texas, I want you to thank you for coming out and talking to us!