If there’s one thing that almost every person who operates at a pinnacle level in their field can tell you, it’s that you should always strive to be better. This doesn’t mean perfection, but taking steps to be and do a little bit better every day sets you apart from the pack. Whether that’s the drummer who is pushing to play that drum fill just a few bpm faster, the weightlifter who is looking to add just one kilo to their total, Youtuber who is trying get 1% more subscribers to push them to that next level, or a developer looking to boost their productivity numbers, it’s the drive that differentiates them from the rest of their peers. It’s simple: just aim to do a little bit better, every day.

Up to this point, the best place to get spun up on the Developer for z platform has been to attend the ADFz Distance Learning course. As one of the two people who deliver the class (my father, Jon Sayles, being the other), I take an immense amount of pride in it and have a vested interest in the success of every person who attends the class. But I have been thinking about a few things that come up nearly every class; things that I think we could do just a little bit better.

Firstly, everyone has a schedule and workload of their own. Taking an hour out of the day and off the floor can be difficult, especially with the pace of delivery requirements in today’s software development ecosystem. Second, we have attendees from all over the world. The 9:00am EST start time that we usually set up for class works for some but not for all. And even for those who can physically attend the sessions, it doesn’t mean that they have the bandwidth to do so (see item 1).

Over the past few years, we’ve been working to be that 1% better. We have been planning and developing a solution to those problems, doing the legwork, and as of last Monday, it’s finally here.

Along with my team, we are incredibly proud to announce the launch of the first ever IDz Basics online course.

This online course is a self-paced digital learning experience, complete with and immersive video and quizzes to test your knowledge and cement the concepts and techniques in your mind. It can be completed at your pace, at any time, anywhere in the world. The course contents outline the most important terms, concepts, and usage techniques to get you onboarded to the Developer for z/OS platform, including:

• Mastering elementary Eclipse terms and concepts
• Navigating seamlessly through the product
• Customizing preferences, views and perspectives
• Analyzing, Editing and Debugging programs
• Coding and testing DB2/SQL statements
• Managing Jobs and remote files and data sets
• Debugging

Upon completion of the course requirements, you will be issued a digital badge that shows you have taken the course and passed the tests. This proves to others that you have the basic skills with IBM Developer for z/OS to get work done effectively, efficiently, and at a quality standard that sets you apart.

To be clear, we do not intend to stop delivering the quarterly DevOps ADFz Foundations course. The quarterly live class is a completely different animal, and as such, should still be attended even after you have completed the online course. But with the release of the IDz Basics online course, the ADFz Foundations live class is shifting focus. Yes, we will be presenting the same world-class material you have grown to love. Yes, it will still be free to attend (click this link to view the schedule and the pre-class setup information). But the feel of the class, the intent of how the class is to be consumed might change to a more interaction-based experience. The experience would be more akin to attending a seminar where questions are expected, detours are inevitable, and everyone takes something away from the session beyond the base knowledge. This is how we’ve been delivering the class for years, but we’re putting a multiplier on that for upcoming deliveries of the course. As stated above, it’s not just about putting people in seats or what our attendance numbers look like. We have a vested interest in the success of our attendees. Releasing the online course is one part, attending the live class gives you the opportunity to ask the deep-dive questions that relate to your usage in real life.

TL;DR: Take the IDz Basics online course, attend the live classes if and when you can. You’ll be glad you did both in that order.

DevOps is a community affair. No one person can be truly agile without collaborating and cooperating with others. It takes a village, so to speak. And for those of you reading who have taken the class but consistently attend all deliveries of the class, I thank you. The IDz community needs more of that. If you want to help grow the community, take the IDz Basics online course and then come to the live class if your schedule permits. Having a base knowledge of the course will set you up to ask those more targeted questions, questions that only come with experience. Taking the online course sets you up to be able to onboard at your own pace, practicing and learning as you can, so that if and when you’re able, you can attend the live class and participate actively with questions of your own and maybe even solutions for those who are new to IDz.

Now you know, so let’s see those badges!! Comment below when you complete the course, who will be the first?

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