Welcome (back!) to I am IMS, where we introduce you to a member of the IBM IMS worldwide family.
Today we sat down with Betty Patterson, Chief Architect for IBM IMS. We started by asking her to recollect what led her to study computer science.
When I was in high school, there was no STEM program, no Computer Science courses. But I liked Math. It was all about Math! I took a lot of math courses. By the time I got to college, there were Computer Science programs, yet there were very few women in those programs. The lack of female role models meant that I had to push myself – I had to develop my own internal motivation and drive. I got my Computer Science degree from California State University at Sacramento.
Did the lack of female role models fuel your interest, your level of motivation?
I saw it as an opportunity to shine; with so few women there, we were all very noticeable. We had to do well because all eyes were on us. There seemed to be more at stake. We networked together and collaborated on projects to outshine everyone else…..which we frequently did. The internal drive I developed in high school served me well in college.
There’s been an influx of new IMS developers into the IMS team. What role do you play with them? Are you a formal mentor?
I get to meet individually with all of the new hires into the team. They’re very excited, working across many key areas for IMS. I remind them that our team has a lot to learn from them. They are coming in to IBM with a strong knowledge base that includes Cloud, Blockchain, Kubernetes, DevOps, and more; changes across our industry have obviously influenced what is being taught in universities. I can already see how they’ll be stitching all of their skills together in support of IMS. It’s very agile in its way; they’re very adept at working this way. Even how they are being trained as new hires is radically different from how I was trained. The net of it will be better solutions for clients, and shorter time-to-market for those solutions.
I’ve mentored women inside and outside of IBM, in support of STEM initiatives. One area that comes to mind is when I worked with the Girl Scouts and helped them earn Aviation badges that were tied to a “Let’s Fly” week, during which they learned about how airplanes fly.
Speaking of badges, you’ve also been involved in the development of technical badges for IMS. Can you tell us about that work?
Sure. Badges are becoming very important in our community. One key aspect of badges is that badges demonstrate to the industry—and to our clients—the kinds of technology solutions that are critically important to business. For those new hires, badges are a basic element of the work that they do. Our client practitioners also want to demonstrate their mastery of IMS technology, so they can also earn badges. For those of us who have been around a while, we might be a bit slower on adoption.
There is a new education initiative from within the IMS Development Lab. What role does the Chief Architect play in that?
I’m working with a team that is creating persona-based education roadmaps as well as content; this is in addition to the tests I’m helping to create for the badges. I can already see how this will benefit our clients. Another thing we are working on is building out the worldwide IMS community beyond Silicon Valley Lab. To make participation within those communities easy. And to have it be a destination for all of the personas associated with IMS. At this point in my career, I am really enjoying helping the next wave of IMS technical professionals worldwide get started.
IMS celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 – You’ve seen the arc of IMS history and have been at the helm of much of its evolution. What excites you about what we are seeing in the industry today, and where do you see IMS headed in light of that?
Cloud and hybrid cloud! These are extremely strategic areas for IBM: private clouds and hybrid clouds mixing with other cloud platforms across the industry.
Both IMS and IBM Z are fully focused on cloud. Cloud technology allows our clients to continue to use their trusted IMS and Z assets in this evolving model. Because of this, they can exploit new technologies and drive new business. Paramount to this is the need to manage those systems, and to make it easier for developers to have the same experience on Z that they have on every other platform. So much of the work we are doing is in support of this (like Zowe), and we are focused on continuing to move in this direction. I expect to see much more automation as well, especially in areas of provisioning, which helps our clients manage smarter.
And lastly, what occupies your free time outside of IBM and IMS?
Right now, a lot of organic vegetable gardening! But the really big hobby is, of course, Aviation, flying my airplanes. I try to fly every weekend when the weather is good. On Saturday, for example, I might fly down to Harris Ranch for lunch. They have a nice little runway there to make it easy. If I have more time, I’ll map out a 4-5 day weekend destination trip, like fly to Colorado and ride one of the trains on a narrow gauge railroad, or fly to an airshow. I’ve also flown my plane to visit different destinations, such as Mount Rushmore and the Air Force Academy. They put on a really good 4th of July show!
You can keep up with Betty by following her on Twitter: @BettyPatterson
Photo courtesy of Bryant Panyarachun