How to Attract New Talent to IBM i

By: Jan Lewis

At COMMON’s POWERUp 18 conference this May in San Antonio, Steve Will was quoted as putting the number of IBMi companies as high as 300,000. He also explained that sales had grown for two quarters in a row, but sadly, the ability to attract young and talented innovators to the platform, has not seemingly succeeded beyond a steady trickle.

Some innovative companies have embraced hackathons to attract developers to their organisation. Beyond recruitment, hackathons provide a number of other business benefits including:

  • Innovation
  • Community Creation
  • Developer Engagement
  • Corporate Branding
  • IP Development

A hackathon is an event held within a finite amount of time (typically 24 or 48 hours) where developers get together in small teams to design, build, and demo a new product or feature.

Match your hackathon to your company’s culture and strategic goals.

Mixbook, a Palo Alto, California-based company that creates custom, photo books recently hosted a hack night, but unlike PayPal’s ultra-competitive hackathon, Mixbook sought to create a holistic learning environment that mimicked the company’s culture and served their primary motivation, which was to network with potential new recruits.

“We’re always looking for great engineers and we’d been thinking about ways to meet more technical talent [so] the hack night approach [seemed a good fit],” says Scott Bonds, Mixbook’s VP of engineering.

How can you host a hackathon on an IBMi application?

Using rest4i you can easily build a secured REST API layer over the relevant IBM i data, and expose these via a documented developer portal. A self-service, documented REST API radically reduces the cognitive requirement for understanding the data and how to access it for the developers. It’s the standard way all modern web and mobile app developers use to get data. So the only thing that limits web and mobile developers is their talent and creativity.

Company internal hackathons flaunt many of the same benefits as external competitions. Internal hacks can unshackle some of the corporate bureaucracy that hinders creative thought and help big brands overcome the struggle of accepting innovation within the company. Companywide hackathons can solve all kinds of challenges ranging from day-to-day workflow issues to software solutions to customer service concerns or even the creation of new products. Simply put, internal hackathons are a great way to reinvigorate a company’s innovation culture and capabilities.

Rest4i builds secured, REST API’s over IBM i data and applications, using native RPGLE. RPG developers can expose a secured, self-service-documented set of APIs within couple of hours of download. DIY using the LXR framework or we can help you setup a world-class hackathon, to get your IBM i and organisation into the talent community spotlight.

Rest4i partner Remain Software have just released a new RDi-Plugin for building and deploying REST services on IBMi .