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Developer.com Q&A with Stephanie Martin, Director of Worldwide Developer Relations for IBM

  • By Rosemarie Graham
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Q: IBM has always been a big proponent of open standards and open source technologies, most notably Java. Can you explain IBM's commitment to Java and why it remains loyal to it while many developers are adopting other scripting languages like Ruby, PHP, and Perl?

A. We believe the simplicity, portability, scalability, and security associated with Java makes it a very popular programming language that is employed to businesses to help them meet customer needs. This is especially true because increasingly pervasive business models such as SaaS and SOA are more easily and effectively adopted through Java due to its superior interoperability and flexibility.

These observations are borne out in the marketplace where we've seen increasing market demand for Java developers, with more jobs available for Java developers than any other language. IBM has seen strong growth in demand for Java developer programs. For example, over the past four years, traffic to the Java section of the developerWorks web site has grown 34 percent. In addition, each month, thousands of developers in 194 countries visit the Java technology section of the developerWorks web site.

IBM's goal is to make sure we continue to educate developers and help them leverage Java as they also take advantage of new technologies, frameworks, and languages. Enterprises that write applications in Java are also inclined to use server scripting languages like Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

IBM's developerWorks community offers Java developers resources to work with some of these new languages. For example, IBM offers several resources to help developers leverage JRuby, which enables Ruby to run Rails applications on the Java platform. We also offer a series of articles for developers to "master" the art of building applications with Grails, which is written in Groovy and gives developers a seamless integration with Java code while adding the flexibility and dynamism of a scripting language.

Finally, IBM is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of companies requiring developers skilled in Java. To meet the demand for Java proficient developers, our Academic Initiative has over 1.1 million students trained on Java-related technologies. IBM's Academic Initiative offers IBM mentors as ambassadors to schools across the globe, to teach aspiring developers Java-related skills through a vast library of resources, including tutorials, forums, and software downloads.

Q: Which technologies do developers need to focus on now, so they are well prepared for the future? What technologies do you think will most influence development in the next five years?

A. There's no doubt the global marketplace will continue to expand. IBM experienced unprecedented global growth in the last year, with growth in BRIC countries increasing 37 percent in 2007 compared with 2006. Key future technologies will support global growth and help companies meet both the challenges and opportunities afforded by today's global developer community.

Corporate demand for Web 2.0 skills continue to climb, and no wonder: Web 2.0 technologies promise to transform the way people will work with each other, partners, and clients. IBM believes Web 2.0 technology such as mashups, collaboration tools, and virtual worlds will help companies of all sizes provide better customer service, more flexible work environments, and meet the challenges of globalization. This is why IBM has made Web 2.0 a major focus of its developer initiatives.

We also believe key technologies such as SOA and SaaS will continue to drive the direction of enterprise IT in the near and medium term. Due to superior interoperability and flexibility, open source and open standards technologies will underpin the growth in adoption of SOA and SaaS worldwide. IBM's developer programs not only serve as a resource for the developers and IT professionals in today's work force, but also strive to incubate the next generation of developers.

One of IBM's recent initiatives, for example, was the launch of Innov8, a video game that teaches SOA and BPM skills to university students, helping them develop a combination of business and IT skills. This will become increasingly valuable in tomorrow's workplace.

As the community continues to evolve and become more dynamic, IBM will continue make it easier for developers to find relevant information, develop cutting edge skills, and most importantly—to connect and share their knowledge and ideas with IBM and each other.

Thanks again for joining us, Stephanie.

About the Interviewer

Rosemarie Graham is the Managing Editor of Developer.com and Gamelan.com.

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This article was originally published on April 11, 2008

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