Succeeding in today’s career climate is all about embracing change—changing technologies, changing industries, and changing job roles. And one of the best places for Oracle technologists to start this embrace is COLLABORATE 17, the combined Oracle Users Group conference to be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas from April 2 to 6.
The event is a joint effort among three groups: Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG); Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG); and Quest International, which focuses on Oracle’s JD Edwards and PeopleSoft applications as well as other Oracle software-as-a-service applications. With more than 5,000 participants, COLLABORATE is designed by users, for users—essentially, the largest independent Oracle training event out there.
“In an age when people often rely on virtual learning, there is nothing that replaces face-to-face conversation, and this is where COLLABORATE excels,” says IOUG President Maria Anderson. “It’s so great to just start talking to somebody and find that you have similar goals and concerns. I have forged relationships here that lasted well beyond the conference itself.”
Anderson is particularly excited about how COLLABORATE’s content helps attendees find and grasp new opportunities. “The content is very much based on experience, and as we continue to face technical disruption, that experiential focus is vital to helping people not only keep up, but actually get ahead,” she says.
She sees the DBA job, for example, morphing into a position that follows the data rather than the database, whether it is into the cloud or toward analytics. “There was a time when the DBA simply managed the database and didn’t do a lot of data work,” she says.
Anderson points to several COLLABORATE tracks designed to help attendees build vital new skills and confidently embrace today’s brave new world:
Cloud. This year’s cloud track focuses more on hybrid cloud, a reflection of the reality many large organizations face. Attendees want to know what new skills they need, or how to become a company cloud adviser, “but it’s a complicated subject, because each organization approaches cloud differently,” Anderson says.
Analytics. “With big data and predictive analytics making a huge impact on how companies use data, we are seeing more of our community explore all things data, particularly analytics,” Anderson says. Such technologies rely on a strong underlying structure for collecting, storing, and accessing data, offering a wealth of opportunity for COLLABORATE attendees. Track session will cover topics including data warehousing, reporting, analysis, modeling, spatial, and data mining, and other topics.
Career enrichment. With the DBA role evolving beyond maintenance, companies are asking these people to work across teams and environments, making communications and leadership skills more important, Anderson says. The sessions in this track cover topics such as presentation skills, social media savvy, and project management.
Core technology. Expect plenty of conversation on core database topics, from tips on tuning Oracle Database 12c to an under-the-hood look at new features. “We’ll have Oracle ACEs and user community folks talking real-life details, from the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Anderson says. Attendees from Quest and OUAG will find similar riches in the application-oriented sessions. Look for the latest details on JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Cloud Applications, and Primavera product releases, as well as user panels and sessions that explore hot topics through the lens of a specific application.
The keynote address, by Jenn Lim, CEO and CHO (chief happiness officer) of Delivering Happiness, also explores opportunities in the changing workplace. Lim cofounded Delivering Happiness with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh to examine workplace engagement from a scientific perspective. Her address will show attendees how to use scientific principles to create a culture that allows people to find purpose and meaning in their jobs.
Ultimately, finding that meaning will lead many workers beyond the boundaries of their current job descriptions. To Anderson, that may be the best thing of all. “It’s really exciting to see the silos come down,” she says. “As job roles blend more and more, we are increasingly seeing folks from different user groups attend our sessions, and folks from IOUG attend other user groups’ sessions.”