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Our colleague Johannes named IBM Fresh Face

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Linde Declercq
Corporate Communication

One of our colleagues, Johannes, is an IBM Fresh Face for the year 2020! Read all about it here.

Johannes is featured in the global IBM System Magazine this month.

So before we ask Johannes all about this achievement, a bit more information.

When did IBM start with the Fresh Faces?

In 2016 IBM launched their IBM System Magazine. This magazine is a global publication. At the same time they decided they want to feature and celebrate new & inspiring people who are working with the IBM Power Systems platform. They have featured Fresh Faces every year since then. ​​​​​​​

What does it mean? 

The IBM Fresh Face badge earner is an up and coming IT professional who is working with the IBM Power Systems platform. IBM considers these IT professionals as technical experts who are passionate about the platform and the community. IBM expects them to change perceptions around the brand through thought leadership and technical expertise.

How do you become a Fresh Face?

In order to earn this title, you need to achieve certain prerequisites (e.g. contribute valuable content to the IBM i community). More information can be found here. 

Get to know Johannes in 6 questions

1) Congratulations on your nomination as Fresh Face from IBM. Did it come as a surprise? 

Thank you! You're never sure, but I was confident. Working at EASI gave me wings. I am part of a strong and varied team of both experienced people, whom I can always turn to, and recently graduated people, who challenge me to keep innovating. In addition, EASI offers us space and opportunities to take initiatives to think out-of-the-box. With such a basis you know you are strong! I owe this nomination to EASI.

2) If I'm right, you've been working with this platform for 5 years now, why are you interested in this platform?

Like many, I had never heard of IBM i until my first professional experience. You won't come into contact with it at home or during your studies. Nevertheless, the IBM i is still used remarkably often in practice. What particularly appeals to me are the varied possibilities offered by IBM i. The platform gives a developer the possibility to get in touch with aspects of system administration, security, database administration, etc. more quickly. With other platforms, these components are less accessible and you are therefore less likely to come into contact with them. Personally I find this variation interesting.

3) Can you explain exactly how you help the customers? 

Most of my time, I spend on modernizing applications and databases at our customers. In my job I am often the bridge between the old RPG language and the modern RPG. Where some of our clients still work with the old RPG language, it is my job to convert it to the modern RPG, so that the newly graduated IT professionals can read this language and get started with it. One of the other goals is to improve the performance of the applications and make them faster. 

Besides making old RPG programs more readable and perform better, modernizing these programs also means that the business logic and the user interface logic are divided from each other so that the user interface can be replaced by a modern variant. This way the old programs also become more modular so that the programs can be adapted faster to the needs of the customer.

I also spend part of my time on finding out how IBM i can be used for more "cutting edge" applications at customers, such as the use of open source (Node-Red, python, nginx, ...). In this way IBM i, which was originally a platform that was only used for old(er) programming languages, can also be used for modern languages, such as python, javascript, ... and can develop a newly sent IT'er on the IBM i without prior knowledge. Our customers who want to switch to a more modern programming language, for example, will be able to use the IBM i platform even further in this way.

4) Is there one case that stands out? Can you explain what made that case special and what your role was in it?

The customer that stands out for me personally is the Antwerp company "Hansea". This is one of my first larger projects at EASI, for which I am working together with the team on the modernization of Hansea's programs and database. Together with the team, I am responsible for the modernization of the two old internal systems of Hansea, namely the bus planning system, and the accounting system. In addition, Hansea does not have its own IT department, so they are fully assigned to EASI, and they give us a great deal of confidence. Such projects require a lot of responsibility from the team and give me a lot of satisfaction. 

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Interested in the Hansea case? Check their testimonial here.

5) Are you the only one in your team who has already redeemed this nomination? How does that feel? 

This nomination certainly means a lot to me, but I would like to emphasize again that this is (and has been) a team effort. Without EASI and more specifically the support and commitment of my colleagues, I would not have been able to cash in on the Fresh Faces nomination. So I'm using this opportunity to send them a virtual heartfelt "thank you".

6) What advice do you have for young people at the beginning of their career who are hesitant to start working with this platform?

Unkown or unprecedented should certainly not be unloved! I would, therefore, I would encourage young developers not to be too hesitant to use IBM i, just because it offers so many varied possibilities. It really gives you the chance to find your own way and think out of the box.

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