IBM Z Ambassadors play a key role in their local student community in advocating for IBM Z technologies and enterprise computing. Each Z Ambassador not only builds the IBM Z Global Student Hub community but also spreads the word about Hour of Z and other learning opportunities. For our third interview in this Z Ambassador series, we sat down with Hannan Khan, a tech journalist and digital marketing expert based in Pakistan.
SHARE: Tell us about your background in technology and how you learned about the mainframe and enterprise computing.
Hannan Khan (HK): Having a profound interest in the field of tech, I have always had a curiosity for technology and how it works. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, but this interest stems way back to when I was little. I remember first reading about mainframe computers as a kid — huge machines able to perform power calculations in a second. Later, I learned how important they are and how frequent their role is in our daily life. I learned about the Z Ambassador program from its website and Your Big Year.
SHARE: What are you most excited about learning from the Z community and what are you excited to share with them?
HK: I am most excited to learn about the inner workings of mainframe computers and how the enterprise computing industry works. I am excited to share my experiences as a member of the Pakistani tech community.
SHARE: Share one of your favorite things about the Z community and mainframe.
HK: I love the diversity that the Z community has to offer and that you don’t need to be from a specific part of the world to be a part of enterprise computing.
SHARE: Becoming an ambassador for any program or subject requires passion. What fuels your passion for IBM Z?
HK: I have a passion to learn how the technology that surrounds us in our day-to-day life works. IBM Z is the perfect platform to start one’s journey into this world.
SHARE: Share three or more resources every aspiring mainframer should know about.
HK: Some great resources to learn more about mainframe computing are:
SHARE: What has been the best career advice you’ve received to date?
HK: Networking, networking, and more networking. There’s nothing better for your career in an industry than knowing people that already work in that industry. Reach out to people that you think align with your career, ask them questions, and listen to their journey.
SHARE: What is your vision for the future of mainframe and the Z community?
HK: I believe that, coming into the future, mainframe computers will play an even greater role in our everyday lives, especially as we move closer to quantum computing and hive mind robotics in cars.
SHARE: As a ZAmbassador, you’re tasked with building the IBM Z community and spreading the word about Z skills and other learning opportunities. What are some goals you’ve set for yourself in this role? Can you share some concrete steps you plan to take on your community-building journey?
HK: My concrete goals include formulating a regular schedule for posting promotional content and learning publicly, making sure to share my achievements with my peers and my network, interacting with other industry leaders, and being involved in community-building events and exercises.
SHARE: As a student studying computer science, enterprise computing and mainframes, as well as, we assume, interning to understand real-world work, what have you noticed as a fundamental difference between the classroom and the office?
HK: The major difference I have noticed between the classroom and the workplace — apart from not getting homework — is the focus on real work tasks and working together to achieve a common objective.
SHARE: How did you learn about the Z Ambassador program, and what tips or advice do you have for someone considering participating in the program?
HK: I learned about the Z Ambassador through its website and through Your Big Year, as I shared earlier. I would recommend the program for anyone interested in IBM Z and enterprise computing. As for advice: Be ready to learn new things, speak at public events, get involved in community-building, and collaborate with fellow Z Ambassadors.
Check out all interviews in our ZAmbassador series and learn more about the Z Ambassador program.
Hannan Khan is a tech enthusiast and digital marketing expert with experience working with various international brands. He also is a journalist with The Destination and one of the founding members of Jadu Jobs, a tech startup that offers a Full-Stack Technical Fellowship program to local students.