IT instructor motivated by helping graduates find good careers

Photo of Jim Buck

Jim Buck

Gateway Technical College

Software Developer Instructor

IT-Software Developer

When it comes to IBM midrange computer systems Jim Buck wrote the book—actually three books. Buck has 30 years experience writing computer programs. He’s a member of the IBM Champions for Power System Club and president of the Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professionals Association (WMCPA). He teaches courses in the Software Developer program at Gateway Technical College.

"Jim Buck is what I consider a lifeline in the current ecosystem of IBM i's livelihood," wrote Aaron Bartell in IBM Systems magazine. "He’s not just any teacher; he’s a teacher who goes the extra mile on many fronts."

According to Dan Burger of IT Jungle, Buck knows how to prepare students for the job market. "If you want to know how to work with a college in your area to develop the skilled workers your company needs for the future, talk with Buck," Burger said.

Buck graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration at a time when there were few jobs. He ended up slaughtering hogs for a living. After an on-the-job injury, he enrolled in a two-year Business Data Processing program. An instructor helped find Buck a third shift computer operator job with Admiral. He worked at Admiral for 13 years attaining a position as a senior systems analyst before being downsized in 1996.

During that time, Buck also began teaching at Carl Sandburg College where he had received his associate degree. "I relate well with students who are retraining or changing careers," he stated.

"In this field, I never figure on retiring from any job," Buck said. He has held several jobs in different states before he was hired by Gateway in 2002.

An avid sailor, Buck was looking for a place where he could live on a big lake. He found that in Kenosha.

In addition to writing text books, Buck stays close to the industry by consulting and networking through the WMCPA. He was instrumental in developing a strong program advisory board and curriculum for the Software Developer program at Gateway along with instructors Saad Yousuf and Allen Pearson.

"IBM customers tell me what they want me to teach," Buck explained.

As an instructor, Buck doesn’t spoon feed his students. “I believe students need to learn how to learn. I give them tools to succeed.” Buck and his fellow instructors provide a mix of the IBM i midrange platform, DB2, SQL, Java, .NET, web and mobile technologies coupled with the business aspects of information technology.

Almost all students in the Software Developer program at Gateway get jobs in their field with companies like Delta Dental, Partners Insurance and Smalley Tools. “And none go to work for less than $42,000 a year,” Buck boasts. “The opportunities are unbelievable. These are good careers for a lot of people. That’s why I do what I do.