Today’s Architects/Laticia Carrow

Laticia Carrow

Capacity Management Analyst at DDC-ITS

Transforming her career from hair stylist to breakthrough mainframe technology

Laticia Carrow - DDC-ITS Capacity Management Analyst - IBM Z expert

Starting on my journey with the mainframe, I knew I had to embrace it and get the skills. It was the only way that I knew I would succeed”

About Laticia

Laticia Carrow is a fast-rising influencer in the global mainframe community with a popular webinar series on YouTube called “Tish Talks Tech.” Her series is designed to inspire future mainframers and those New to IBM Z® technology. Laticia is a well-known IBM Z Champion and was featured as a 2022 TechChannel rising star.

For years, Laticia worked as a cosmetologist and hairdresser. She was happy with her job, taking care of people and helping them look their best, but the salon she worked for closed unexpectedly and she was left searching for a new career. Now she had a choice—keep looking in the beauty field or step out of her comfort zone and explore a tech career journey, which was always an area of keen interest to her.

During Laticia’s tech career journey, she received the WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) grant, designed for people who are unemployed and seeking to retrain in a critical skill via the State of Texas. She began taking classes covering a variety of computer fundamentals including Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco certification topics.

Laticia also remembered her mother had retrained in business classes, learned mainframe topics including COBOL, and other programming languages after leaving the Army. That always piqued Laticia’s interest, and she started learning broadly about the mainframe in her retraining. Given Laticia had a little experience coding, loved video games, and most importantly was curious to learn more about mainframes, she began to reach out on social media and found several IBM Z experts who engaged with her, answered her questions and even introduced her to Master the Mainframe (now IBM Z Xplore—a year round learning platform). When she completed Master the Mainframe in 2019, Laticia was very proud and excited for what may lie ahead. This was a personal and professional milestone achievement.

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Today, Laticia is a Capacity Management Analyst. In describing her role, Laticia says, “Imagine you're the guard and keeper of a high-tech castle: that's a Mainframe Capacity Manager's role.” Day in, day out, every single day, she’s generating reports that give the details on the system's health. She is the keeper and the translator that can bridge the gap between all the departments and suggest ways to improve the performance of the system on prem or in the cloud, all while on budget and utilizing the correct tools for the job. In her position, she has the opportunity to learn many roles in the IBM Z ecosystem—Capacity, Ops, security, and databases. Laticia views her role as a well-rounded and wonderful position to be in!

So, what motivates Laticia about IBM Z?

In Laticia’s role, IBM Z allows her to feel like the captain of the Starship Enterprise! She can choose to go warp speed or on cruise control as the technology moves, grows, and shifts. It is like a big puzzle that she can solve daily or a project where she is the Project Manager and complete the deliverables all the time. She gets to help people solve problems, assist growth, and have the joy of working with brilliance every day. This motivates her to show up at work every day.

What Laticia truly values about mainframe technology is the flexibility. There is nothing that can replicate or duplicate the power, efficiency, speed, accuracy, or agility of IBM Z. It virtualizes, computes, containerizes, calculates, deploys, stores, automates, and communicates without issue. It is the optimal tool for many jobs and the foundational element to deploy hybrid jobs and Laticia views it as the glue keeping the world moving. Laticia finds it really amazing that IBM Z is built with sustainability in its very fabric. Introduced with the IBM z15 was the client water cooled (WCU) systems for cooling the high-performance processor modules. Consolidating Linux workloads on an IBM z16 instead of running them on compared x86 servers with similar conditions and location can reduce energy consumption by 75% and space by 67%.

Laticia has been featured in various publications and looks forward to continuing a strong career within the mainframe ecosystem. She strengthens her craft with the assistance of mentors, on-the-job training, and the generosity of an employer who understands how to develop mainframe talent. Laticia is a lifelong learner and has achieved over 19 Interskill badges ranging in various topics such as Performance and Capacity, RACF, DB2, Master the Mainframe parts 2 and 3, Systems Programming, and REXX. Laticia enjoys cooking, traveling, and participating in technology conferences such as SHARE, IBM Z Day, The Diana Initiative, and the security researcher’s conference Defcon. Laticia is a CompTIA Security+ candidate and holds a current CompTIA Network+ certification.

Laticia’s advice for others

Laticia’s advice for others is that you must keep going and refuse to be denied by those telling you no. You are not too old, you aren’t stupid if you do not have a degree, you aren’t too fat, too ugly, too this, or that. There is enough time for you to learn what you need to learn because mainframe is a lifetime of learning and commitment. It is exciting to work with mainframes that help run the world’s economy. There is room for you and everyone on the mainframe. You get to choose where you want to be. You get to make it happen. Go find your team! They are waiting for you. And while you’re at it—take the leap and try IBM Z Xplore, you will like it. Reach out to professionals and start asking questions. Find out why people have long careers in the mainframe space and explore opportunities. You may just find there is no better or more fulfilling place than being part of the passionate global mainframe community!

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