1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a test analyst. I update and create test conditions based on highly complex system requirements. I also update and create test scripts and other test documents such as Test Plans and Test Reports. When I test the system and execute test scripts, I raise defects where I describe the problem found.
I liaise with members of the Development team, Infrastructure team, Project team and Safety Team. I also work with the client when on the client site testing the system.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have had the opportunity to go on a number of external training courses but have been too busy to do so. I attended a number of mandatory IBM apprentice-specific courses.
I have learnt a lot about the aerospace and defence industry as well as what it is like working for a government client. I learnt more about test methodology in my role, but also learned about hardware and networking as I often came across problems in my line of work which I would fix.
I have learnt about what working in a huge multi-national company is like as well.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the work I do although I don't always find it challenging. There are times when there is not much work to do and it can be tedious. However, there are project-related documents which I often read. I am also given the opportunity to progress on to a different role after the test analyst role.
The team I work with is full of a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people and the advice which they have given has been invaluable. I always feel comfortable asking anyone for help or questions, regardless of their seniority or job role.
There are lots of apprentice events which I have the opportunity to attend and you are normally with the same apprentices as on your induction weeks when you do the mandatory IBM courses which is good.
Overall I enjoy being an apprentice at IBM as, although I may not be totally challenged by my current role, there is plenty of opportunity to progress.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I receive feedback from my team leads a lot and it helps boost my morale and encourages me. My people manager also provides feedback and gives me advice to help me further my career.
I am often entrusted with important tasks on my project, the value of which is usually very important and business vital. I generally feel valued by IBM, although we only have formal reviews every 6 months, so it would be nicer to have more frequent reviews of my progress.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Generally the apprenticeship is well organised. It does sometimes seem like my people manager takes a while to respond to questions or queries, though. But they do respond and help me eventually.
I am encouraged to find mentors to help me with career/development progression. I was also assigned a buddy at the start of my apprenticeship apparently, although they never told me.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Almost all of the training is on-the-job so this doesn't hugely apply. I do have specific internal courses which I attend, and these are always run by nice people. They are helpful and informative and it's always nice when you need to attend one of the courses.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My people manager is helpful but does require me to contact her. This isn't a problem for me, but more frequent contact might be nice.
It was difficult during end of year review period because there is not much information of how to self-assess yourself. I had to rely on colleagues rather than a more official help system.
I have only contacted HR/payroll a few times but they have always responded quickly and been helpful.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Fortunately I was lucky enough to stay at home because my office was so close to me. I feel that if I had to move I would have struggled a bit more with travel and living, but there are programmes in which IBM pay for a percentage of living costs if far enough away from the base office.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I play football with a number of colleagues once or twice a week.
We are encouraged to help out at career fairs and other school related IBM events. There aren't many other opportunities available really.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Good company to be a part of, plenty of work opportunities, lots of help and support for career development and training opportunities, good enough pay with regular payrises and generally a fun, friendly place to work.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
Don't be afraid to speak your opinion at assessment days, but also allow others to speak theirs. Teamwork is key and it will show if you are selfish or don't care about others.
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