1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
ATM architect. I work within IBM's hardware division that fixes ATMs (cash machines), assisting the engineers onsite and organising access and doing data analysis. I interact with engineers, the account managers and the wider front office ATM team internally on a day to day basis. I also interact with the project managers and my task manager for guidance. Externally I work with customers and their helpdesk team to raise requests for their engineers. I also update daily trackers and run a weekly conference call to keep the customer and account team in the loop.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Studying for my degree has given me a huge amount of further knowledge in computer science especially. This is a very focussed course that has boosted my technical knowledge hugely. IBM internal training courses are very useful too, so far I have had 2 weeks of training in a hotel, as well as an induction. I have a further week of customer facing training internally with IBM this month, which will further boost my skills. In terms of soft skills, my confidence and people skills have improved massively. Now, I'm more confident using the phone, and more confident in talking to both my colleagues but also management further up the chain too
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
It's hard work, and I spend a lot of time studying in order to complete my degree to the best of my ability, however it's very enjoyable. The team I work with is friendly and willing to help me, however due to some restraints on time and resource, help is not always instant. I enjoy the work and study that I do.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I don't feel like an apprentice that has only just started within IBM! I have work to do that isn't meaningless/too simple, and I have tasks and duties to do that have a direct impact on the service that IBM provides. This means i feel valued and the work I do is important. I'm mostly involved in the project work that I do, however my tasks will sometimes just be given to me by my manager
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
As it is the first year of the Pilot, there were some small hitches with the initial running of the degree, such as a late enrollment and a delayed initial project. However since then the degree has been very well organized. I've been able to learn a huge amount in a small amount of time and this has worked with my work. At work, the IBM structure to the apprenticeship is very good, allowing for flexibility in the roles I do, whilst still having a rigid education scheme. I have an "early professionals manager", a mentor and a sponsor, as well as 2 buddies who are also apprentices
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Lots. I have a personal tutor at university that looks after degree apprentices. We can meet with her and discuss pastoral issues, as well as other issues with study, etc, if needed. The attitude they give is good - we're often given opportunities for feedback, and this is taken into consideration regularly, which allows for us to tailor the experience more for us as we're the first pilot year.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Lots. I have an early professionals manager at IBM that looks after degree apprentices and interacts with my task manager. We can meet with her and discuss pastoral issues, as well as other issues with work and placements.Feedback is often, and we have regular reviews to view our progress, and there's opportunities to move, etc
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My travel costs away from my base location are expensed via my coorporate american express card. As my base location is near to my house the travel costs are low. However the wage I am currently on is not enough to fund a dwelling near to my base location, so I am still living at home.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes. IBM is very helpful by encouraging "giveback" events such as charity work, volunteering in schools, and technical events. This is then fed back into our annual review meetings and therefore has a positive affect on our review. There's an IBM club too as well as sports teams in the larger IBM locations.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Good opportunities to expand. You can be part of a massive multinational company with over 100 years of history. This gives you a large boost on your CV and also gives you the skills and talent to succeed. I also like how IBM has a large and varied repertoire, which means that there's a role for everyone
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
Stick with it. There are multiple steps to the interview process, ranging from an IPAT test to interview days, to group assessment activities, to several individual interviews. Make sure you are well prepared for the questions and also make sure you have researched IBM and have solid reasons for joining. The onboarding process may seem daunting - 2 weeks in a hotel, however again it is worth it, and the effort to going to this really shows. Also, don't be afraid to ask for an update on your application process, and especially when you are a new IBMer, there are no stupid questions!
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