1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
IT Specialist. Deployment team for the Client Centre. I set up the technical side of sales events such as PoTs or PoCs. These are events where customers get a hands on experience with IBM software. I mainly work on getting virtual machines configured for our cloud deployment system which is where the majority of our events run.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In my nearly two years at IBM I have developed my general technical skills a lot and have been on courses such as Linux Fundamentals. In my role I have not had the opportunity to learn any skills of any real value. Like I said before I have developed a very good GENERAL technical knowledge and have developed good interpersonal skills but would struggle to actually pin down a specific skill set that this role has given me other than general admin. It does sometimes feel like I've been put in an intern role for longer than a year. I will also add that the courses IBM has sent me on have actually been very good courses where I have learned a lot, I just feel as though my role itself has been very weak in developing my skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have always been very interested in technology so I do enjoy working with it everyday even if the technology itself may not be what I had originally anticipated when working for a technology company. I don't enjoy working with my team as I think the company culture at IBM is incredibly divided. There is a constant division between the 'veterans' who are set in their ways of working and often in the positions of power and the 'newbies' who reject the veterans ways of working. This leads to conflict and feeds into office politics. I have only been in the one role whilst I have been here so can only comment on this particular team but it is something that has greatly affected my enjoyment of the apprenticeship. It's also all too easy to make the comparison to people at university, I am happy that I've chosen an apprenticeship but it's easy to get jealous when it would appear that students have monumental amounts of free time compared to us and they aren't getting up at 6:30 every day to commute to work. Like I said I am happy with an apprenticeship and understand there isn't really anything that can be done about this but as am apprenticeship has gone on I find myself making these comparisons more often.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
Outside of managerial issues where it felt like my task managers didn't value anyone in foundation, IBM has actually been very good in making me feel valued. I feel as though I have a genuine responsibility at work and feel like it has increased as I have gained more experience. IBMers have also been very good at providing me with feedback when I have done a good job.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The apprenticeship programme at IBM is structured fantastically. At this point nearly two years in I am left to my own devices a lot but I am completely fine with that and it was always clear from the start that this would happen. You tend to do a lot of courses during the first year which have all been very enjoyable and I have learned a lot from them. I look forward to finding some courses to do myself this year.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I feel as though there has been no time where I couldn't get support from my training provider. They have been very good in outlining what needs to done to get my qualification and from very early on have outlined a structure of what I can do to help myself.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Again there has been no time where I haven't had any support from my employer, IBM has been fantastic in supporting me whatever it may be that I need support with. Both Foundation and the wider IBM are excellent when it comes to supporting their staff.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary for an apprentice at IBM is well above the average salary for an apprentice. I have never struggled with money since joining IBM and if I ever need to travel for work they have paid for it. I am still living at home in an averagely priced part of the country but I have still got my pay rises on time.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a lot of opportunities outside of work because the foundation community is so large, there are also social events to go to and there are teams of people that organise sports and gaming tournaments.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The foundation community is excellent. They pay their early professionals very well. You have the opportunity to travel around the country. There are many opportunities to do things outside of your day to day role.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
I would say one of the most important things is to research about IBM. I don't mean just research projects published by IBM but really look into what it's like being an employee here and the different business units etc. Try and get a real picture of what IBM is like and start visualizing a path through IBM before you're even there.
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