1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am currently an Integration Technology SME at IBM working on a daily basis on various integration and computing/software databases. Specifically I am in charge of gateway systems which accept files into the application and send them outwards which involved security checks. My day to day activities are mainly around Application Maintenance, investigating issues in the live system and working within a small team to resolve them by providing patches.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In this technical role I have developed my Technical Expertise tremendously. I have quickly become an SME in the Integration area, learning skills in problem diagnosis through to patch packaging and deployment. I have become an expert in the coding language of LISP and am additionally comfortable working with Java, C, C#, SQL and with database systems such as MS Access and DB2. There are abundant opportunities to get involved in further areas other than these.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I cannot recommend IBM enough to someone looking to gain entry into working with IT or Business. Throughout the programme I have had countless opportunities to get involved in a diverse range of accounts and projects and there are so many chances to significantly contribute towards the business in a meaningful way. The working climate is supportive and friendly and I feel proud to be an IBMer. I think that IBM can give anyone a really good start to their career.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
With it's supportive and friendly climate as well as the countless opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the business I feel very valued by IBM. Myself and the other Apprentices on my account have been given high responsibilities within the business and this shows the trust IBM has in us. I feel as though we are really wel ltrusted and appreciated within the business as this has been shown with the work we have previously been given to complete.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
IBM provides several courses throughout the year to support the soft skills of it's Apprentices and I find the majority of these useful. It is clear what is expected of us and there is a strong support structure. My only comment is that it is very easy to get highly invested in project work, which in itself is not an issue, but becomes one when required to attend courses or produce work for the Apprenticeship and can be needlessly stressful.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The support structures within IBM are excellent. You are assigned an Early Professionals Manager as well as several 'Buddies' who support you throughout the year. There are additionally well maintained and detailed wiki's and community pages. As well as this we are given numerous emails and telephone numbers for support systems and teams at work who can help us with either our work/jobs or personal problems if we need councilling or help.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As in 6a, there are excellent support structures in IBM. My employer is very professional and helpful. The support structures within IBM are excellent. You are assigned an Early Professionals Manager as well as several 'Buddies' who support you throughout the year. There are additionally well maintained and detailed wiki's and community pages. As well as this we are given numerous emails and telephone numbers for support systems and teams at work who can help us with either our work/jobs or personal problems if we need councilling or help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
While the salary is competitive for the industry and experience level, IBM provides excellent support with expenses which allow mobile workers to not be impacted by business costs. As such on the whole I am very satisfied with the package. I, myself find the salary to be adequate and as it increases every year i am very happy our progress throughout the course is recognised and rewarded but i know others who have struggled with outgoings every month against their salary.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are countless opportunities to get involved in several projects and 'Giveback' events outside of normal work and these are highly encouraged in order to develop peoples soft skills further. Communities are set up for Apprentices to find opportunities and the system to enroll is usually very simple, sometimes just clicking a button to attend high quality training for example. I really like helping out and also going to these various events that IBM has told me about.
9. Would you recommend IBM to a friend?
I would mainly recommend IBM due to the wide array of opportunities for development. For someone like myself who didn't really know what I wanted to do, IBM allowed me to spread my wings and take part in a variety of roles and projects and as such for a friend in a similar position I would recommend IBM based on these possibilities. I think as previously mentioned, IBM can be great for anyone starting out their career and they can help you achieve your career goals and aspirations.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM?
Don't be afraid to ask questions, make mistakes (but learn from them!) and stretch yourself further than you are comfortable! You will get as much out of IBM as you are willing to claw out of it and at the end of the day when you reflect on what you've done you'll see that you've achieved so much more than you may think. Ensure that you ask questions about the company rather than something such as 'what is the salary like?' as this could show you only care about the money! Show enthusiasm and try to be as polite and intuitive as possible.
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