1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Routine work includes maintenance and upgrades of critical software on systems managed by my team. Other aspects I have been involved in is the configuration and updating of functionality in the build, test, packaging software used by my product. Also, numerous small "work a day" tasks, such as those to deliver a new version of the product.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
New skills learned include programming in lower level languages like bash / sh; powershell and windows cmd line; learned how to use Ansible. Also learned about numerous new technologies, such as Docker, Kubernetes, Cloud computing and others related to my role. Existing skills so far also developed include skills in scripting, object oriented design.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy it a lot. In my work there is always plenty new to learn about that the free reign I am given to develop my skills in my work makes it engaging. The course itself has exposed me to a lot of new information and skills that I hadn't thought about before and so is also very interesting.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Well organised and structure is explained clearly. We are made aware early on how each module ties into the final degree and what constitutes work towards the apprenticeship by and large. IBM's own training scheme for apprentices and similar is well explained in the main, maybe a little more room for improvement in some ways like what is needed as prework for some of the courses.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Lots. My task manager is extremely supportive and gives me plenty of extra time when I ask for it, as well as being sympathetic when I explain any difficulties I have. My early professional manager is also very good and takes an active interest in our meetings on how I can work towards goals I have better.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
My lecturers are, by and large, superlative. One is not very helpful as getting concrete answers out of them is difficult (they tend to prefer wishy-washy terms and try to leave it up to us to work things out - not always helpful) but the others have been stellar in answering questions and providing support when I need it and in a timely fashion.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
What I learn in my qualification has pretty generally always given me at the very least a deeper appreciation of some of the underlying processes in my work. Usually however, it gives me new information that lets me tackle other parts of my work that I couldn't before or helps me structure my work better.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes, there are numerous groups one can be part of. We have Business Resource Groups but I am not part of any of them as none of the offerings "fit" me. Beyond that there are other social groups I am a part of, usually only tangentially as I often socialise with old school friends - though there are plenty of offerings to potentially choose from I feel.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend?
I have recommended working at IBM to many friends. One of the reasons is because of the inclusive culture, so it's an easy sell to my transgender friends to say that we have a proven track record in being inclusive to that group. The biggest selling point however is the emphasis on personal development at IBM, where time is given each year for your own learning and development - this is the best selling point, with the great culture as a close second.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM?
Be honest in the interviews at all stages as integrity is really important here. Also, be honest about what you want, if asked where you see your career in 5-10 years, let them know what aspirations you may have even if outside the company. Also, the application process is quite lengthy, so don't worry too much about if you're left without something to do for a short while, they will get back in touch!