Jack Bark at IBM
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Integration Technical Lead
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I joined IBM at the age of 18 after completing my A-levels in Computing, Music Technology and Economics at Ashby School in Leicestershire. While doing my year 13 exams I was offered a place on the IBM apprenticeship scheme (I actually received the offer on my birthday!). I’ve always had an interest in technology and IT so being able to work for one of the largest IT companies in the world was surreal, especially at the age of 18. Fast forward 3 and a half years, I’m now 22 studying towards a degree and leading a team of 8 people to deliver an IT transformation project on a high-profile public sector account.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship because I have always been driven by money and work place experiences. An apprenticeship meant I could work on real-life deliverables for real-life clients and make a difference in the technology industry, while at the same time learning off the job in the classroom too. Apprenticeships are valuable as you can get real-life work experience while gaining a qualification at the same time and in today’s world, employers are looking more closely at the experiences you have rather than the qualifications.
Did you always know you wanted to do an apprenticeship?
For me, I always wanted to do an apprenticeship as I knew university wasn’t for me. I’ve always wanted to get stuck in and get my hands dirty when it came to doing things, from a young age I have always helped my parents out in the garden; building things, taking things apart and trying to learn how to put things back together (although 50% of the time I couldn’t put them back together!).
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My day to day role consists of understanding the IBM product and figuring out how to align with the client requirements. I ensure that a common platform implementation is used across multiple service’s and that testing is complete, vital to ongoing business success. I am currently working directly with the client and providers to deliver the remaining interfaces in time to meet a challenging go live date.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the amount of opportunity on offer and how often you can get involved in other areas you may not have initially thought about getting involved in. An example of this is when I lead a “Hack-A-Thon” for a project I was working on, it was a bit of fun, we ordered pizzas and all got stuck in with a bit of development, testing and project management – Something I’d never really thought of doing or getting involved in.
Do you have any tips for any students considering an apprenticeship?
One tip for anyone out there considering an apprenticeship is to just go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose and they’re a great opportunity for anybody to learn and gain real life experiences and you’ll have so much fun while doing it. Be clear and concise in your application process, if you get to the point in the first sentence people will want to continue reading your application and more than likely ask you to come in for an interview! Quality NOT Quantity!
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