I discovered the IBM Apprenticeship scheme through a friend of mine who actually went to the same college as me and was in the same class. Whilst he had already joined the scheme on the intake before me, I had decided to do another year at college to boost my grades and apply for a top university. It was during this time that my friend and another colleague who was also an apprentice arrived at college to discuss the career opportunities available at IBM compared to university.
I saw how much he had learned in such a short space of time and as were both in the same IT class, we had similar interests. I wanted to learn and I wanted to learn from the best which is why I applied to join the February 2013 intake.
Furthermore, talking to IT teachers in college who had worked for IBM previously and learning about the good, solid grounding they received in the industry was another massive factor in my application.
After taking part in the assessment centre at IBM Hursley, I was accepted into the apprenticeship scheme and began my role as a tester on one of the major growth areas of IBM – Smarter Commerce.
Coming to the role with no knowledge of the testing methodologies apart from what I had learnt about IT in college, I began to comprehend and use the methodologies, tools and techniques required to perform the test role which at the time was with a major retailer.
From the role, I picked up skills in areas including AIX, DB2, SQL, HTML, CSS, XML, SEO and many more. I can wholeheartedly say that I would not even know what some of those acronyms stand for if I had not joined IBM.
After a period of time, I moved onto another PMO role on a different project. In February of this year, I began to work with the Commercial team with a large bank. Undertaking the PMO role prior to joining the Commercial team was really helpful in understanding what was expected of me and how to go about the role. Both these roles have been a real eye opener for me and gave me a good idea of what goes on behind the scenes to make a project a success.
To date, the proudest moment in IBM is probably during one week last year whilst on Smarter Commerce whereby we successfully tested three releases in quick succession and subsequently received a lot of positive feedback directly from the client, associate partners and senior managers.
Apparently, we only use 10% of everything that we learn in school and college. After all, Pythagoras, William Shakespeare and Mandarin are fairly obsolete if you are stacking shelves. Although I do not use many of the things I learnt at school and college, I don’t have to because IBM has taught me everything I have needed to know. I can confidently say that without the apprenticeship, I would never have learned or had exposure to the people, experiences and skills that I have met, been part of and developed since I joined.
For any people sitting on the fence and considering applying for the IBM Apprenticeship scheme, I can only say that I thoroughly recommend it as the best the country, perhaps the world has to offer. Three years of apprenticeship compared to three years of university is a major advantage, and the on the job learning that takes place is immense. Working for the largest IT company in the world opens up so many doors of opportunity and discovery which I hope to move into in the future.
The question for someone thinking about applying isn’t ‘why?’, it’s ‘why not?’.