Well I’m still in IBM and no I’m not the CEO …just yet! I have now progressed into “the business” and like Oli and Lewis, I have completed the Apprenticeship after an amazing 3 years! I have not got a new job title or changed my job – So what is the difference?
The difference is my knowledge and my view on the world of work.
Looking back at my apprenticeship I have had 7 different job types on 4 different accounts/locations. Some roles I learned more on than others, some clients were more structured than others, but every single one of them was different and unique in their own right. Every single one of them taught me new skills and made me think differently to solve complex challenges.
I have now gained a breadth of knowledge in multiple areas of IBM. I am more than confident that the knowledge base I have gained shall serve me well no matter what career path I go down. It’s not just the role knowledge I have gained, I have also gained people skills and learned how to interact with different clients, IBM’ers and work with different cultures. I have developed new and different ways of thinking / working to help me perform to my best ability.
I dared to challenge myself and if I’m being honest, not all of my decisions turned out how I expected, but I sure did learn and develop from every single one of them. By challenging myself I proved myself to others which led to more responsibility and in turn gave me knowledge at a faster pace! When I think back, I have seen myself go from role to role gaining more responsibility or challenge in each one of them which really defines the term “development”!
At the start of my apprenticeship I only really knew of (and wanted to be) the job role that was abbreviated PM (Project Manager). Over the 3 years I have experienced roles that I never really knew existed and ones that at the beginning I thought “it’s just not for me”. But the apprenticeship has given me an insight into roles that I now want to explore further and are a huge interest to me! IBM is a massive company and you could set up a 20 year apprenticeship and not get through the all the areas, so I had to pick roles wisely and be realistic in the paths I wanted to explore.
Gained the contacts – At the end of my 3 years one of my biggest assets is my contacts list. I have built an extensive network that can open new doors and can link me back to some of the career paths that I explored earlier on in my apprenticeship.
I have developed my understanding of the market and business I am actually in. Sure I had an understanding of what IBM did before (they did computer stuff right…?) Now I actually know how IBM operates, the processes and models within a business and the markets they are involved in. But more importantly I know why they are in those markets. I can use this to understand how to deliver real benefit to our clients and understand the challenges our clients face and what can be done to solve them.
It’s not all work work work. You have to have a social life too right? I have met some amazing people and made some great friends all of which have led to some great experiences throughout the apprenticeship!
Do I now have a firm and confirmed career path I want to follow? No…but I’m not far away. I know what I enjoyed and I know what I was good and not so good at. I shall now look to explore the areas I have enjoyed the most, but also where I know my skill set lies, to hopefully lead to great achievements and a prosperous future within IBM!
So it’s not really where am I now as I’m just setting off on my journey…its more about “what have I done to prepare myself for my journey”.