Tag Archives: technical

What do Apprentices do? Tea and Coffee? – Josh Abrahams

Even now, with the Government putting more and more into backing Apprenticeships, many young people are still afraid that they will be condemned to a life of making tea and coffee. Whilst this may be true for some older Apprenticeships, but any one from a modern Apprenticeship scheme, such as ours here at IBM, will be more than happy to let you know this is simply not the case. I learnt this very early on in my career, my first day after induction in fact. Fifteen minutes had gone by since I had met my new colleagues; I was already in “trouble” for offering a drink to the Technical lead of the team when I went to go get one. I was just being polite, but they wanted to make it clear, Apprentices are not tea boys/girls.

Here at IBM, as with most, the Apprentice is given real responsibilities from the get go. During my brief two and a half years here I have been in three different roles which I’ll talk a little bit about now. Each had their ups and downs however in all of my roles, I have felt I have been delivering meaningful and valuable work.

For my first role in the company, I was placed as part team which supports Rational products, (Rational is brand of software IBM own,) I worked in three different locations during this time, supporting both internal and external customers. I worked on data migrations, configuration management, software upgrades and installs, user administration & general errors from users. I helped to develop bespoke changes to tools used by the customer, developing, testing & working through error codes and finally implementing. I held demonstration sessions for customers & fellow IBMers alike, this list goes on – but all of these pieces of work left me feeling like I had added value to IBM and to our customers.

The second role I took on was a progression of the first. After being in the support team for just over a year, I was promoted to Support Team Lead, taking on managerial responsibilities over our team of six, four offshore guys and two onshore. It was my responsibility to ensure the level of service we were delivering did not slip. I would hold service review meetings with the team, looking at sets of reports I created, organise shift rotas & holidays and train the team in weak areas (Which is surprisingly harder than it seems.) I was the first point of call for customer issues & quereies, I would help to work out solutions & price up any new work. I would talk through the customers first days & train them in correct tool usage. Whenever the team were going through upgrades, I would coordinate the process, design testing and be the face of the team in international calls with hosting providers and customers. All on top of my previous responsibilities – two roles down and still no tea or coffee.

My most recent and current role saw me move from being based in the South to being based in the even sunnier haven of Manchester City Centre! After my brief stint of experience management/service delivery, I decided to move away from Technical and learn other aspects of the business, with the end goal of becoming a Service Delivery Manager or work in Project Management. I am currently PMO (Programme Management Office) on one of our Financial Sector accounts. The PMO works closely with the Project Manager and Programme Governance teams and maintains various aspects of the account, such as onboarding, leavers & training. I work with the Commercial team & aid in ensuring accurate forecasting and billing and writing Statements of Work and contracts. It is my job to create a set of reports for the account which show IBM’s current status, our issues, risks, progress. I’m also aiding in ensuring our release is on track, attending meetings discussing progress, making schedules etc. Of course I haven’t left my Rational skills completely behind, I’m also Rational Administrator for the account.

These are just the three roles I have done in my time here at IBM as an Apprentice so far. Although each Apprentice will be doing different jobs and no two Apprentice experience at IBM are the same, as you find the role you want to be doing. None the less the work you will be doing will be beneficial to your career & be meaningful. I hear of so many people in office jobs complain that their life has no meaning, the work that they do has no meaning and that must be the worst, especially if that were to come from an Apprentice. At IBM I have meaning, I have purpose and I do not make tea or coffee for anyone. *

*  (Except myself)

Josh Abrahams

A day in zSeries – Nicole Covey

Another day in the life of a zSeries software support specialist… Wake up… bowl of cereal…. Depending on your mood and how hungry you are you possibly have another… if you’re really struggling you may even consider one more but you talk yourself out of it because that’s just greedy. Then comes the drive to work… sometimes you get to the office and feel lucky to be alive because you’ve had a close encounter with someone who is just way too keen to get to work. That, however, is about the only part of my day that is predictable. In my role you never know what is around the corner, it’s the thing I like most about my job, every day is different.

I am currently a zSeries Software Support Specialist here at IBM. zSeries are our big mainframe servers and It’s my job to help keep our mainframe customers up and running. This involves helping them with any queries they have with their mainframe software and also investigating any issues they experience to help get them back up and running as soon as possible. You can probably guess from the last half of that sentence that sometimes the job is very high pressured and stressful! Headache tablets are kept in the top drawer for those days that you wish you hadn’t got out of bed. (Let’s be honest it doesn’t matter how much you like your job we all have those days!)

We use PMR’s which are Problem Management Records to manage client queries/issues, these hold all the data on the client contact and the reason the PMR was raised, including product and release levels, any diagnostic data and times and dates of the incident. PMR’s also contain all the communication between us and the customer as well as all our findings during our investigations.

When talking about a day in my role, typical is probably not the best word to use. The process is the same, I look at PMR’s, talk to customers and look through diagnostic data such as system memory dumps and trace data, but each PMR is unique and different. Z is such as massive product, I’m constantly coming across new things and sometimes things that I’ve never heard of! Even my colleagues, some of whom have been working on Z for longer than I have been alive (which they love me reminding them of) are coming across new things every day.

Looking through system memory dumps is where all the fun lies, we use a tool called IPCS and it looks like the Matrix, just a mass of green HEX code on a black screen. The feeling of satisfaction you get when you solve a problem has got to be one of the perks of the job. You get a great sense of achievement when you see a problem all the way through from gathering the problem description, investigating (the fun part) and providing the customer with a solution.

Z has a bit of a reputation for being a ‘Dinosaur’ product, it’s been around for a very long time – I kind of like that though, dinosaurs are awesome. This does mean however that a large number of our z people are retiring which means it has become challenging with there being only three of us in Front Office UK support, but it is also a great opportunity for me to continue to grow my skills and become more competent. It’s like how my mum taught me to swim; chuck me in the deep end and I’ll learn quickly. Personally I think she’s lucky I’m not now terrified of water and will never trust her again (it took a while).

The funny thing is I never planned for a career in technology. In fact, before I came to IBM I had very limited technical knowledge (OK – I’ll be honest, I had absolutely none!). Five years on, I wake up every morning and drive into the office knowing that I have a challenge ahead, it keeps me on my toes and keeps me developing. As an added bonus I don’t hate Mondays. Well, I don’t love them, I wouldn’t even say I like them because no one likes Mondays, but I enjoy what I do and that’s all you can ask for.

IBM Apprenticeship : yay or nay? – Joe Barry

When forming an opinion of the apprenticeship I often look back at what I knew at the start of the programme and what I know now. Two years ago all I knew about IBM was this first paragraph that is on the IBM website describing the apprenticeship scheme;

University isn’t for everyone and here at IBM we have a fantastic alternative. Apprenticeships at IBM are all about picking up new skills and lots of them. It’s three years of brilliant training, lots of exposure and an experience you simply couldn’t get anywhere else. If you’ve decided to dive straight into the world of work after college we believe our apprenticeship is one of the best learning experience out there.

This paragraph ticked every box for me. I had been on apprenticeship schemes before and I was happy that this was the best way for me to learn compared to university as the only other alternative. IBM was not wrong when they spoke about new skills, skills from employment and from courses available for all of Foundation. During my first role I was given as many opportunities to learn new techniques and master new skills as I could handle (clients have no problem teaching you new skills if it means you can become more useful to them). The responsibility that I was given allowed me to develop my organisational, technical and personal skills to a point that I could be a valid contributor to real world problems. New skills are not just learning a new coding language or programme; you learn to be a more skilful person.

Now, when I read that it was a three year scheme I was a bit concerned. My last apprenticeships was only for 1 year which I though was ideal as a big deciding factor in my argument towards apprenticeships was the fact that I was not committed to a specific subject matter that half way through I could lose interest in as could be the case when you are enrolled in Uni. If you share this concern then let me help you out, if you join IBM for the next three years you initially have a choice between Business and Technical programmes. This choice does not affect the education throughout the 3 years nor does it limits your opportunities. Switching from the two after you joined however is hard to do, possible but not guaranteed. I myself have never been 100% convinced that I preferred the technical side to the business, in fact since joining I have preferred the business related tasks I have had the opportunity to do over the technical. This scheme is set up so even if you join the technical programme, as I did, you still get a taste for the other sides of the business. Three years I believe is the minimum amount of time I want to be with a company that offers so much variety as IBM does.

You are not typecast to one area of expertise, if you have a change of heart you have courses and job roles out there that will build up your skills, knowledge and hopefully interest in what you love doing.

IBM Apprenticeship, Yay or Nay? In my opinion the scheme is the best opportunity for young people to pick up new skills, experience a role/specialisation that you love and connect with a massive community of IBMers that all want to push the business and one another to new heights. Only if you push for every opportunity and get involved with your own development will you reap the full benefit of the programme and understand why IBM have moulded the next generation of innovation.

IBM was and still is the best opportunity for myself and everyone who shares my views, dreams and concerns so it’s a YAY from me.

A Day In The Life – William Spiers

Since my fist blog in February I’ve been mulling over creating my second, considering various different topics I could write about. I came to the conclusion to open the doors to my actual day job by creating a ‘Day in the life of’ post. Let me explain the rationale behind this decision – IBM’s a great company, and one of the things I think makes it great are the endless job roles and career paths available. Highlighting this is the fact that ever since I started at IBM, I’ve spoken to so many people (be it Apprentices, Graduates or regular employees) and I’ve never met two people who do exactly the same job. Ok, so that may sound like an exaggeration but, even if people have been doing the same role, it’s always been for a different client, in a different location or had some other variation making it unique. Now whether this is actually the case, or merely my experience being relatively new, we shall see, but one thing for sure: IBM’s got opportunities. Now I’ve digressed slightly, but I thought it was an important point to make. So back to why this influenced me to describe my daily role. This uniqueness, often for me at least, causes a slight haze over what people do; what does Technical Consultant or Test Analyst actually equate to on a day-to-day basis? As such, I thought it interesting to explore my first role in “Application Support and Configuration”.

So my role… since I joined IBM in February 2015 I have been part of a small 3rd line team who support and develop a business critical work flow application. Now I feel the key point in my description there is “small”, the reason I highlight this factor is because this is what has made my role so varied – with few resources available everyone pitches into most different aspects. First though let’s go through what I would consider my “core responsibilities”. My days generally start the same, checking access requests and doing proactive maintenance of the application and its surrounding infrastructure. This sounds mundane and don’t get me wrong it often can be, however it’s the “bread and butter” of the service my team offers, and by working in a proactive manner it ensures a good experience for the client. I then move on to dealing with incidents. When the client raises an issue with the application it gets assigned to our team for investigation. Resolving these issues entails contacting users, carrying out Route Cause Analysis of issues and occasionally creating problem and change records. Truthfully this is what takes up most of my time, as well as being the part of the role that can be challenging and by the same token incredibly rewarding. These incidents vary from single user problems to large scale high priority issues – single user problems are unsurprisingly what we deal with mostly and again can be very interesting. However for me where it really gets interesting is in high priority issues. The Service Level Agreements on these can be tight, and upon one arriving it’s a drop everything kind of scenario. Although these can be stressful, I’ve found I learn incredible amounts in very small spaces of time by just getting involved – I also always seem to come out of these with a genuine enthusiasm to find out even more, and the day flies by!

Moving on to my other responsibilities – this is where the “configuration” aspect of my job role comes in. Within the team we not only support but also develop the application and, as such, I frequently get involved with different aspects of this. Generally it starts with the client raising requirements for changes they would like. As a team we then analyse these and pass back a solution. From here the build begins, starting with development work in most cases, and this is the one aspect of the team I have not got involved in due to having specific people dedicated to the role. As such my input begins with the configuration of the front end of the application, by creating flows and inputting information to support the build etc. Onwards from here, I then get involved with raising the necessary change requests to progress the builds through from Development environments into Production. Whilst this is not the most stimulating job, for me it really cements my understanding of the changes when I have to explain and document them. As well as this, it really imprints the importance of change processes and procedures – a bit of a necessary evil shall we say.

So in a nutshell that’s my role, although there are other bits and pieces I do, there’s certainly not enough space to list them all out! I’ve enjoyed this role immensely, as it has brought me on in virtually every aspect – from presenting to problem solving, it’s had snippets of everything. I’ve developed a small amount of understanding in all these different areas, and it’s this attribute that I feel has made it the perfect first position. In turn, this has allowed me to understand what I like and what I’m not so keen on, which is invaluable considering I came into IBM with very little specific direction. Despite enjoying this role, I have now come to a point where for personal development, I want to move on to something new, and with my new-found understanding for my likes and dislikes, this decision has been made much easier! As such, I am now moving into a “Service Management Consultancy” role – a more hazy job description than “Application Support and Configuration” that’s for sure, but let’s save that explanation for another day, when I’ve explored it more myself perhaps!

Year 1 Reflections – Richard Cure

Hi! I’m Richard and I’d like to share with you in my first blog post on how I got to IBM, my current role right now, and what I have learnt so far from my experiences with IBM.

My journey so far:

Having finished A-Levels with grades in Computing, Maths and Spanish in summer 2014 I knew I wanted to pursue a career in IT or Spanish. I ended up applying to Bristol University to study Computer Science with a year abroad and was lucky enough to receive an offer.

I also looked at apprenticeships as I knew they were viable alternatives to university. So in addition to my university application I applied to a handful of IT companies for their apprenticeship schemes, IBM being one of them.

After passing some online tests I was sent to Reading, for an assessment centre for another company’s apprenticeship scheme and naturally I was rather nervous. I did my best in the group activities and received an offer, but first I wanted to see what IBM could offer me. After a phone interview with an IBM employee and more online tests I travelled to Portsmouth for my second assessment centre. The day went well and a presentation from existing IBM apprentices affirmed what I already knew about the benefits of the scheme and what would happen for the duration of the apprenticeship.

A few months later I was contacted again to set up a final interview for the role I am doing now. This time however I felt relaxed and confident going into it because I knew what to expect having experienced interviews in my previous assessment centres. I think this showed in the interview and I was ecstatic to receive confirmation that I would start at IBM shortly after, so long as onboarding checks and associated paperwork etc. went well, which they did.

So overall it was a long process, but well worth it in the end.

Before joining IBM I had to make the difficult decision to defer my university offer but half a year later, I ultimately rejected my offer – this wasn’t too difficult after having worked as an apprentice for a while.

Now I’ve spent the last year and a bit on an IBM Programme mainly made up of application development projects aiming to develop, support and maintain a number of applications for an interesting customer and it’s been great!

What I’m doing now:

To explain a bit more about my main role – I’m working as a Build Specialist in the Server Build team, which entails looking after 200+ servers being used by my colleagues for project work (for those reading who aren’t sure what a “server” is, think of a server being like a powerful desktop computer without a monitor which performs a specific task). Our main responsibilities in the Build team are to make sure the servers are up to date software-wise and fixing any issues related to the computer environment which come our way before we hand over the servers to the test team. If testing is successful then whatever we have installed on our systems ends up in the hands of the customer to install on their systems, so it’s important we get it right first time and don’t miss anything! All these servers perform different roles and have different hardware and software requirements and specifications, so there’s been a lot learnt over the last year and for sure more to come.

In this role I’ve applied a variety of different skills, ranging from technical skills – understanding and operating the systems running on the servers (we’ve got at least 3: Windows, Linux and AIX – IBM’s own version of Linux) to personal skills – dealing with the customer, and speaking to them to arrange hardware fixes as the physical side of the servers are managed by the customer, to practical hands on skills – looking after the hardware devices physically in the office such as printers and taking responsibility for them.

The project likes to test us in different areas too, so in addition to my primary job role I’m also doing a Measurements Analyst role. It’s a natural fit for me because in this role I have free reign to look at the all data produced from the Programme which is held from a wide range of sources – databases, project logs, etc. and collate it to make sense of it, which I really enjoy. This means I get to build on my programming skills acquired from A-Level study and create informative graphs and charts which I present regularly to management. Recently I’ve been challenged with developing the estimation tool for faults used by the Project Managers to create estimates which feed in to the scheduling of their projects. This meant researching, understanding, and implementing linear regression and other statistical concepts such as Cook’s Distance into the existing tool, so I had to dig out my old statistics revision notes to help me out – who says you’ll never use Maths in your day job!

Thirdly, another role I’ve been assigned is Software Quality Analyst where I get to learn about the different software projects by interviewing the Project Managers and personnel involved and at the end of it, produce a report on whether they’ve been following best practices and procedures to ensure the quality of the project and its deliverables (by deliverables I mean work produced like software packages and project documentation to be given to the customer).

Overall it’s a lot of work, and really tests me as an early professional day in day out, but as a consequence I’ve grown in confidence, widened my knowledge and gained vital experience which you could argue university students and graduates lack to a degree (excuse the pun).

The main things I’ve learnt:

Qualifications aren’t everything. Sure they help to set a bench mark for knowledge, but it really is about the skills you can offer, and how you perform within a team to a) get things done b) add value to the business c) grow yourself, skills and career.

What things I was strong at, and what things I thought I was good at but actually wasn’t and need to work on more.

About independent living – I’ve had to move away from home and orientate myself in a new city, which has been really exciting but daunting at the same time.

How to navigate IBM. IBM is huge and have offices across the world, therefore you can’t avoid the news about what the company is doing. When I started I did find it difficult to work out which parts to pay attention to and which parts to filter out because everything was exciting and new to me. The structure and organisation side of IBM such as the employee’s homepage has improved a lot recently so it’s easier to find your way around and also now I have a feeling of the topics which interest me more than others, so I can channel my efforts and energy into what’s most important at the time. Also there’s a whole network of people you can ask to point you in the right direction.

Make the most of your time off – when you compare a full time job to studying the difference in free time is light years – so I’ve learnt to appreciate how valuable your spare time is. IBM supports you with this in the fact you can buy or sell holiday days in addition to the 25 days each year plus bank holidays. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to go on holiday to see Australia and New Zealand a few weeks ago which was amazing. I certainly would not have had been able to do this had I been at University!

Hard work pays off – I was recognised by the Programme Manager in the form of a Project Award only a few months after I joined. This really surprised me but definitely made me feel valued as part of the team even though I was only there for a short period of time.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my first post, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead – summer, training courses, the eventual completion of my apprenticeship qualification, and more posts of course!

Richard

Stepping into IBM – Gus Parkhouse

More than 872,000 people were employed on government funded apprenticeships during the 2014/2015 academic year and I was fortunate enough to be one of them at IBM. I wanted to join the IBM apprenticeship scheme because I saw our products everywhere and heard how IBM worked with the majority of big corporations. I wanted to be involved in that!

When I first got the email and phone call that I had been accepted onto the IBM apprenticeship scheme I was overwhelmed by a wave of emotions, I was ecstatic, nervous, apprehensive and proud – all at the same time. I didn’t even know this was possible. I, of course, immediately informed my Mum and passed on the good news.

Once the excitement had simmered down a bit, I was overtaken by nerves and a sense of worry that I wouldn’t have the knowledge or experience to competently perform the role I was going to be assigned. Over the next few days from receiving the good news I was swarmed by emails informing me of the next steps, what I needed to send in and what I needed to complete before my start date (the more admin side of things). I knew these emails were meant to be helpful but, honestly, it just made me more nervous. Fortunately the foundation team set up a call for the new apprentices to chat to a foundation early professional’s manager and learn more about what to expect on the induction course. This was great as I felt like I was finally getting to know some of my peers, albeit over the phone.

I really wanted to get their opinions of the hiring process and how they found it all. The general consensus seemed to be the same as mine: that the online skills test was impossibly hard but somehow we passed it and the interviews, as daunting as they were, were actually quite nice once I got over my nerves and managed to string a few sentences together. It was a great opportunity to showcase past experiences. Whilst waiting to start the apprenticeship I kept thinking which ever role I got, technical or business, I would definitely need training to make sure I had the adequate skills required. I thought the overall hiring process was quite long but looking back at it I think, with the vast amount of applicants, it couldn’t really be shortened or it might seem a bit rushed. As my start date got closer I couldn’t help but feel a bit scared and intimidated that I would be joining a team of more experienced IBMers and may not meet their standards.

Once I started on my induction course I was very promptly met by the other new apprentices, who I’m happy to say were both excited and nervous about the apprenticeship as well. It was nice to get to know my fellow apprentices finding out about their backgrounds and what prompted them to apply in a quick “ice breaker” session. Over the course of the two week induction there was a lot of information to take in, ranging from how to use our new laptops down to how binary works. I feel that although the information I was being taught was helpful it was all completely necessary, but I am finding a lot of it is coming in handy as I’m going through the apprenticeship. On the first day I met my Early Professionals Manager who was incredibly helpful and welcoming which was great as I found out I’d be meeting with him quite regularly. The first week was very “new joiner” focused like getting through documentation and health and safety. I’d say a lot of this I knew before I had started but it had to be covered. The second week was a lot more intense and interactive as we were learning about different parts of technology that we may come across. At the end of the technology week we split into groups and presented a final presentation on what we learnt over the two weeks and what were the key points to us.

During my induction I was contacted by an IBMer and informed that I was placed in an Infrastructure Architect role which was incredibly exciting. I’ve never had a job role like that before it sounded like unlimited possibilities. Not so bright but early on Monday morning I arrived at work to meet my new manager and peers, I was keen to learn more about my role and to make a great first impression as I knew I’d be around my team mates a lot. When I arrived in the office I was greeted by my line manager who was quick to introduce me to the rest of the team in the office. This consisted of 3 other apprentices and 4 senior architects. As the day went on I got to know my team and what they were working on – they were all very inviting and knowledgeable. The apprentices within the room took me for a brew and a chat to impart some early tips and advice for starting up. Unsurprisingly there first tip was to do the mandatory education first so that you have time freed up for my project when I’m aligned to one. The other apprentices in my team had a lot of tips to pass on and just proved what I had been told by my early professional’s manager on my induction that “Everyone is willing to help and share information”. So no surprise I decided to get started on the learning I had been assigned for both on boarding and for my architecture role. I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of learning I had to do straight away, although I have not used a lot of it I can see parts of it being useful in the future. Through doing the education and chatting to the team I was able to learn an exceptional amount about my new role and began to want an account to do work for.

Within a few weeks of starting at IBM I had been assigned a task manager and an account, and I was quickly given work to do for my task manager. I quickly learnt that I was capable to deliver the work being asked of me and asked for more to help stretch my comfort zone and hopefully learn faster. My mentor and task manager understood I was an apprentice and helped me only when I needed it – so I was not spoon fed. Once I had the workload under control I wanted to get some further training which IBM agreed to put me on to continually grow as an employee and a person in general. I am proud to be an IBMer!

John Longworth – An Introduction…

Hello to you all, and thank you for reading my first ever post on the blog! Let’s start things off with who I am (the only place to start!). I’m John, born and raised in Manchester, an IBMer almost exactly two years into my apprenticeship and someone who had no idea what to do after leaving college. Coming out with a BTEC in Games Design might I add. I never enjoyed classroom learning enough to go down the route of Uni so that was never an option in my mind and given the fact that I’d had an interest in IT and Technology, applying for Apprenticeships in the IT industry seemed to fit all too well. After applying for IBM (plus many others), I only initially received a reply and invitation to continue the process by IBM. More rolled in later but unfortunately for them, I’d already accepted IBM at that point! 6 months (I missed out on the first induction group and got into the second), 1 IPAT Test, 1 trip to North Harbour Portsmouth for an Assessment Centre and a few phone calls later and I found myself on a 2 week induction for one of the biggest multinational technology/consultancy companies and an Apprentice at IBM! 😀 But that’s just the beginning of it all, way back in 2013/14…

The 2 week induction didn’t only just teach me about IBM on a whole (values, admin tasks that need completing and all the technical fundamentals you could ask for). It introduced me to so many new people from all around the country (12 other apprentices to be exact) with all sorts of different experiences and backgrounds and taking all that in, completely improved my confidence. I came into day 1 of induction having no idea what to expect by the people but I can say I was pleasantly surprised. Having IBMers (mostly other apprentices) who volunteered time to come and speak to us and give us their experiences in the company so far. Sort of like what I’m about to do now…but in text format…

So after leaving the Induction, I started straight away on my first IBM account, situated not too far from home, in Liverpool. Being one of only two IBM apprentices on the account, it was one of the biggest learning curves I’ve faced yet. I was placed into a role of Junior Oracle DBA (Database Analyst), the only issue was…I had no idea how to write SQL or anything remotely related to Databases. TIP – Online courses were a must. Not only did they help me develop my skills, but it meant I could stay around the office and learn by doing and watching my (small – only 3 person) team. I improved my skills on PL/SQL infinitely. But unfortunately, before anything else transpired or I could get to the point where I would have access to the ‘LIVE’ system, my time on the account was cut short. As far as I’m aware, mostly due to the fact that the client decided to go down the route of having their own Apprentices on the account (which I personally had a hand in – pitching the apprenticeship scheme to the SDG team). So after a short few months, my time was up and it was already time to move on. Some great experiences and some (honestly) challenging experiences were had, but it was all part of a significant part of my IBM experience!

Next TIP – When moving accounts or trying to find a new role, contacts are essential, use them! So, I found out I would be moving accounts around 2 days before my ‘final day’, so after getting in touch with an apprentice whom I’d met one of the mandatory Foundation courses (FSPE) and I was passed along to the resource manager of another account in Preston. An interview call with the Service management lead later and I find myself where I am today.

I currently work in Service Management (Incident, Problem and Change/Release) on that very account and have been for the past year and a half. Thus far, they’ve been very intriguing roles to be in and I’ve learnt a huge amount! So the room I work in is purely Service Management, it’s basically “ITIL in a box”. I’m a believer in that the best way to pick up a skill or learn something is to be as exposed to it as much as possible and that is exactly what my time here has given me. Let me also not bypass the fact that I’ve met some of the most amazing people here too, a lot of them other (past or present) Apprentices! Being in the 3 roles has really kindled my excitement for Service Management, I feel like it’s something I’ve really gotten an excellent grasp of now and is definitely something I can drive forward with in a career sense in the future.

That brings up my final (and personally the most intriguing) point of my first post, the future and where I’m heading next.

After being in Service Management for such an extended period of time (over 12 months), I’m feeling like it’s time for something new. Something that will challenge me and push me outside of what I know and am comfortable with. As of the writing of this post, I’m not sure where to head next, but a move of accounts seems to be on the cards. Which in of itself will provide new certain exciting opportunities! But what’s next in regards of a role is still up in the air. I’ve given my all to ensure that my options are open and I’m sticking to the motto of ‘An open mind opens up opportunities’ and all being an Apprentice has done is drive that message home to me.

So that’s that for the future, where I will be or what I’ll be doing next is part of the excitement, but going off the previous 2 years alone I’ve spent in IBM, I’m looking forward massively to what will happen and who I’ll meet on the journey. You never know, by the time I next post I could be in a completely different place, doing something completely different. Things happen that fast!

Last tip and final statement from me for this post – A lot of opportunities come and go, and you’ll notice a lot pass you by. Take time to stop and think about what you’re letting go, because you never know, some of your greatest experiences might be passing without you even knowing it!

Thank you all for reading my experiences and until next time, goodbye and good luck!

John Longworth