September 21, 2018
Categorized: IBMer Stories | Meet IBMers
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You might be uncertain about whether to start work, complete an apprenticeship or go to university. If you’re in this situation—take a look at our IBM Futures Scheme being offered to school leavers in IBM UK. The scheme offers the invaluable opportunity to work with a world-leading company for 12 months, broadening your horizons and giving you a head start in your career.
Daniel Meechan and Lewis Bird are on a Technical Placement on the IBM Futures Scheme in the UK. In this blog, they share why they decided to join the program, their role at IBM, and their future aspirations.
Why did you decide to apply for the IBM Futures scheme?
Daniel: At the time, I knew I didn’t want to go to university yet (or maybe even at all). Instead, I wanted to take a gap year and get busy working—to earn a bit of money, learn a lot, and build some cool things. So I had a look around at one year internships and the IBM Futures scheme stood out to me as the best option out there. The opportunity to do fun and challenging work, get paid, and be surrounded by a supportive network was exactly what I was looking for.
Lewis: I decided to apply for the Futures Program at IBM as I was unsure of what I wanted to do post sixth form. I wasn’t sure what kind of career I want to do, what I would enjoy, and if university was worth the money. So I looked at other options but I didn’t want to be tied down to 3-4 years in potentially something I didn’t enjoy. Whereas the IBM Futures program allowed me to explore an exciting industry, but still allowed me to go onto University or an apprenticeship at the end of one year.
What’s your job role and how are you finding it so far?
Daniel: The most accurate description for my role would be full stack web developer. But rather than focusing on a single project, I’m doing different technical roles across a few different projects. One of my core responsibilities has been developing an internal web application for helping remote teams work better together. As someone who had very little web development experience before starting at IBM, I’ve learnt so much from building it—much more than I’d ever expected before the internship began. Alongside that, my role has been pretty varied: setting up and managing our team’s cloud infrastructure; developing a cognitive solution with the Watson IoT team in the US; running events to teach colleagues how to code; spending some time in the trenches fixing problems with Excel VBA macros; and leading the front-end development of a web application for managing interns. Right now I’m working on building a DevOps training course. All in all, the work I’ve had the opportunity to do this year has been more exciting and engaging than I’d ever expected. I expected my development skills to improve by maybe 2x when I signed up, but it feels much more like 10x. It’s been a wonderful journey.
Lewis: My current job role is a technical role in the client centre. I’m responsible for setting up technical demonstrations and environments for customers to use. This has seen me get hands-on with a variety of software and infrastructure, from working on laptop deployments to handling virtual machines on the cloud. This was a big learning curve from coming straight out of school, but everyone at IBM is willing to help and do their best to help you. You are also given an early professional manager who is there to solely help you transition and continue to support you during your year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my job as it has exposed me to a wide range of areas, from blockchain to security. This year has allowed me to develop my skills and it has also been great fun!
Learn about similar IBM opportunities by joining the IBM Talent Network.
What are your plans for next year?
Daniel: I’m moving to Scotland to study Computer Science at St. Andrews. With everything I’ve learnt from my year at IBM, both technical and non-technical (including living away from home and managing rent & bills), I’m feeling well prepared for university.
Lewis: I have applied to stay on at IBM as a degree apprentice, studying for a digital and technology solutions degree as well as working full time at IBM. This will let me get the best both worlds. My early professional manager has really helped me with my application, helping me draft the application and then supporting me through the process. Looking forward to staying on at IBM.
2017/18 Futures Cohort – Daniel (back row, 3rd from right) & Lewis (back row, 4th from left)
Are you interested in joining the IBM futures scheme? If so, please see more information here: https://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk-en/school_leaver.html