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By Kathryn Kodama (5 min read)
IBM Canada recently received the “Employer of Excellence Award 2018/19” from the McMaster University Faculty of Engineering for hiring the greatest number of co-op students over the past 5 years and having the top internship program.
Kathryn Kodama is one of our developer interns from McMaster University where she is a junior software engineering student. Her current position at IBM is Software Developer Intern in Hybrid Cloud on the WebSphere Install Team. She is based out of the IBM Canada Software Lab in Markham, Ontario, Canada.
In this blog, Kathryn shares her internship experience and why she is happy with her decision to start her developer career at IBM.
1. IBM provides me with ample learning opportunities.
When I first started my 16-month internship as a Software Developer Intern at IBM in May 2018, I had no idea what to expect. I had never worked as a software developer before or worked at such a large and well-known company. Now a year into my internship, I can confidently say that it has been an amazing experience filled with multiple opportunities. As the result of my internship, I have learned so much about myself and the direction I want my career to go in.
2. I am surrounded by supportive colleagues.
One of the first things I noticed when I started at IBM was how supportive the workplace environment was. It became immediately clear that everyone was very willing to help and cared that I improved my technical skills and professional development throughout my time at my internship. Every individual on my team took the time to answer my questions and ensured that I was engaged and challenged in my role.
3. Working collaboratively has been the key to my success.
I learned that I really enjoy working in a collaborative environment. On my team, at any given point there are four to eight interns. We are able to work together and, despite often being on different projects, share the knowledge we have among us or brainstorm with one another. Forming connections with my coworkers and working together has been a crucial part of my success thus far.
4. My opinion matters in the development of products.
I also had the opportunity to help present my team’s projects at various conferences and travel to universities to teach other students about IBM technologies. I liked seeing that my department cared about receiving feedback from developers and were truly creating products that fit the needs of the customers and community. As a current university student and as a member of the developer community, I appreciate that my opinion matters.
5. I made several connections and made many friends.
One of the greatest benefits of working for such a big company like IBM is the opportunities available beyond my everyday role. Due to the fact that IBM has so many interns (over 300 at the Canada Software Lab alone), there is a committee created by interns for interns called Future Blue. We plan career and development events for interns (eg. resume roasts, technical workshops) as well as fun social events (eg. buffet lunches, movie nights). It is such a unique opportunity that has allowed me to meet so many other colleagues beyond my current position. Because of Future Blue, I was exposed to other business units and the products they develop; and made many long-lasting friendships.
6. IBM advocates more females in technology.
At the IBM Canada Lab, there is an annual STEM 4 Girls camp. Girls who have expressed an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) aged 11-13 are nominated to attend this camp for an entire week in the summer. As a current co-chair for this year’s STEM 4 Girls camp, our duties include planning the camp schedule and activities and leading the core team meetings. I find it inspiring that a large company like IBM cares about and supports more females entering the technology industry. In my opinion, outreach to young girls is vital to achieve this goal.
7. My experience at IBM has given me more insight into what I want from my career.
Now, entering the last few months of my internship, I feel like I am more aware of the types of software development positions that are available to me. Going forward, I know that working at a company that prioritizes equality between men and women in the workplace and investing in training their employees is very important to me. I have loved my experience at IBM and am confident that I am returning to my final year of university with much more knowledge and experience.