August 6, 2019
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(3 min read)
IBM GTS Infrastructure Architect Luke Hiller shares his IBM career experience, including advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship and how he became IBM UK’s most decorated apprentice.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
From a young age, it was always apparent that I was a practical learner. Because of this, I always knew an apprenticeship would be the best path for me. I joined IBM in 2015 straight from college where I was studying A-levels. I have been in IBM for 4 years and it has been an absolute whirlwind, but I have absolutely enjoyed every minute of it!
Tell us about the Apprenticeship awards you won.
During my time at IBM as an apprentice, I was fortunate enough to be nominated and win the following awards: Regional Apprentice of the Year for the Southwest 2018, Target Jobs Apprentice of the Year 2019, and School Leaver of the Year 2019 – making me IBM UK’s most decorated apprentice!
How do you think being at IBM has helped you achieve these awards?
None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for IBM and the incredible opportunities they have provided! I joined IBM in September 2015 straight from college with no technical background or qualifications to my name. IBM took me on through their apprenticeship programme, providing a fantastic education, teaching me everything I know about IT and being a professional, and ultimately, giving me a career.
What is your role and what is a typical day like?
My role is an Infrastructure Architect. The main purpose of this role is to design and implement information systems for enterprise organizations. An architect is required to oversee the technical aspect of a project, such as interacting with the customer, gathering functional and non-functional requirements and speaking to subject matter experts to pull all aspects of a solution together into architectural design or artifact that fits the client’s business need.
A day in my role begins by arriving at the IBM Hursley site around 8:30AM and getting some breakfast and coffee with some colleagues to fuel myself for the day ahead. Work starts by joining the daily scrum and catch up calls. I then pick up some new work from a project manager for clients, regarding technical work they require to resolve issues or improve their service. These can range from removing a function on a group of employees’ PCs, to implementing a new chatbot service on the client’s website.
I meet with the client directly to understand their requirements and provide a complete solution for them, including all the technical details, who will be required, and documentation of decisions I’ve made. This is the main part of my work and can vary massively in time to complete – from weeks to months – depending on the scale and complexity of the client request. Once the design is complete, it will go through a set of approvals, including a design authority, to proceed to implementation.
What would be your advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
Regarding IBM’s apprenticeships, they provide excellent education and training, which is given by IBM or external training providers. I have consistently found that I can reach out to individuals like my manager, sponsors, or colleagues in the workplace for advice and support. IBM provides a great foundation to build your career upon, especially as an Early Professional, as they give you the opportunity to move around and experience new roles. The apprenticeships are structured to gain substantial qualifications, whilst earning a wage at the same time.
The best bit of advice I could give is that apprenticeships aren’t for everyone in the same way that university doesn’t suit everyone. With that in mind, the most important thing you can do is understand yourself – your learning style, the environments in which you thrive, and the industry you would like to pursue. All these elements are key indicators of the path you should take and from there you can pick the route which is right for you!