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(2 min read) By Rahat Ahmed-Choudhury
My apprenticeship story starts in 2011, during my second year at Rutgers University. I realized I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to pursue. I knew I definitely didn’t want to continue accumulating student debt. This was especially true because I didn’t have the means to afford an education that wouldn’t help answer any questions about my long-term career goals. So I made the difficult decision to suspend my studies.
Moving To New York
Unlike many others, I didn’t have the support of my parents to fall back on, and so I decided to move to New York to find work. With no formal education, I started with a job in retail and ultimately found myself at a telecom company. The culture was amazing, I liked the work, and the money was decent.
Within a year, I found the love of my life and we got married. And a few years later, we had our beautiful baby girl, Amelia. At that point, I started feeling stressed about not only my future but our future as a family. I wanted to provide for them, but with the so-called retail apocalypse looming over my head, I started to think, “What other options are out there for me?”
Time For a Change
As a young kid, I loved working with technology and so I thought I’d look into that. I enrolled in online courses that promised an IT job, but nothing solid ever came from this. Eventually, I heard about an apprenticeship program offered by IBM. I read up on it and it sounded great. This was exactly what I was looking for! Over the years working in the telecom industry, I had gained valuable skills but didn’t have the technical knowledge to work in the IT field. It looked like the apprenticeship bridged that gap for people like me.
So, I gave it a shot, applied and filled out the assessment. Next thing I knew, I was speaking with an IBM recruiter. Then I was connected to our fearless leader, Sharon. And lastly, I got a final interview with my technical manager. I was ecstatic! I’m now part of the IBM team and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me, my family, and my team.
Learn more about how the IBM New Collar Apprenticeship Program creates new pathways to employment for candidates without an advanced degree.
About the Author: Rahat Ahmed-Choudhury is an apprentice working on the Global Markets team in Technical Sales. He joined IBM in August 2019 and is based in New York.