An Update on Ingrid: A Neurodivergent QA Specialist and Proud IBMer
We think about diversity the way we think about innovation — both are essential to the success and growth of our business and our clients. When we innovate, technology becomes smarter for clients and creates new opportunities for growth. When we incorporate diversity into our business, we create more inclusive and impactful innovations and outcomes for our clients.
In 2019, we sat down with Ingrid, a Quality Assurance (QA) Specialist from IBM’s consulting team, who self-identifies as being on the autistic spectrum. Ingrid spoke about a variety of topics, including her background, how she came to find IBM, and the experience she was having as a new IBMer at the time.
Now, four years later, we spoke with Ingrid again; this time to hear more about the progress she’s made at IBM, the kind of resources IBM has for people with diverse abilities, and any advice she would give potential candidates looking to become an IBMer.
1. It’s great to speak to you again, Ingrid! Can you share any new projects, opportunities, or milestones you’ve reached since we spoke with you last time?
“The fact that I’ve managed to be consistently employed at the same employer for five years is a big achievement for me, in and of itself. I’ve worked on several major projects since the last time we spoke. One of my more recent projects allowed me to return to the very first one I worked on at IBM, which was with the state of Florida. However, this time, I’m in a position to be more of a mentor to other QA specialists. I’ve been able to give demonstrations and tutorials on how various functionalities of the program and processes of the project work.
Just having the opportunity to be at IBM this long and show people the ropes when they are new has been a huge milestone for me to reach. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment to be able to help guide other people knowing I was in their exact situation just a few years ago.
Over these last few years, I’ve felt much more comfortable in the space of documentation and writing about technical innovations and processes. I’m the type of person who writes a lot just for fun, so it’s a great feeling to be more comfortable and find a place to showcase my talents more naturally.”
2. What kind of resources does IBM have for people with diverse abilities, along with their allies?
“IBM has several advocacy and allyship badges that IBMers can train for online and receive certifications. They don’t take too much time and offer a nice foundational learning opportunity for a variety of topics, allowing IBMers to learn more if they choose.
There’s also an internal Slack channel specifically for people with a diverse ability, where they can share their feelings and experiences on anything impacting their lives at home or in the workplace.
Recently, I’ve been conducting research on the relation between women and autism. I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot I didn’t know, and I’ve learned all sorts of facts that have not only been eye-opening, but have also helped me to better understand other neurodivergent peoples’ perspectives.”
3. Can you talk more about any passions and hobbies you have inside or outside of work?
“I’ve built up the courage over the past few years to engage in more public speaking opportunities. I’ve been active in many spaces inside and outside of IBM where I’m able to share my experiences with others. I’ve spoken at events that are not strictly confined to topics around neurodiversity. For one event, I had the opportunity to showcase my artistic skills, which is something I like to do in my spare time. Some people sang, others displayed their crafts, while I showed off a drawing gallery I had built up throughout my time at IBM.
Another hobby of mine that has helped me grow my interpersonal communication and public speaking skills is my participation in playing table talk games, like Dungeons and Dragons, with groups of people online. If you think about it, I’m basically presenting myself in character for hours at a time, which certainly helps my public speaking ability feel more natural to me.”
4. Is there any advice about applying to IBM that you would give potential candidates who may have a diverse ability?
“I would say to not let job descriptions intimidate or overwhelm you. Don’t feel you have a case of ‘imposter syndrome’ about whether or not you will fit in. There are plenty of people who apply to these jobs who don’t have all the qualifications the job description is asking for.
So, go ahead and borrow some of their confidence! Just keep in mind that the fact you’re anxious about doing well is the kind of mindset that will ultimately help you grow and find a place here. Just go for it and take the plunge!”
Consider IBM as the next step in your career journey
At IBM, we champion people with diverse abilities and the previously untapped potential they bring to the workplace.
We’re dedicated to hiring, supporting, educating, and embracing people of all abilities.
- To learn more about how IBM supports people with diverse abilities, visit our Be Equal portal.
- To see a list of recent job openings across the globe, browse our Careers Website.
- You can also join our Talent Network to receive updates on events and career opportunities.
Interested in learning more about Ingrid’s journey? Read her 2019 interview, where she tells us how she began her career at IBM as part of the IGNITE Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) program.