- Course: Information Technology (Industrial) BSc
- Nationality: British
- Company: IBM
What was the name of the company you worked for and what do they do?
I worked for IBM and was located at the headquarters in Portsmouth. IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation operating in 170 countries with over 430,000 employees. IBM’s focus is on using software and services to solve business problems. They are also implementing some exciting research using innovative technology; if you get a chance have a look at IBM Watson!
What was your role within the company?
My official (and very long) title was Technical Specialist, Web Solutions Team, Online Commerce, IBM Inside Sales. I worked in the technical team that created scalable, customisable and robust solutions to meet business needs and make purchasing from IBM easier through the digital channel.
Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?
My day would start by checking the task ID – a shared email inbox with the team that I was responsible for. This was the focal point for clients to contact the team regarding technical issues or access requests. I would action any items and keep checking it throughout the day as I worked on projects.
In terms of meetings I had a weekly technical team one, monthly sales team meeting, bi –weekly reviews with my team lead, monthly reviews with my manager, 2,4,6,9 and 12 month reviews with my personal development manager and regular requirements meetings for my tools...therewas a lot to keep me busy!
What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects?
I enjoyed the wide variety of work throughout the year. I performed testing and boarded clients onto our client facing tools and also had the opportunity to develop and implement my own tools which had a real impact on our business processes. This involved creating a Purchase Order Tracker that recorded sales information for the team and aided finding revenue at quarterly targets. I also coded and launched a tool that assessed the strength of a user’s LinkedIn profile and gave them a score when complete. This was to help the sales team improve their client facing profiles and so, generate more opportunities.
In addition to my role I also became involved in the Website Challenge project as a technical advisor. The purpose of this project was to try and engage young people in technology by launching a competition for ten local schools to create a website for a client. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it gave me the opportunity to do a variety of tasks including conducting technical workshops for other interns and participating students, make decisions regarding the whole project (I designed the logo and chose the prizes for the challenge, amongst other things), present to over 100 people, hold conference calls and much more.
Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?
I wanted to complete an industrial placement to gain experience of working in a technical business environment and assess whether this would be an appropriate career path for me. I also felt that it would give me an edge over other graduates when applying for jobs and provide material to discuss in future interviews.
What did you hope to get out of this experience?
I hoped to develop my technical and communication skills. Furthermore, I wanted to expand my network of contacts as they could be invaluable in the future.
Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?
I couldn’t recommend the experience highly enough! I had a fantastic year and I’ve learnt so many things that I wouldn’t have had the chance to at University. Additionally, I was able to apply to IBM’s graduate scheme internally before the vacancies opened. This resulted in me being fast tracked to the final stage of the process so a placement can definitely help your long term future!
In terms of tips I would say focus on applications for companies that you would love to work for. This will ensure that you have more time to spend on the applications you truly want and that passion will come across in your application. When you get on placement take every opportunity offered to you, you’re only there once so make the most of it!