Computer Science BSc student Charlee Boyle

Charlee Boyle

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I work for a company called IBM who have a key role in innovating information technologies and translating that into value for their clients through professional solutions and services. IBM is a trusted partner for thousands of enterprises on their journey to the cloud including banks, retailers, and airlines. IBM enables its clients' mission-critical systems to continue to drive the industry.

What is your role within the company?

I work as a Software Development Intern for the IBM product z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, which enables clients to create RESTful APIs for communication with IBM sub-systems hosted on IBM Z Mainframe, namely CICS, IMS, DB2. I am part of the local development team in Hursley, United Kingdom. The wider teams are based in Silicon Valley (USA) and Beijing (China).

The role includes assisting in the whole development cycle for the product: design, development, test and release. We encompass the Agile methodology, IBM DevOps, and IBM Design Thinking. This means iteratively developing quality software and continuously delivering it, whilst keeping our clients at the forefront.

Can you give me an insight into a typical day?

I try to start every workday by using the IBM Hursley gym, which energises me for the day. A typical day starts at 9 am where I spend some time planning my tasks for the day, and carrying on with previous work until the daily stand-up meeting at 9:45 am. The daily stand-up is a 15-minute meeting where each member of the team gets a chance to discuss what they have been working on the previous day, and if they need any help with their work. After the meeting, and until lunch I will generally be working through a ‘Story’, a small piece of work currently on the list of tasks to be complete.

Lunch gives me time to get some fresh air, take a walk, and play some Table-Tennis with other IBMers. The time after lunch usually includes a large block of time to carry on with the tasks from the morning. Meetings are common throughout the day, with the local or wider team, and some common agendas are: reviewing work from our design team, discussing how to approach a large piece of upcoming work, or video-calling with the wider team to give feedback on a significant piece of work.

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

I enjoy the constant learning that I experience every day while working in an agile team. I have had the opportunity to work on a mission-critical product used by many financial and investment organisations across the world. When communicating with IBM’s Informational Management System (IMS), one of their most trusted products for storing information and processing transactions, z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition can handle up to 21,000 transactions per second. Working on a product with such gravitas within the industry has taught me many things about developing critical software. I also have the chance of dedicating time to IBM internal projects, to better my development skills in different areas.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I saw an industrial placement as an opportunity to take time away from studying to utilise the skills that I had developed at Leeds University and gain hands-on experience in developing enterprise software. Working for IBM allowed me to widen my network in the industry, demonstrate my skills, and gain a better insight into future career paths.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during the year?

I have learned that putting yourself outside of the comfort zone is the best way to progress.

Has your experience given you a better idea of what you want to do for a career?

An industrial placement has given me an invaluable insight into the software industry and has helped shape a clearer picture in my mind of what direction I would like to take my career, and how to move towards it.