Working as a Degree Apprentice at IBM, I have the best of both worlds
by Amy Magistris
I had always found the technology industry to be a daunting thing. It’s so vast and complex, and I didn’t think I’d have the right frame of mind to enter a business that is so cutting edge; that was me two years ago, at least.
Two short years ago, I was in my final year studying A-Levels (Computing, Design Technology and Physics), with absolutely no idea what direction my life could take, other than I wanted to do something to do with technology (not much to go on given the scale of the industry). There are far too many options available for a student who doesn’t know exactly what they want, and you can’t apply for a university if you have no clue which university or course you want to take.
Enter IBM. I became aware through family that the global technology and business giant has schemes in place for people like myself. I applied for their Gap Year scheme, where you work and earn for a year while experiencing the technology industry first hand and being exposed to incredible technologies on the way.
My first year with the company allowed me to discover that I wanted to work. Being an IBMer created amazing opportunities for me – being involved in a project to create a newspaper app for a top UK university, meeting with the General Manager of IBM UK and, most importantly (Sorry David), the Degree Apprenticeship.
When I mentioned to my manager that I was interested in applying for another of IBM’s schemes, the Apprenticeship, and continuing my career here, she informed me of a new program in the works. After months of developing the scheme and the dedicated work of IBM and Queen Mary University alike, the DA was born (I was selected for it)!
I’m one of 4 IBMers (and one Apprentice from GSK), to be completing a three-year apprenticeship, and a four-year BSc Digital and Technology Solutions degree simultaneously. The DA consists of four years sponsored at QMUL (no debt!), studying both business and technology based modules, as well as working and earning at IBM (three years as an ‘Apprentice’, then officially a regular employee – so I have job security).
I am currently working in the IBM Cloud sector, which is incredible as it is one of IBM’s core initiatives (CAMSS – Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security). I’m being exposed to innovative and business-changing technology every day, and I get to utilise and understand them too!
Joining IBM was the best career decision I could have made. I would encourage anyone still in school, or people who have recently left to apply for the IBM Degree Apprenticeship ASAP (or the Apprenticeship if university isn’t for you)! I have the balance of university learning and student life, as well as putting my knowledge in practice and becoming a respected professional. In the words of the greatest poet of a generation – “I’ve got the best of both worlds”.