Lori French: Digital and Technology Degree Apprentice

Lori French: Digital and Technology Degree Apprentice

Current Job Role: Software Engineer in the Client Engineering Team

What made you decide to come to IBM as a school leaver?

I applied to IBM because of its history of innovation. It has obtained more patents than any other company for the past 28 consecutive years. I wanted to work with cutting edge technology, developing cognitive software, and so thought IBM would be the best place.

I knew an apprenticeship was right for me as I wanted to continue my academic studies while also gaining invaluable work experience – getting the best experiences from both work and education. They are fantastic opportunities that challenge you not only professionally, but academically. By the end of my scheme, I will have five years IT consultancy experience at a Global Technology firm, as well as a Software Engineering degree from a UK Russell Group University, helping to differentiate my CV from other graduates.

What hints or tips would you pass to those who are interested in applying to IBM as a school leaver?

My advice for people interested in applying to the IBM apprenticeship would be to just go for it! The recruitment process can take up to a year, which gives you time to consider your options as IBM assess your suitability for the scheme. Personally, joining the IBM apprenticeship scheme was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I can’t recommend it enough!

When it comes to advice for the recruitment process, I’d recommend trying to differentiate yourself from other applicants. A great way to do this is through considering why you want to join IBM – what projects have they done that interest you? If you can demonstrate a real excitement for the company, and the solutions they build, it will reflect very well in interviews. This can even influence the later projects that you are assigned to! For example, due to my enthusiasm for Watson, I was chosen to be placed on a Cognitive projectfor my first role!

What’s the best thing about your current role?

The best thing about being a Software Engineer is I get to create new things every day, that challenge and excite me. No two days are ever the same and I love the variety and endless challenges that IBM provides. For example, I am currently building a Machine Learning Natural Language Classifier from scratch. Getting the opportunity to create this, shaping it to fit the client’s needs to deliver industry value is a very rewarding experience that makes me excited to go to work each day.

What support was available to you when starting at IBM?

Joining as an IBM apprentice, you get a Foundation Manager who supports you throughout your apprenticeship. This is invaluable as it allows you to raise any personal or professional concerns with someone who sits outside of your project team, who puts you and your apprenticeship first and is always there to fight your corner. Even after four years, I am still using this support network regularly and it made the transition from School to Work far easier -they offer immense value to apprentices throughout their programs.

What’s the best thing about being at IBM?

As I mentioned previously, I am very passionate about IBM’s inventing culture. IBMers work on exciting, cutting-edge technology that changes the world. It makes the work we do very exciting, the culture we live in agile and dynamic, and pushes us to think outside of the box and challenge ourselves. In fact, I got my own first patent recently which I am incredibly proud of, as well as have had the privilege to work at Wimbledon and had my Chatbots showcased at THINK in San Francisco – all thanks to this innovative culture which makes working IBM such an interesting place to work!

Find a Scheme with IBM

Be the first to get notified about new jobs from 1000's of employers - register today!