The customers of IBM are not all conveniently located near Groningen. For some of us this means we can’t work at our own office every day. We travel so we can work at the client’s location. Some colleagues work at a client’s location for a few months, some for a year and some for possibly even longer. Mostly the goal is to get acquainted with the project and after a while work for the project at our own office in Groningen. This is also the case for my colleague Vincent and me.
Vincent and I started at Shell in Rijswijk a little over a month ago. Since then we’ve been working for four days a week in Rijswijk and for one day in Groningen. To be able to work in Rijswijk we stay at a hotel for three nights a week. It feels a bit like an adventure; the change of scenery makes for an interesting time. The company is impressive, the project interesting and challenging, the new colleagues are inspiring and the hotels are nice, but still, it’s not home…
I always thought after graduating, I’d move to the Randstad. It seemed more obvious because of the market; there are suppose to be more jobs over there.
And then the ISC in Groningen happened. Which, for me, means I can practically roll out of bed to get to work. Groningen in comparison to f.e. the Randstad has, in my perspective, some advantages:
Save time on travelling;
Since the office is located in the center of Groningen (also known as Grunn for the unfamiliars amongst us), you have no excuse of coming in far too late. If you live in the city it’s easy to get to the office by bike since Grunn has a great network of cycling paths. If you don’t live in the capital, but for example in Assen or Leeuwarden, you end up in traffic for at max. 20 minutes. While in the Randstad or other big cities you can count on being stuck for at least 1,5 hour while other colleagues in that same time had dinner, did their weekly running, showered and even chilled down on the couch. Talk about saving time…
Everything you need in a ten minute walk from the office;
Secondly, the IBM Service Center (ISC) Groningen is centrally located: in the heart of Groningen. Of course the majority of my colleagues come by bike and the ISC has a garage to safely park your bike. Very important since the amount of stolen bikes in 2012 is 450.000). But you don’t need a bike to get around. You can take a walk in your lunch break for some freshly traffic air and in the meantime grab a sandwich at Subway and end up with a take a way coffee from the coffee company (all that in half an hour and in walking distance!)
In general: It’s cheaper;
And last but of course not least, in general it is cheaper to rent or buy a house in Groningen. So as a graduate, after your life as a student, you don’t have to endlessly save up to move out of your student room. But if you wanna stay there forever, you can at least make your roommates jealous by going out for dinner every night. Since it’s a student city, Groningen has a lot of student discounts (and a lot to do in the evenings) or else you could save up stamps for a free sandwich when showing your IBM card.
Hi, my name is Zahierra and through this blog I would like to tell you about my Groningen Experience at the ISC. Originally I am from Suriname and I have been living in the Netherlands for about 1.5 years now. Back in Suriname I studied Electrical Engineering at the Anton the Kom University. Hereafter I came to the Netherlands to follow the Master programme Information Science at the University of Groningen. I graduated in August and almost immediately after that, I started working for the ISC. I work for the ISC as a Software Tester for almost three months now.
During these three months, we received all sorts of training, varying from personal development training to technical training. The past couple of weeks ISC Team 2, which I am part of, has been studying for the TMAP Next Test Engineer Exam. By passing this exam we gained a certification which is acknowledged by companies in The Netherlands and Belgium. During our time studying it was really wonderful to see all of our team members working together to make sure that everyone understands the different testing techniques. We were also sitting in groups and making practice exams together. Studying for this exam really enriched the campus vibe, as it was especially nice to see everyone helping each other, like I remembered it from the University!
Usually we spend most of our time receiving training and working on projects at the ISC with colleagues from our own team. Currently we are with four teams. To get to know each other better, we planned a team outing for today. First we will have dinner together followed by a pub quiz. It is going to be a fun evening!
This is about the start of my fabulous journey with ISC (IBM Services Center)-Groningen. Even my interviewer asked me, “How did a girl from India land here in Groningen?”. But this blog is more about my experiences with all my colleagues.
This is my first job in the Netherlands and I was quite apprehensive about it on my first day. But as soon as I stepped into the ISC-office, all my worries were gone. The environment was so fresh and filled with so much energy. Completely unlike a typical corporate setup, probably because of all the young graduates (which is 90% of my batch) or because of the start-up culture that ISC has. It was a pleasure meeting such lovely people and also the leaders. I was pleasantly surprised to see some people who have been working with IBM for more than 20 years and are still so down to earth and reachable. The spirit is amazing – people take up all kinds of responsibilities to make it a comfortable working environment for the others.
After I started to work at the ISC, I have had an experience of a lifetime meeting people from so many different cultures and disciplines. All of them had one thing in common – a strong sense of belonging, motivation, and willingness to go beyond the call of duty.
I believe, this is the case with every IBM company. It is a multinational company and you get to meet people from all over the world. For instance, the very first week of my training I was glad to meet a trainer from France, a trainer from India and a trainer from, of course, the Netherlands.Right now I am working on a project in Amsterdam, but I certainly miss my colleagues and the pepped up environment back in Groningen. Nonetheless, I enjoy the work that I do and also I love getting a lot of knowledge exposure that helps me to contribute my fair share towards making a smarter planet.
Kudos to all the awesome people who are working to make the ISC-Groningen Experience memorable.
As some of you might have guessed from our first blog post and introductory picture, I don’t really look Dutch. Well, for those who thought about it, you were right. I am not! I am Peruvian. I have been raised and lived most of my life in Peru. There I grew up inside one of the biggest multinational companies. Yes, I grew up in it, in a factory! My father had a job there, by which we could live in inside the company ground. This meant that I got to see a lot of the company’s processes and barriers.
Later on in my professional life I got to work in quite some large companies. I am not going to brag and say that I had lots of working experience, because I don’t, but I did had a nice share of jobs. I think one of the most shocking things I got to see in almost every place where I worked is that communication is still a big issue. Either in large companies where it has to go through several phases, as well as in small companies where much is simply assumed instead of spoken. Hence, I sort of expected the same at IBM. Surprisingly, I was wrong.
I started working at IBM six weeks ago. Since my start there I have had to follow several courses online, via the telephone and behind a real class teacher. If anything, IBM has taken a lot of effort in trying to teach my colleagues and me the basics of this company’s practices. Several of the trainers we have had come from different IBM offices around the world. Nonetheless, they all seem to have the same knowledge about the best practices of IBM.
The degree of consistency within IBM is truly amazing. IBM has offices all around the world, operating within different cultures. Nonetheless, this does not seem to pose an issue. In fact, the intercultural diversity and shared consistency seems to be IBM’s greatest secret. Hence, adapting to their organizational culture is becoming a rather easy process for me. Surely, we need to follow much training to be able to learn these shared practices. However this truly pays off. By judging the information gained from other colleagues around the globe and from the experiences I had so far, I can proudly say that IBM has mastered the art of consistency.
After one month at the IBM Services Center I learned a lot. Not only have I learned a lot more about Java, but also about how IBM is operating. It’s really inspiring to meet all these people who already work at IBM for more than 30 years. They are at the core of all innovating applications we all love to have, like software on our phone or laptop.
At the moment around 7 million people work in the information and communication (ICT) sector, of which thirty percent are women. It’s really funny how people react when they hear I’m a Java developer. “But you don’t look like one!?” Well tell me, what does a developer look like? Women have played a key role in some of the most important innovations in IBM’s history. So for me, it’s a real honor to be a part of this company. If you want to know more about these IBM women, take a look at this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWxRowQjuf4&feature=youtu.be
I studied for four years to become a graphic/web designer. During my study I worked in fashion and retail outlets, restaurants and bars. I had so much fun working there but it’s great to finally THINK again.
Have a good weekend!
Some favorite quotes from my (female) colleagues:
“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” – Marilyn Monroe
“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder
Please have a look at this inspiring video, 100 years of IBM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39jtNUGgmd4
I am part of ISC group 3. Our group started just over three weeks ago. In these three weeks we have been dazzled with all new experiences.
In the first week we had our PDE (Professional Development Enablement) training from an IBM-colleague from India who became a real member of our group. The training was more fun than expected and helped me a lot to remember my teammates names.
After this we started our technical training. This was also a complete new experience for us. We got a virtual training from a trainer in India. Although we struggled a bit with the communication at first it was quite interactive later on.
Last week we started a different training. This one will take about three weeks and is more practical than the past ones. Beside this we’ve got more tasks to do for the ISC Groningen so we stay busy!
Personally I´m happy to see that the atmosphere is so light, open and spontaneous between the employees at the ISC. Last Friday one of our colleagues even gave us a mini concert on his trombone! You can watch the concert below!
In short I see the ISC Groningen as a world of opportunities and I keep learning every day!
After a month of extensive training and informative meetings, the real work is yet about to begin… Currently we are working on a number of projects, ranging from getting the right certifications, to executing assignments for one of our group’s clients.
At the moment, the entire group 2 of the ISC is preparing for the Tmap exam. Tmap is a certificate for testers, which is widely used in The Netherlands and highly valued by Dutch companies. In order to be able to work for those clients, we need to get this certificate – or in other words, pass the exam. As most of us have only recently graduated, this is not a new phenomenon. And with a lot of self-study we should be ready to take the exam.
Friday I went to my first client, one of the nation’s leading financial institutions, to talk about an assignment over there. It is really exciting to actually go to a client and talk about the possibilities of working on one of their projects. I was lucky to get assigned to this really challenging and interesting assignment. I’m not allowed to provide you with any more information, but believe me when I say that this is a huge opportunity.
As you have seen and read in the latest update, when Josje started as one of the first 16 employees, the IBM Service Center was quite empty. Now, 3 months (and 2 groups and some plastic sheeps) later, not only the number of employees has grown, the IBM Service Center finally looks like a real office. Working around a cosy fireplace and lunching like you’re in the middle of nature gives us just that little bit of extra inspiration to make this office the perfect working place for Groningers.
Here are the first pictures, followed by more in the upcoming week!
When I started at the IBM Services Center I was asked to maintain a blog about my experiences as an IBMer. After my first week I did write the first story for the blog, but was unable to post it yet. I didn’t want you to miss out on my first impressions, so here is my story:
The Groningen Experience
At the first of August I was one of the 16 new IBMers who joined the Groningen Experience at the IBM Services Center in Groningen. We are the first employees of the first Services Center in Europe. We’ve heard this so many times we almost start to feel special
The IBM Services Center is located in the center of the city with a view of the Martini tower. This is very important for a Groningen Experience, because every resident of Groningen wants to be able to see the Martini tower. If they can’t see it from their home, they put a picture in their home, just to be able to see it.
From the moment we enter our new working environment, it is clear the Services Center is still in the starting phase: there are colors on the walls that definitely do not fit the image of IBM and we see concrete floors with some remains of old carpet. To enter a starting business is exciting. There is a lot to explore, quite some uncertainties and of course a bit of chaos. During the next weeks we will see this place evolve into the workplace where we will create our Groningen Experience.