While writing this blog I’m on my first project. My role in this project is Windows Application Support Engineer. In the previous blogposts you´ve already read a lot of first experiences from colleagues on their projects, but for everyone it’s a different experience, so here is mine!
After a certain amount of waiting time and training I finally got an interview for a project. I had my interview in the old granny’s room (see Marielas last blogpost for a picture!) at the ISC in Groningen and I have to admit I was a little bit nervous. After this meeting there was nothing left for me to do then wait. A week after the interview I was told I was hired for the project and I could start right away. So ten minutes after I heard I was on the project, I was in my first project meeting.
In the weeks following the interview I had to learn the basics of the role and I had to read a lot of documentation. During the first period I will work with a senior, and later on a colleague and I will have to perform the tasks on our own. Next to taking in all this new information, the actual work started right away. I had to deal with incoming incidents, requests for changes and all other things that come around when you are working on a project. I had to learn a lot of names of new people I have to work with on the project. Fortunately I already knew the colleagues from the ISC so there were a few names less to learn.
I love the fact that this current role involves a lot of communication with people and not just sitting behind the desk. Although my work location is the office of the IBM Services Center Groningen, I do have to travel to the client site. This provides some diversity in my working days and keeps it fun.
Overall I can say that I still believe I made a good decision to go work for the ISC Groningen. I enjoy myself doing my work and I have a good time with my colleagues.
Globalisation is a large topic in today’s world, but also closer to home (if that expression is even appropriate in this context) I get to experience a lot of the consequences (in a not-negative way) of working in a world that is increasingly connected.
As I have studied International Business and Management, I can finally take all the theories about globalisation to work. And where the Hofstede studies were actually discarded in university for a.o. having a too small and too narrow sample of interviewees (the study was conducted on IBM employees only), it is utmost appropriate when you actually work for IBM.
My team consists of 10 Indian colleagues who work offsite in Bangalore, two colleagues from The Netherlands, and one Belgium PM (who is actually Chinese – to make things even more confusing). And within all this, the PM and I try to organise the team, make sure that things are done the way they should be done and finished when they should be finished.
Which can be a challenge, and not only language-wise. Cultural backgrounds lead to different interpretations (“yes” not always being an actual “yes”), challenges to be faced like being a woman in a male organisation, running the risk of planning meetings at ungodly hours due to different time-zones, et cetera. Thankfully, we’re actually doing quite well. And as we’re trying to ramp up efficiency of the team, we also get better at coping with these differences.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m off… skiing! Even though I really like my job, one needs a break from time to time.
On the 21st of January, we heard the good news. The ISC and the ministry of Economic Affairs and Agriculture signed a contract for the transition of the maintenance of (around 400!) applications of the Ministry for the next 4 years. One of the demands for obtaining this project was that we had to build both a develop and test environment of our own, similar to the infrastructure the ministry is using. This was the successful closure of the “Proof of Delivery” the ISC had to go through: it cost half a year of hard work in which we had to build up this environment.
Of course there were some challenges with obtaining this project, like getting an IBM-Alpha machine, complete with a Fortran compiler. But we were able to find it and get it up and running. Also we had to study and do the administration of all the software we were going to maintain at the same time. We had to find out who we have to call if there are problems with the software and we had to gather all the resources. And, of course, we needed to determine the set up of the final project team.
In the meantime, we had to prove we could maintain the given number of applications. Therefore a lot of managing was needed to guide us into the right direction for solving all the issues that arose during this process. It took our Transition Manager quite some effort to guide us into this direction but the result was successful. Of course there were many ups and downs (as in every project), but in the end we succeeded.
I joined the project team on the 1st of October, and I can say I am proud of what the project members made possible. It is very clear that we are a team of experts who can get the job done.
A very good job to all the team members!!
Already six months have passed since I was one of the first 16 people to start working at the ISC. Last Friday 13 of this group signed their new contract, three found another opportunity elsewhere.
I´m still working in Rijswijk at Shell P&T. This week was actually a very interesting week, because our project team moved to another building. The working area where we used to work was a temporary place for our project team. It consisted mainly of a very large room with a lot of desks. Only the amount of people assigned to the working area was larger than the amount of desks… The new working area is perfect. It´s a very large area, with a lot of compartments, smaller rooms, meeting rooms and rooms specially designed for conference calls. At this moment we stay in a hotel with a very nice stairwell and in the meantime we´ve been getting to know the The Hague pretty well. We go swimming every week, we´ve discovered a lot of nice restaurants, we found a pub we really like to go to just because we can say the name often and next week we go bowling
The Huppel the pub!
Until this moment every week one of the female employees of the ISC share their experiences through this blog, but it can be a challenge to find enough time and inspiration to write a blog every eight weeks. Therefore we´ve been recruiting for the blogging team and we succeeded! Nine of our male colleagues joined us! Starting next week every other week one of these male colleagues will share their experiences with you. Peter will be the first one and he is working on his blog very enthusiastically . I am very much looking forward to his story!
The stairwell of our hotel!
About four months ago I joined ISC-Groningen and all I can say is: its been a roller coaster ride. New to IBM, new to a project, and to top it up, learn a new technology. An overdose of learning, I can say
After joining the ISC I got a project in Amsterdam. I live in Amsterdam so it was quite a relief not having the hassle of commute. Though sometimes I am required to go to their main office (the brewery) in Zoeterwoude (close to Leiden). I enjoy working for this project. I have a mixed role, a lot of client interaction and a sample amount of technical work. It gives me a chance to hone my client dealing skills as well as to learn new technologies. The environment is great – open, very multicultural (name a country and an eyebrow will be raised in some corner) and my colleagues are nice and helpful.
Altogether a great experience with a positive and energetic work culture that encourages me to strive for more knowledge and to go the extra mile to produce good results.
Last October I started working at the IBM Services Center Groningen. I was hired to become a Java-programmer. This is something I wasn’t really experienced in, hence I was really scared at the beginning.
As the first month passed by, while we got a super hardcore training from a very interesting French man, things started looking up. I began getting a bit of self-confidence in my position here and within the IT field. Nonetheless, learning the walk doesn’t mean doing the walk.
After a few months of trying to grow into a great developer, there are still areas which I feel rather hesitant about. Nonetheless, I hold my head high and try to make the best of the great opportunity I have gotten here.
Naturally, the purpose of my training and hard learning is to be able to perform successfully in a client’s project, finding suitable IT solutions. This, which I’m starting to learn, might be the most difficult part.
Yesterday I had my very first interview with a client. I went very enthusiastic in there, determined to show them that I am here based on my dedication and hard work. Going to a client’s interview feels a bit like starting all over again. I was a bit nervous and concerned of what I was going to say and how I would answer their questions. It felt like applying for an entire new vacancy, which can be really scary. Sadly, my interview was not the best one. By having little experience as I do, it felt very difficult to try to show the client what I have learned in the past months. Nonetheless, I will be waiting to hear from them while keeping my fingers crossed.
Where the interview took place
While trying to prepare for my interview, I talked with my colleagues who are already placed on different projects. Hearing their experiences made me realize how on the one hand we are IBMers and on the other hand we also have to adapt to the own culture and practices of the clients’ companies. This seems to be a real positive challenge for most of these colleagues. They really seem to enjoy the possibility of getting to work in all kind of fields while still working for IBM. This is the kind of experience and challenge that I am at the moment looking towards to, being a multi-corporation-employee.
To hear about whether I got the project and what my new start will be like, stay tuned…
Hi, it´s been a while since my first (and last till now) blog post. Since then a lot has happened in the ISC. Some of us, like Josje and Nynke, are already assigned to projects and working at the clients location, some are working on a project at the ISC and some of us are still to be assigned.
Together with Bas, Pascal and Raajbir, I have just been assigned as a Functional Tester at a SAP upgrade project! For this project we have to work at the clients location in Amersfoort for four days a week. In anticipation of this project, Nynke and I have been doing some research for the IBM Financial Services Sector.
In short, life at the ISC continues and we make sure to take good care of our two sheep
Starting from the 1st of October, I’m working for the ISC while I also (mainly in the evening and weekends) have been working on my thesis for the study Communication systems (No! I don’t build phones) at the Hanzehogeschool. My major subject was Multimedia Design & Branding and I will tell you why. My sister and I painted our driveway with graffiti when we were only 8 years old. The walls of my room were full with paintings, and I painted my new (originally black) bike in every color of the rainbow after just one day.
Later, at the age of 15, I started to work part-time as a graphic/web designer, and at 19, I started a modelling agency. What you can learn from this story is that I never exactly knew what I wanted but it is very important for me to express my creativity.
Recently I created the first issue of the ISC staff magazine and of course I want to share this with you all. So hereby you can download (my 4 favorite) pages of the magazine and for the first time you can read something about one of our male colleagues! Thom shares an article about Australia. After all.. It’s freaking cold, wet or both at the same time over here. Because of the international diversity within the ISC, in every issue a colleague will write about their country. Albert is writing about suggestions regarding restaurants in our beautiful Grunn (that’s Groningen, in the Groningen dialect) and Mariela and Robert share their favorite budget recipes, cause we all know that the one thing which isn’t fat after December is our wallet.
Have an awesome new year!
Download here pages 10 till 13 of the first ISC magazine!
Evelyn hasn’t gotten a proper introduction yet, since her latest blogpost concerned the advantages of working in Groningen. For the interested souls amongst our readers: Evelyn has a background in Communication & Information Science and works at the IBM Services Center (ISC) since October 2013 as a developer.
The ISC intention: growth
As you might have read in the newspapers, I can say that the ISC kinda got an intention for 2014: GROWTH. The ISC will eventually have to yield 350 jobs within three years. And after the opening of the Services Center, it grew bit by bit. We are all hired in groups, from the hiring day to the first weeks at the ISC: you are never alone (except for the latest group… This guy came in alone, but he is still called group five ). With new groups that consist of around 20 people each, the Center is coming closer to 350 employees. In the beginning of 2014 two people have joined our Center already and two more groups will join us soon, so the Services Center will hold it’s first 100 ISCers!
We need a new floor!
A hard growing Center means a new floor. At the moment of writing, people are working really hard to get the second floor done. Rumours say the new floor will be themed in a contrary theme to the floor we are all working in today. With a rustique theme, that evolved through with mountains painted walls, an easeful fire place and a real granny room (for the knitters amongst us), it shouldn’t be too hard to concentrate, right? I wonder though, if people will work harder on the second floor, since the contrary theme
Embracing the growth
One of the things I like about working as one of the first 40 people in a company is being part of a group and seeing the building grow from work in progress to what it has become today. We’ve seen people coming, stuff coming (like the lightened logo at the building) and we are involved in new things to come like an evening academy and other possibilities to grow you skills.
If you’re the type that doesn’t easily blend into a company, this might be the job for you (of course you need to have a big passion for/some experience in IT as well). You rotate within smaller groups to do f.e. Java exercises (or pubquizes), eat lunch together, go to Friday afternoon drinks together and of course share the same Groningen experience: after all, most of us just left University and this is our first serious job. After a while you also get to know the people from other groups during coffee breaks and so on. And if not, you definitely got the chance at our cosy Christmas party 2 weeks ago: with the help of beer and the snacks everybody brought in.
Of course there’s also a job to do and people are working hard on their projects, despite the rustique theme. If you’re curious about the ISC, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and/or apply now via the ISC website.
As mentioned in my previous blogpost, I have been assigned to a project for one of the largest financial institutions in the Netherlands.
Just like Josje, I am working on the client’s site. Which basically means that I am staying in a hotel for most of the week. This just shows another dimension of how much variance is offered when you work at the ISC in Groningen. There are assignments for clients for which you can take your work with you to Groningen and do your job in the office over there, whereas there are also assignments which require one -or more- overnight stays in a different part of The Netherlands. For me, this is the ideal combination of working hard and learning a lot in Utrecht, and working independently (and equally hard), and enjoying the ‘young graduate-life’ in Groningen.
My part in the team is Project Management Support, and I will be educated to become a Project Manager in due time. Working as a Junior on a job like this is quite an opportunity for me, and one that is relating far more to my studies than the job for which I was originally hired, i.e. becoming a software tester. This shows, once again, that you do not have to be a ‘techie’ in order to be able to work at IBM.
So far, the project is challenging and going well. The first deliverables have been sent out to the client this week, and I am very happy to let you know that my role on this project has been extended for another year. So, the story continues..