One year and one day at IBM

It has been one year and one day since I joined IBM. It took me a while to explain to my friends and to myself why I moved to IBM. I already had great places to go. Either go back to Microsoft (glorious days), move to Contino (amazing DevOps company by the way!) or experience something different in Amazon. But out of all the sexy places I could go I decided to join the 100+ years old company.

As most of you, I thought, that IBM was all about mainframes, infrastructure services, typewriters? and consultancy services. A place where dress code was legendary for being strict and formal, forcing everyone to dress in blue suits.

On my first week I found that all that was outerly false.

A normal day in the office

Well, blue was still trendy, but that was just a coincidence 🙂

I’m not going to do some standard propaganda about how much IBM has changed for good its direction to focus on Hybrid Cloud and AI, and what it does to change the World, but I’m going to tell about my experience during one year and why I really joined IBM.

1st) People

When I was at Microsoft I met really brilliant, skilled and energetic people, that marked my whole career, but the more I spent my time in there I realised that I was mostly surrounded by product selling, marketing and business people. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool, specially working with academia and entrepreneurs. But I couldn’t find that engineering excellency I was looking for. I knew there were some interesting technical people working in the product team, but you barely saw them or were able to contact them. The secretism and protectionism was the way of living around those people and their precious products.

So the first thing i did was to look into my new family, the IBMers.
I remember listening at one of the of the managers from the Hursley Park office and tried to figure out who he was and how much he knew about technology. – I don’t know your experience, but most of the managers I met at Microsoft or other companies used to spend most of their days between Excel Sheets and Powerpoint presentations- Suddenly he started speaking about tech, trends, inventions, product evolutions and some technical details that would make you sit down on your chair and listen.

I went to LinkedIn to find the guy to find out he has 2 PhDs, had worked in CERN, has 13 pattents and is a Distinguished Engineer.

And that was the norm. Every week I met another Disginguised Engineer or Master Inventor or IBM Fellow (god-level in IBM) or Technical Eminence or WW Development Lead, I even went out for lunch with a member of the IEEE!

No special treatment, no need to go up the ladder and find out your way in, all of them were there, working around, having a coffe with you, helping and mentoring you.

2nd) Training

I used to land in a job and start delivering the very next week (or day) at 100% without even some decent induction, training or guidance.

So far my colleagues and I had 2 full months of trainings, workshops, bootcamps and more.

As per today in 366 days I have achieved 501 hours of training and 15 badges

And I still have pending 2 certification exams scheduled by the end of the year on OpenShift.

Do you want learning subscriptions? What about a full learning portal federated with Udemy, EdX, Cognitive Class, IBM Coders, Academy of Technology, Linux Technology Center, O’Really books for free, Developer Academy, Leadership Academy, Professions Academy, RedHat learning subscriptions and even special learning courses for AWS and Azure. Is that enough for you?
All moderated with a great gamification journey where you will even beg to have 8 week’s days to get extra time to go through all of it!

Education and skills are everything inside the company, everything is driven by knowledge. This company really makes you THINK

3rd) Career progression

If you are a techie and you want to be in that path your whole career, you have a full development journey just for that. If you want to model it around management, or technical specialization, or executive levels, you have that too. There are career paths, professions, roles and families for absolutely every flavour. There is that much that sometimes you feel you don’t know where to go, which is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

4th) Fancy tech

Yes, you do have Mainframes, and Lotus Notes and DB2. But also you have cutting edge Quantum Computing, Edge Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence ( of all colours by the hand of Mr. Watson! ) , Scientific Research projects, Hybrid Cloud and more!

Then you start digging into pattents and inventions brought by IBM during the last 100+ years and it’s really jaw dropping. We are where we are mostly because what IBM has given to the world. And it keeps doing it.

Computing scale
IBM System/370 Mainframe
ITR Card Clocking-in Machine

5th) Opportunity to change the world

You start working on with team goals plus your personal goals, as most of the companies, but you have the flexibility and easiness to move sideways and contributing to other initiatives, projects and bringing your own ideas. You will always find someone that listen to those ideas and help you to develop them and make them successful.

You are not stuck in one place with one mission, the company is encouraging you to explore, think and create. You can easily find this mentality within the IBM Garage .

Everything is about learning, discovering, envisioning, developing, reasoning, operating and culture.

You have one idea, you share it with someone in your team, which shares it with someone else in other team, which spread the word to the top WW Director of that discipline which helps you to build something out of it and share it with the rest of the world. Sometimes, you just go to Slack and browse for some of the creators of a certain practice, method or technology and you get an instant and supporting response, as they are very open to talk to anyone in the company, no matters your band, expertise or experience.

Summarising, after 1 year, I thought things would be different, but 1 day after the aniversary, things are the same if not even more exciting. I would really recommend people to start or continue their careers in IBM, so THINK about that!

About Eduardo Ortega Bermejo

Technical Evangelist and good guy
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to One year and one day at IBM

  1. Wendy Toh says:

    Eduardo – you have been a joy to work with at IBM. It’s been a privilege to see you continuously grow your skills, your team leadership capabilities, your impact on the success at IBM Clients! Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences!

  2. Klaudia Patrycja Filip says:

    Thank you for sharing these! I am an IBMer and totally agree! Each day at IBM is great because of people, technology, possibility of developing and as stated you are able to THINK! Good luck!

  3. guyho says:

    Nice story Eduardo. I’m delighted to read your positive experiences at IBM. It reminds me of my own. I worked for 17 years at IBM, forming deep friendships (one of which I suspect may be the person to which you refer in item #1), learning how to think abstractly as well as how to debate ideas without disparaging anyone (pummel the idea to make it better, not the person offering the idea). Continue to enjoy and foster numerous relationships in your IBM journey. Best!

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