IBM Apprenticeships: Requirements and Application

About IBM

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational information technology company that produces and sells computer hardware, middleware and software, and provides hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. IBM is also a major research organisation. The company is headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA, and has operations in over 170 countries around the world. Its inventions include the automated teller machine (ATM), the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the SQL programming language, the UPC barcode, and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM).

IBM started off by Charles Ranlett Flint as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) in 1911. It was then renamed as International Business Machines in 1924. The core of the IBM Company was an amalgamation of four technologies: the computer scale patented by Julius E. Pitrap (1885), the dial recorder invented by Alexander Dey (1888), the electric tabulating machine patented by Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) and the time clock invented by Willard Bundy (1889) to record a worker’s arrival and departure time on a paper tape. During the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) era, the company was based in Endicott, New York. It had approximately 1,300 employees and offices and was planted in Endicott and Birmingham (New York), Dayton (Ohio), Detroit (Michigan), Washington D.C. and Toronto. They manufactured machinery for sale and lease, ranging from commercial scales and industrial time recorders, meat and cheese slicers, to tabulators and punched cards.

Nicknamed as Big Blue (due to its blue logo and colour scheme), IBM has continually shifted business operations since its first appearance by focusing on higher-value, more profitable markets. This includes spinning-off printer manufacturer Lexmark in 1991 and the sale of personal computer (ThinkPad / ThinkCentre) and x86-based server businesses to Lenovo (in 2005 and 2014, respectively), and acquiring companies such as PwC Consulting (2002), SPSS (2009), The Weather Company (2016), and Red Hat (2018). IBM is one of 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of the world’s largest employers, with over 380,000 employees (2017) which are known as the “IBM-ers”. These employees have been awarded five Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, ten National Medals of Technology (USA) and five National Medals of Science (USA).

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IBM has a large and diverse portfolio of products and services which fall into the categories of cloud computing, cognitive computing, commerce, data and analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), IT infrastructure, mobile, and security. Research has also been a part of IBM since its founding. The IBM Research constitutes the largest industrial research organisation in the world, with 12 labs on 6 continents. It is headquartered at the Thomas J. Watson Research Centre in New York, and its facilities include the Almaden lab in California (USA), Austin lab in Texas (USA), Australia lab in Melbourne (Australia), Brazil lab in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (South America), China lab in Beijing and Shanghai (China), Ireland lab in Dublin (Ireland), Haifa lab in Israel, India lab in Delhi and Bangalore (India), Tokyo lab (Japan), Zurich lab (Switzerland) and Africa lab in Nairobi (Kenya).

IBM has one of the largest workforces in the world. The company was among the first corporations to provide group life insurance (1934), survivor benefits (1935), training for women (1935), paid vacations (1937), and training for disabled people (1942). IBM has several leadership development and recognition programmes to recognise employee potential and achievements. For early-career high potential employees, the company sponsors leadership development programmes by discipline, including the General Management Leadership Development Programme (GMLDP), the Human Resources Leadership Development Programme (HRLDP), and the Finance Leadership Development Programme (FLDP). Each year, IBM also selects 500 IBM-ers for the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC), which has been described as the corporate equivalent of the Pearce Corps and gives top employees a month to do humanitarian work abroad. The IBM Company also provides internship programmes called Extreme Blue which aims to partner top business and technical students to develop high-value technology and compete to present their business case to the company’s CEO at the end of the internship.

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Specifically, the IBM Southern and Central Africa strives to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics. The worldwide network of IBM solutions and services professionals translates these advanced technologies into business value for the customers. At IBM, work is more than a job – it is believed to be a calling: to build, to design, to code, to consult, to think along with the clients and sell, to make markets, to invent, and to collaborate – not just to do something better, but to attempt things people have never thought possible, also to lead in the new era of technology and solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.

IBM Apprenticeship Programmes

The apprenticeship programmes at IBM are all about picking up skills for the workplace and embarking on a long and successful career. The apprenticeship lasts for approximately 12 months and is a full-time programme. It is an official registered apprenticeship recognized by the Department of Labour (DOL). Every graduate of a registered apprenticeship programme receives a nationally-recognized credential from the DOL.

The apprenticeships at IBM range from Level 3 to Level 6 and each pathway gives the apprentices everything they need to start their careers in the industry. During the programme, they will be required to complete specific learning hours and on-the-job training that has been outlined to ensure that they are developing the skills and competencies essential to the role. They will be able to learn and grow at their own pace, but are expected to complete their learning within 12 months. Apprentices that successfully complete the apprenticeship programme they were enrolled in will be eligible to apply for available full-time roles at IBM.

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Requirements to Apply for the IBM Apprenticeships

To be enrolled in an IBM apprenticeship programme, candidates must firstly meet the following requirements.

  • High school diploma / GED
  • Have experience with coding or development
  • Have strong problem solving and communication skills
  • Able to work independently and take initiative, as well as work collaboratively and contribute to an agile team environment
  • Familiar with one or more of the following.
  • Java, JavaScript, PHP, C#, Objective-C, C/C++, Python, Ruby and/or functional languages (Haskell, Scala, F#, Clojure)
  • Design thinking
  • Hypothesis driven development
  • Social coding
  • Agile principles
  • Container development using tools, such as Docker or Vagrant
  • Application Development, DevOps automation, and the development tool-chain (e.g. Travis, Jenkins, Junit, automated test tools)

 How to Apply for the IBM Apprenticeships

Candidates that have ensured they meet the requirements to apply for the IBM apprenticeships may start their application by browsing the position they desire on