My plans for 2021 as a Tech Industry Gold Degree Apprentice

Name:  Howard Jackson
University:  Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
Degree Title:  Digital & Technology Solutions (BSc)
Employer:  IBM
Job Title: Senior Consultant

Firstly – how are you and how have you been managing during the pandemic? 

My family and I are all safe and well thankfully. I enjoyed a nice Christmas break which was well needed. The year 2020 was a change for us all. On a personal note, one of the things I love most is taking my holidays and going to see new places and learn about their cultures, not being able to do this meant that Christmas was the first extended break I have had for most of the year (by choice).

I have been managing well, I have definitely benefitted from the additional flexibility of working from home. For me, it’s about working smart to get my deliverables done, and then making sure I am getting down time to relax in evenings. 

What was the best experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the best experience of my Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship is the IBM Garage Bootcamp I took part in last year. This was a new experience for me where we work with an IBM client over three days and co-create a solution to a problem. It was great to immerse myself and learn so much from this experience.

What was the most challenging experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?

Getting the balance of work and university studies has at times been difficult. I always want to do good work and have sometimes given too much attention to my clients work, at the loss of my uni studies. There have also been times where I have had setbacks, both in my uni studies and my work.  I am quite a strong, resilient character and so I have found ways to learn and grow from these experiences. 

What would you say now, to yourself, before you enrolled in your degree apprenticeship? 

Go for it! Be focussed. Know what you want to achieve. Don’t settle for less. 

What would you say to anyone considering a Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship? 

In my opinion, it is the complete package for starting work or furthering your career in the tech industry. Getting the skills from the Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship have made me a much more rounded consultant. The experience has also broadened my network which will be useful throughout my career moving forward. 

What is your current role? 

I am a Project Manager, leading an operational resilience project for a UK bank. I am also a member of the solutions team for Cloud Migration and Modernisation.

What are your career plans? 

I have some short term goals for 2021. Firstly, I would like to finish my degree and hopefully graduate with a First Class Honours. Secondly, I would like to submit my status to be recognised as a Chartered Management Consultant.  Thirdly, I am looking to continue my certification in Cloud. My next goal is to get accredited in Microsoft Azure public cloud. Fourthly, my promotion to Managing Consultant. It should be a busy year ahead.

Who inspires you?

I take inspiration from a variety of sources, obviously from my mum and dad for instilling in me good values to want to be the best version of myself I can be, various sporting and historical figures who have achieved great things that nobody thought was possible. 

Working at a company like IBM, which probably has some of the smartest minds, learning from my colleagues, and seeing how we make big client pain points into achievable solutions. Addressing issues along the way has been incredible for my personal development and continues to be a source of inspiration for me.

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