My course

I study Computer Science (G401) at Aberystwyth University, I am currently on my Industrial Year (8 months in!) at IBM.
As a part of my course I was required to find myself a placement, and on this placement I am visited twice by a tutor assigned to me by the university to check up on how I'm doing and if I'm enjoying my job and the like. To successfully pass the year for university I need to produce a report detailing my Industrial Year, my achievements, difficulties etc and my manager must complete a questionnaire from the university.

My Industrial Year report

The guidelines given to us for this report are really quite vague, I imagine this is to allow each student to format their report as they feel best. The only real guidelines given to us are to keep it under 2k words, and make sure our document is consistent and free of errors. We are given 4 major areas to focus on, they are as follows:

  • Organisational Environment
  • Technical and Application environments
  • Your work
  • An evaluation of my time here

Organisational Environment

This section of the report will detail the nature of the organisation I am working for and my place within the company. Including a brief history, some key facts and notable achievements of the company.

Technical and Application environments

This section of the report will describe all of the technical details of the various environments I worked in throughout my year. Anything from software to hardware, and everything between!
It should include my workstation specification, basic information about the office and other workplaces visited.

Your work

This section will detail what I actually did as my job, information on my team, my role within the team and day-to-day business. Including a short breakdown of the average work cycle, the training I received (and how often I got training) and other various details. In this section I plan to highlight particularly interesting times from the year.

Critical Evaluation

In the final section I must look back at my time spent on placement and assess what skills I acquired, what I developed and what that means to me as a professional. This section will also include my observations on the practice of the company I worked at.


How am I producing my report?

I'm an avid LaTeX user (I use Overleaf, it's wonderful!) and have been using it since my first year of university, where it was included in the module: CS10120 - "Intro to Computer Hardware, Operating Systems and Unix Tools".

When am I planning on writing my report?

I've been playing it smart so far.. I've been emailing my placement tutor at university every 2-3 weeks with a little update highlighting anything that I'm going to wish I had remembered!
But from now on I'm gonna make a blog post about work (using this nifty IBM tag) every few weeks instead!


A short overview of my job at IBM

At IBM I'm a Business Controls Administrator for CWP (Client Web Portal), and a CIRATS Administrator and Risk Coordinator for DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs).

CWP Overview

CWP is a tool that all of IBM's clients are required to use to measure their compliance with the services they purchase/subscribe to from IBM. I work in a team of 3 (Boss, current placement student and myself), I was pulled onto the project when I started because I didn't even know I needed a security clearance until my induction!

Our job is to make sure that all of IBM's UKI (United Kingdom and Ireland) accounts submit their compliance reports for Service Management on time. I also have to smooth out any issues such as discrepancies between the account's database entry and submitted record and the like.

DEFRA Overview

The DEFRA account includes Rural Payments Agency, Her Majesty's Treasury and Natural England. On this account I manage the CIRATS database which tracks Issues and APARs (patches sent out by the supplier, or any issues with hardware/software) for all hardware and software that we are contracted to supply or maintain for the account.

What's my most recent update?

I'm charge of CWP for this cycle/month!!! My task manager for this project is on the IBM internal audit for the next two months and I'm in charge of CWP in her stead. I'm now a week or so into the cycle (it started on the 2nd Feb), and it hasn't actually been too bad. I was absolutely stupified at first, but it really hasn't been too much of a change. it's just meant that I needed to think a little harder about what I was doing to make sure I didn't do anything silly!

I also went to Farnborough, the home of DEFRA for IBM! Put my laptop through a series of rigorous testing as it's been getting slower and slower..

Aside from that, I booked off some holiday for the end of the month (23rd February - 6th March) there will be a post (or 15) for this later on!


So that's it for this post, I'll post again soon!