My experience.
A portrait photograph of Gareth Latty.

Over the Christmas period, I decided to apply for IBM’s Extreme Blue summer internship. This is a really cool scheme where you work for 12 weeks over the summer at IBM Hursley, working on projects at the forefront of technology, and get paid to do it. It’s pretty much a dream role for most CompSci students, especially considering they only offer around 16 roles each year.

Applying to the scheme was something I did without too much thought. I went to a career fair at University, and read through the details at the IBM stall. It sounded interesting, and so I applied online. The first stage was sending in a C.V. with a lot of extra fields - asking me about my skills in various areas. I filled in in - the glaring hole in the ‘previous employment’ section looking bad - and sent it off, promptly forgetting about it.

I was then pleasantly surprised when I got a response saying I had passed that round and was now through to the online test stage - the IPAT. I completed the test straight away and came out of it not really knowing how I did. Apparently, the answer was I did well enough, as I was now invited down to IBM Hursley for a selection day. This was where it dawned on me that there was actually a possibility I might get the job. Suddenly it became a lot more daunting.

I spent half a day at the selection centre, and I came out with two main thoughts - one, that I really wanted the role at IBM, and the second, not having a clue how I had done. IBM Hursley is a really nice place, the staff seemed really nice, and the opportunity at hand was massive. This time, the wait was really painstaking, but soon enough I was told I had also got through this stage, and was now through to the assessment centre.

The assessment centre was a full day in IBM Hursley, and it was tough. I’m confident in my ability, but in any situation where you are trying to show that to other people, it is extremely hard not to constantly over-think everything. Fortunately, I got out feeling I hadn’t made a complete fool of myself, and actually, had enjoyed the day. It was interesting, if nothing else - and all of the other applicants were really great to talk to.

After yet another horrible wait, I finally got the news - a phone call offering me the job. Naturally, I was over the moon - and remain that way to this day. I’m really looking forward to my summer at IBM, and it almost feels anti-climactic to have to wait for half a year after the selection process.