The 5 highlights of my traineeship at IBM iX

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Hello, my name is Christiane and I was a trainee for one year in the online editorial team at IBM iX, a large digital agency in Berlin. The year promised to be exciting simply because the traineeship was my career entry immediately after receiving my master’s degree. It became even more exciting because the second half of my traineeship took place mostly remotely from my home office due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Regardless of whether at the office or at home, my year as a trainee was exciting and informative. Now, it's time to draw a conclusion with my five highlights.

Highlight #1: The Trainee Peer Group and the culture in general at IBM iX

An important part of the Trainee@IBM iX program is that all trainees for the year start at the same time in order to develop and exchange ideas. In our case, this concept worked: our group of nine trainees from various professional areas and of different ages were a team from the very beginning. From office lunches to birthday parties, from celebrating New Year’s Eve together to sharing a flat—we worked together perfectly right from the start. During our trainee year, we bonded unbelievably well, and we were able to master the challenges of our new professional lives together, instead of having to deal with them alone. This was a great added value, which optimally complemented the assistance and support provided by our mentors.

Exchange doesn’t only play a key role at IBM iX for trainees. In addition to project meetings, I also regularly participated in the Cluster Weekly, Community Monthly, and the meetings of my Creative & Content department, as well as in the Family Night, the monthly exchange format for all 400 employees at IBM iX. These communication formats always kept me up to date about the agency’s activities. Speaking of activities: the agency dogs that roam around the office are a great plus for the social environment, and they regularly sweetened my lunch break before the home office time. And that IBM iX as a whole simply has a great vibe became apparent to me at the latest Christmas party under the theme “Alice in Wonderland”. This evening remains one of my most beautiful memories.


Highlight #2: Continuing education opportunities in traineeship and beyond

IBM iX offers a wide range of training opportunities for trainees. This category includes both the internal and external training courses, IBM badges (for successfully completed courses), and the opportunity to get involved in Future Topics and working groups. This provides you opportunities to pursue your own interests, to constantly learn, and to effect change within the agency. Equality and sustainability are just two of the most critical issues that IBM iX addresses. I am involved in a working group for digital accessibility—the barrier-free implementation of websites and apps.

In Future Topics, we deal with topics regarding the future, such as artificial intelligence, sustainable design, or new trends in content marketing and video production. We try to introduce these new impulses into our work.


Highlight #3: Practical project work and responsibility from the beginning

I was fortunate that interesting projects were handed to me right at the beginning of my traineeship and that I was able to assist various teams with different tasks. My main area of work is the public cluster, where we serve public sector clients such as ministries and state authorities. I was also involved in projects from other clusters or industries, such as Insurance & Banking or Consumer Products & Services. For example, my work topic covered a range of informational website articles, instructions on how to use a design system, and newsletters about supermarket beauty products.


Highlight #4: Insights into other departments

IBM iX promotes the fact that employees are T-shaped—in other words, they can build up competencies in other areas beyond their own area of expertise. Thus, during my traineeship, I not only worked on editorial tasks, but also assisted in content strategy and in social media and community management. In the exchange weeks of my traineeship, I was also able to get a taste of in-house media production for six weeks. Thanks to these experiences, I can offer my skills in a wide range of projects, and I also better understand the relationships between the agency’s individual departments and have been able to learn a great deal.


Highlight #5: New working methods and skills

Admittedly, before my traineeship at IBM iX, I didn’t know what agile working meant, or how to develop personas (i.e. prototypical users) or communication formats using design-thinking techniques. Before that, I didn’t know that collaborative brainstorming is quite common in my field, but I’m very happy that it is because I actually enjoy it quite a bit.

During my traineeship, I not only learned new methods, but also how to use helpful digital tools such as programs and web applications—for example, Mural, a platform where digital post-its can be gathered together contactlessly and remotely during brainstorming, or readability index calculators which analyzes the text I have written and tells me how complex my sentences are. With the help of my colleagues, I am constantly discovering new tools that revolutionize my work or open my eyes: for example, browser plugins that simulate visual impairments or examine websites for accessibility.


My conclusion after a year of traineeship at IBM iX

For me, it was a great and instructive trainee year at IBM iX, and just the right thing to start off my career. I am convinced that it will continue for me as a Junior with many challenging and exciting tasks and useful experiences, and will surely not be boring. If I could wish for something else, it would be the end of the pandemic, so that I can see my colleagues and the agency dogs regularly for office lunches again.

So, what can I say in the end? Maybe this: This could be your article. If you feel like it, come to IBM iX. I can’t promise you that your traineeship will be exactly like mine, but I assure you that you will learn a lot about yourself and your subject area, make lasting contacts and be inspired. So, think about it—I hope we’ll see you soon!

Find out more about your career at IBM iX here.

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