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How likely can someone with no IT experience/education obtain a job at IBM?

Veteran

Jamal Lewis Columbus, GA

To elaborate more, I was wondering since I currently have no IT experience/education but I have basic computer knowledge, basic networking understanding, and have a strong passion for computer and technology. What can I do as a start to land a entry-level computer/Networking job at IBM?

16 November 2020 18 replies Career Exploration

Answers

Advisor

Paul Ku Raleigh, NC

Hey Jamal,
Also depending on how flexible you are, there are a variety of jobs at IBM. With 300k+ employees, we really do hire for many different positions. The reason I mentioned staying flexible is because I would suggest being open to doing things outside the box. After the Marines I got my degree in Civil Engineering but through networking, I ended up at IBM working in Procurement services. Even though I did not have a background in it, I found it interesting and 8 years later I am in a field that I never thought I would be in but at the same time discovered something new that I have enjoyed doing. So definitely keep an open mind and be open to opportunities. Best of the luck to you.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Wayne Peck Austin, TX

Jamal,
I was able to join IBM with little IT experience. We are a huge company with many roles that do not require that experience. Search for jobs that match your skills.... you might find some that you would qualify for.

That being said, it is easier if you have more relevant experience. Before I retired, I went back to school and got a Master's degree that helped me.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Mike Davies Georgetown, TX

Hi Jamal - some really great advice here from my IBM peers. I will add a reminder to not forget about the skills you do have that make you a viable candidate for IBM, or any company for that matter. Leadership, team work, collaboration, and more. Again, some great advice above on building technical skills, but your military experience has value.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Elizabeth Gwaltney Gainesville, GA

Hi Jamal,

This is tricky as you need to find a way to get your foot into the door
maybe not doing exactly what you think you want to do, but none the less
into a work field. And you need to work with programs to get you started with basic knowledge, I think someone else may have mentioned this https://dol.georgia.gov/jobs-and-training-veterans.
Be open to new ideas as I find that once you get into a company and hard work
pays off with your peers. You could find something else that may interest you more.
Good luck! And thank you for your Service.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Pedro Quinones Fairburn, GA

Hello Jamal,

All the previous responders provided great answers to your questions. I would add to check the USO Pathfinders program. In combination with Google and Coursera, they offer an entry-level support certification. Check https://www.uso.org/google for more information. Also, there are lots of programs for transitioning service members for free. Check your local SFL-TAP office for more information.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Anthony Nelson Saline, MI

Hi Jamal -

I had no formal training in IT before joining IBM, and I am now out there promoting Industrial IoT to manufacturers. I think exploring some courses on Coursera was suggested above - that is how I was able to build up some of my "coding muscle," and that is a good place to look.

You may also want to check out the apprenticeship programs available at IBM: https://www.ibm.com/us-en/employment/newcollar/apprenticeships/. This is a non-traditional pathway for individuals who don't necessarily have the formal education background but have ability and passion for tech. I'm happy to talk to you directly if you're interested in learning more about some of the different pathways out there. Feel free to reach out directly if you want to talk.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Eric Kaltenberger Ault, CO

Jamal: I'm not a big believer in the "find your passion" mantra, most of us do what we **have** to do before we get to move on to what we **want** to do. 20 years ago I chose a field (IT) that had a strong upside, offered decent starting pay, and seemed like something I could do long term. Try to determine what IT fields interest you the most, then research related job postings and note the required skills that you might be missing. That might mean more higher education (I needed night school), or perhaps just a specific skill that you can get through a short certificate program. The name of the game is to get your foot in the door in any field, then distinguish yourself and work towards what really interests you. Rinse and repeat. This has been the path I have used my entire career, and it has worked out pretty well for me. I know this probably seems daunting, but I'm proof that it is doable - message me directly if you wanna discuss this further...

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Johnathan Van Houten Sarasota, FL

Jamal,
Certifications do look good on resumes and they can open a door or two. They indicate that you have studied a particular subject and retained enough of that information to pass a test. The standardized nature of most accepted tests makes it a formidable weapon in the resume arsenal.
That said, enhance your resume, focusing on the technological nature of your previous military experience. Regardless of what it was, there had to be computers involved somewhere. Bring that to the forefront and denote any aspect that showcases your enthusiasm for understanding how it worked. Maybe you figured out a program to help senior NCOs or officers detail data in their reports or discovered a shortcut in a system to help increase capabilities.
The point is, use what you have done to show your passion and thus, your eagerness to learn.
Cheers.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Dan Noonan Glen Burnie, MD

Hi Jamal,

I agree with Brian that external certifications are very important in establishing your abilities. Getting recognized for your achievements will amplify your value when our recruiters are searching for potential matches to IBM hiring needs. Another suggestion: participation and successful outcomes in hack-a-thons and other technical challenges - especially those sponsored by IBM - can get you noticed by hiring managers looking for demonstrated abilities for key skills. I'd also recommend you take time to update your LinkedIn profile to put your best foot forward as your profile is almost certain to be reviewed at some point in the recruiting process. Tag skills and ask your network who you've worked with to endorse the ones that they observed as an additional method of establishing your skill base. Best of luck in your transition!

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Paul Lindner Rochester, MN

Jamal: Being a former veteran myself I came out of the US Air Force with as a heavy equipment (firetruck) mechanic over 40 years ago. I wanted to get into computers and computer programming. A resource that I used is the Workforce center in my state and found there was a number of federal funded programs to help the veteran. I checked your town of Columbus, Ga and found the workforce center in your area and a website. https://dol.georgia.gov/jobs-and-training-veterans . My Workforce center actually assigned a workforce person to my case to help through my entry in to a local community college and he was very helpful with getting financial help to show me a number of programs to meet my living expenses when I was in training. There is also other programs listed on this site I sent you like the Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center.
I am presently working for IBM as a Failure Analysis engineer (title) but I work with both programming debug and repair cards for the various system which is quite different from being a mechanic. Good Luck.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Edward Winchester Billerica, MA

Hi Jamal,

I think you need more than basics to get a job at IBM. Just a suggestion: Why not try to build up your skills with some online courses thru https://www.coursera.org (not expensive - not long courses). They offer a lot of IT courses that would give you more skills for what tech companies are seeking.

Ed (IBM)
Ed W.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Javier Zayas Anaheim, CA

Hello Jamal, another approach is to start your search at the Service desk level. This will give you an opportunity to at least "get in the door" providing help desk type services. In this type of capacity, you could be exposed to new technologies, features and processes, and would allow you to also grow from there into more experienced job roles once you gain the appropriate knowledge and skills, some of which could potentially be learned on the job, provided you can show the aptitude to do so quickly.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Christopher Lamb Houston, TX

Hey Jamal! That's a great question and one that I came across for myself about 10 years ago. At the time I had military and LEO experience and zero IT experience other than what I did at home. I began researching entry level positions to get my feet wet in the industry. I got a break and was brought on at an IT company. Since then I took advantage of having my foot in the door and began networking internally until I got to the position I wanted. I know the feeling of "well my experience has to count for something", but trust me when I say this industry is a fast paced industry so you will need to start off somewhere and climb to the top. Similar to why we wear that flag backwards on our uniforms... Always moving forward.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Andrew Foster

Hi Jamal - I would recommend investing some time in https://cognitiveclass.ai/ It's an IBM program to provide free training for in demand skills. It won't guarantee you a job, but the training is good & upon completion you get a badge you can add to LinkedIn.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Brian Armstrong Ridgefield, CT

Hi Jamal,

Thank you for your service. My advice would be to try to obtain some kind of certification in an area that interests you. Professional certifications establish credibility because you often have to take a course and pass a certification test to get one. This can be a big help when interviewing for a position. Hope that helps.

16 November 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!

Advisor

Boaz Bett Columbia, MO

I am not sure if anyone has mentioned apprenticeships yet. I joined IBM with a non-IT background through their Apprenticeship programs . They train you for one year (at least) and then usually, they will set you up on a path to securing a job at IBM.

Please check out: https://www.ibm.com/us-en/employment/newcollar/apprenticeships/

Also, you can search "apprenticeship" on IBM careers: https://www.ibm.com/us-en/employment/

If you need employee referral, reach out to me at: boazbett@ibm.com
Also you can find me on linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/boazbett/

Veteran

Jamal Lewis Columbus, GA

Thank you so much for these wonderful answer! I'm very grateful theirs people out there that's willing to help others achieve their desire goals in life! Thank you so much!

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