Duane Appleby, Level 3 Support Team Lead, IBM

"Plymouth University's School of Computing and Mathematics comprises a dedicated, supportive group of people, each of whom endeavours to give students all the help they need to achieve the best results possible. This environment, coupled with the vibrant city and close proximity to Dartmoor, Cornwall and the south coast, were the main reasons I chose to study here, and I have never regretted that choice.

Since graduating, my work at IBM has spanned most of the product development lifecycle and that of providing support, both to external customers and internally between departments and products. I started my career in a systems support role and then moved on through product performance, test and development roles. My latest role as a Level 3 Support Team Lead finds me heading up a team of developers providing technical customer support on the WebSphere Liberty profile.

My work is varied from day to day, from resolving customer issues, presenting at technical conferences, developing code and processes right through to assisting in some of IBM's community give back programmes. Whilst I don't get to use all the deep mathematics I enjoyed spending time learning, a lot of the skill sets do get applied on a daily basis; the analytical mind, logical thought processes and problem determination skills are all highly valued.

Once employed by IBM, you are given the training and mentoring required to do your job and build a new technical skill set which allows you to move around various job roles as I have done. The IBM assessment centres focus on finding people with various competencies, covering areas like analytical reasoning, technical orientation and team working. I found my final year project (Quantum Computing) a good way to show technical awareness and display a knowledge of the leading research in computing at the time."

Duane Appleby was interviewed by David McMullan.