Saleh Maitala, a graduate of Software Engineering from the University of Sheffield in England joined IBM in July 2014 as a Leading to Africa (L2A) intern at IBM’s Manchester Lab in the UK. In this article, Saleh shares his journey with IBM and how he constantly reinvents himself.
By Saleh Maitala
Ever since I was in university, I had passion for technology and innovation and how it can shape our lives. As a result, IBM became my dream company as it depicts an organization with a vision and clear leadership in technological innovation.
My journey through IBM has been a very interesting and dynamic one. I have seen myself transition from being a software developer where I was part of a team that had responsibility for developing IBM’s Software Storage Products, to a consultative salesperson where I pitch the differentiating value of our software solutions including IBM’s Industrial Point-of-View to clients.
This just demonstrates the dynamic nature of career progression within IBM and how you can shape development according to your strengths and passion.
Currently based out of Lagos Nigeria, I am the Software Sales Lead for the Social Business Unit in West Africa. This gives me the responsibility of driving sales and business growth across the region. It primarily involves interacting with clients on a daily basis to determine their objectives and prescribe IBM solutions that can address those needs. In addition, I organize discovery workshops, and enablement training sessions where I demonstrate IBM’s Point-of-View on Social Collaboration Solutions and Commerce, with a view to developing a winning strategy for IBM’s Business Partners and Clients. This experience has helped hone my customer engagement and client facing skills as someone coming from a purely technical background; has deepened my understanding of customer behavior, and equipped me with the skills needed to address market challenges.
My daily schedule is very dynamic and prone to changes at any minute. Typically I read my mails on the go, sometimes I join conference calls from my mobile while simultaneously multi-tasking to meet another deadline.
The fun part of my job is its dynamic nature as you can be assured that you cannot do the same thing for two subsequent days. The best part of it is the amount of exposure and level of clientele I get to have access to. During the course of my work, I have come across a lot of high profile individuals that I wouldn’t have met if I were in another role.
The best advice I would offer to any new graduate is to take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way because you can never know when it will come in handy. I started my career as a Software Engineer but today I find myself as a Software Salesperson. For me, that has been the biggest learning curve in my life. The skills and network I have been able to build are invaluable and I can only look forward to the future with optimism and hope.
The IBM Leading to Africa (L2A) program is a world class internship program that guarantees personal and professional development and the opportunity to collaborate and network. To find out more about the Leading to Africa program, take a look at the website and check out these Leading to Africa stories.
For more information about our other student programs at IBM, take a look here.
Discover what you can do at IBM. http://ibm.co/jobsafrica