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 Ogunsola Elevates His Career at IBM via Learning

Femi Ogunsola, director, processor product engineering, IBM Systems, is the development executive responsible for working with IBM’s foundry partners to deliver semiconductor processors for its cognitive systems and IBM Z mainframes.
In his more than a dozen years at IBM, Ogunsola has learned that learning is why IBM and its 360,000 employees excel, decade after decade, whatever the technology du jour, which has ranged from punch card tabulating equipment for the 1890 U.S. census to revolutionary electric typewriters in the 20th century to artificial intelligence and quantum computing today.
“I love that IBM’s focus on skills encourages employees to grow deep in one area, or broad across multiple areas, while continually advancing their careers. I have personally benefited from broadening opportunities, which I leverage in my current role to enable my organization to execute together with focus and clarity,” he says.
However, learning, whether it’s “deep in one area or broad across multiple areas,” presents challenges. Ogunsola urges IT professionals to embrace the inevitable inquietude.
“Be comfortable with discomfort. The industry is fertile for significant contributions from people that are willing to take on challenges directly. Become one of those people now,” Ogunsola advises.
Of course, life can pile personal challenges atop professional challenges. “I made a significant career change to a new organization and unfamiliar location at a time when my wife was pregnant with our first child and would soon not be working,” he recalls.
However, Ogunsola stood tall. “Failure was not an option. I embraced the challenge, and can point back to that decision fundamentally and positively accelerating my career trajectory, which I couldn’t have known at that time.”
That exemplifies the IBM way: excelling no matter what changes come your way. This is also evidenced by the fact that, through 2018, IBM has received the most patents in the U.S. for a record 26 consecutive years.
Along with maintaining excellence and facing challenges as IBM has, making a difference is also Ogunsola’s mantra.
“A sponsor once told me that when you leave a role you want to make sure your work has left monuments that will last long after you’re gone. As such, my advice is not to leave a role before you’ve made an impact,” he recommends.
And when it comes to moving into a new role, which Ogunsola has done five times at IBM, make sure there are both reasons for leaving the old role and entering a new one.
“The best career opportunities are those that involve a push and a pull. If there’s only a push to leave or a pull to join, then really interrogate if that’s the right opportunity,” he further advises.
Learn more about IBM, headquartered in Armonk, NY, via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Explore careers at careers.ibm.com.
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