November 26th, 2018
Today marked my first day as an apprentice. I still couldn't believe that I was offered the role. I'm so grateful and excited to be surrounded by people who care so much about software as a craft. I'd been searching for a place that valued learning; a place where you weren't penalized for not knowing something; a place serious about software; and a place that valued its people as much as software. I found everything that I was searching for at 8th Light. Beyond my personal values, which are engrained in the company itself, 8th Light is also serious about mentorship. I'd only dreamed of having a mentor for my first professional role, but 8th Light is committed to fostering an environment where everyone can learn and grow. A major part of that commitment, and 8th Light's success as a company, is its apprenticeship program where each apprentice has a dedicated mentor.
I could write for hours about how much I love and respect 8th Light. For now, I'll simply continue with an overview of my day, which was pretty nerve-wracking for me.
I met with the other apprentices. There are design and developer apprentices. Everyone was supportive and welcoming. We had a standup (I'd only ever heard of those, so it was a cool first for me) where people shared what they were working on and what roadblocks they were experiencing. I learned about the diverse sets of backgrounds from which everyone came. It was interesting hearing about what people were doing prior to 8th Light as well as what led them to the company. I also met some of the software crafters and directors. It's going to be a little difficult to remember some names right away -- there's a lot of Kevin's, Kyles's, and Brian's. I'll get there though.
I had to setup access to a lot of the tools and software that everyone uses for their day to day. There were some HR tools that I had to setup, but also some regular communication tools that needed to be set. I'll be attending weekly company-wide standups for the apprentices, office-based standups for apprentices, and office-wide standups for everyone. I had to set up my calendar, Github, Zoom, and Slack. I'll admit: I was on Slack overload.
I had a celebratory lunch with my mentor. He provided more details about my expectations and goals throughout the program. He asked me about specific, reoccuring problems I encountered when approaching programming. He gave me a list of book recommendations and videos based on my most prominent weaknesses and interests. One of his strongest points was to take advantage of the plentiful resources available, including other apprentices and developers. We also talked about how we'd communicate throughout the apprenticeship. Some of our meetings would be organic, but daily checkins via Slack would be mandatory.
Preparing for Upcoming Projects
The apprenticeship requires passing a series of challenges after completing several projects. I started preparing for my projects by learning about the available resources, including talks, workshops, and blogs hosted by 8th Light. I also read the apprenticeship curriculum.
I made it through the first day. There are so many resources and communication elements that I'll be getting used to. I'm so glad I learned about Slack from my coding bootcamp. Phew.
This role means so much to me. I'm so lucky to have been offered a role with a renown company that is dedicated to the tech community. This is the perfect environment for me to learn and grow. I get to ask all types of questions without weird stares from people. To top things off, I have a cool mentor who is rooting for my success. I can't wait for tomorrow!