This week SmartLogic is relaunching its successful Apprentice Program with two new team members for September 2021. Originally launched in 2018, the SmartLogic apprenticeship program is a paid program designed to help provide an accessible onramp to a career in professional software development. Specifically geared towards those interested in beginning or transitioning into a software development career, we have hired two developers-in-training for a fourteen week period that will prepare them for positions in the industry, either here at SmartLogic, or with one of our sister companies in the area.
The program is designed to teach apprentices to be better software developers through exposure to real-world scenarios faced by SmartLogic software developers on a daily basis. Not only will our new apprentices be working directly with clients and projects, but they will also be working directly with several developer-mentors on our team: Anna Dorigo, Joel Meador, and Alex Housand. This blog aims to show more about our program’s process, and the wonderful people involved in mentoring and learning.
Meet Our Mentors!
With the re-launch of the Apprentice Program, SmartLogic continues to offer initiatives that aim to bridge the gap between training and real-world work experience. Additionally, our Development Mentors have the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences coming up in tech, and pass along their hard earned knowledge of the industry. Mentor Alex Housand notes,
“There are so few opportunities for Junior Developers and those with less experience nowadays, especially at smaller companies. I was very lucky when I graduated college to find a job that really took a chance on me, and I've always wanted to be able to extend that same chance I got to others. Knowing that I could help someone grow as a developer and person is exciting. “
“I appreciate companies that support junior developers to start their careers,” adds mentor Anna Dorigo. “ I also like the opportunity to learn more about teaching and consolidate what I have learned in my time at SmartLogic through teaching.”
Our mentors are excited to share their own perspectives and abilities in order to help our mentees get the hands-on educational experience that is often lacking in a young developer’s career. “I did not have good support or good mentors when I started my career and I made a lot of easily avoidable mistakes. We shouldn’t send new folks into a situation they aren’t used to and expect them to succeed. Sink or swim sucks,” says Joel Meador.
Effective communication, the value of good documentation, when to ask for help, how to collaborate, and how to take advantage of the opportunities that can develop a budding career are a few of the topics our mentors are excited to pass along.
“I hope that they get a feeling of how a well organized start-up works, how to collaborate on remote teams, and learn to start incorporating good programing practices,” says Anna. Joel is looking forward to “teaching pragmatism, in terms of how much time is appropriate to spend on things and how ‘correct’ we need to be in developing systems before we can have something useful.”
When asked what she is most excited about, Alex remarked, “Their diverse backgrounds! Having a computer science degree doesn't necessarily make you a good developer. Being a good person who wants to learn and grow and can take their previous experiences and use them to their advantage, however, are qualities that all the best engineers I've ever met have had.”
Joel expects “these folks will learn a lot of practical stuff they don't know about working on and communicating in teams, developing software in new and legacy systems, environment management, [and] time management.”
Meet our apprentices!
Rachel Kahtan - “Smile, breathe, and go slowly” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Rachel comes to us from the Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy, after transitioning from a career in Law and Public Relations. “I am excited to be able to contribute to projects and deal with real-world software development while within a program that places an emphasis on feedback and mentorship. As a recent bootcamp grad I think this is the best of both worlds.” Having spent time with Ethereum-based crowdfunding, smart contracts, blockchain technology, and sustainability metrics Rachel is excited to take her “knowledge of software development out of the classroom and into practice.” Throughout the next three months, SmartLogic hopes to challenge Rachel’s expectations, and allow her to meet her goals of growing confident in her abilities, and her desire to contribute to the greater technological community.
Bilal Hankins: “Focus on the baby steps”
19 year old New Orleans native Bilal has been an entrepreneur since he was in High School. “I started my own fashion production consultancy and traveled the world representing clients at industry events in Paris, Milan, and Berlin. As a 16-year-old, I enrolled in a local software development immersive BootCamp and fell in love with using my creative background building applications ever since.”
He is excited to bring his unique perspective to SmartLogic, and gain real-world experience in the industry. Working with our mentors, Bilal looks forward to developing his skills with Elixir and Ruby on Rails. “By the end of the program, I will not only be a stronger programmer but possess the technical skills and real-world experience to be a valuable member of the engineering team.”
UPDATE 9/23/2021: This blog post has been updated. Joseph Arias was accepted to our Apprentice Program and hired as a Developer Apprentice but he resigned to take another employment opportunity.
Also check back here for more Apprentice Blog posts! We will be featuring three different blog articles: this first post is an introduction to our mentors and mentees and what they hope to accomplish, the second post will be midway through the program to check in on our Mentor/Mentees’ progress, the third and last post will be at the end of the program to evaluate the success of the course and where our apprentices will be working next.