In this final installment of my individual apprenticeship patterns, I think an important one to write about would be Find Mentors. To summarize the main point of this one, I would say that it encourages people to observe their role and their surroundings to see where they can find the most value from learning or use their resources. It encourages you to look at things from one level back instead of blindly jumping into something right away.
Personally, I have been in a role where I had to figure out a lot of things that could have just been taught to me. I quickly learned that I would be able to ask other junior developers how they managed to learn things on their own and it helped me a lot. If other junior developers were not available, then I would work my way up to people who had the most recent on-boarding experience and hope that they could recall the process I was currently going through. For the most part, that worked out well!
Thanks to this pattern, I thought it was useful to think about and remind ourselves that even though our mentors will know a lot more about us, they still do not know everything. They are still continuing to learn as much as we are in their own careers.
I thought I should update this blog to throw in a little hidden announcement if anyone actually reads these that I will be learning at a company with about 100 peers going through the same thing. This makes me feel a lot more confident knowing that I will have a designated support system around me and have mentors around.
Overall, I agreed with the pattern. This is because I can testify with my personal experiences how useful it was to be able to utilize my resources including being able to ask mentors questions or just find my own. A common question I had for my interviewers was, “Will I have a mentor or support system along the way throughout my career progression?” Personally, it is important for me to have a designated place to go for support because it just takes one more worry away about having to ask somebody a question.
It is now time to conclude my individual apprenticeship pattern series! I hope you have at least learned one thing from it because I have learned so many things.
Over the past two weeks, my team continued to discuss what we are working on as usual. We have come to the conclusion that we will add our Search Bar component once there are updates and more of a base to work off of. This was concluded after we realized that the process would be much more efficient. The parameters and details on the search bar would be harder to figure out without making up a base anyways.
Some advice for others who may be working on the same thing would be to try and collaborate or discuss potential orders between groups if one thing may depend on another. That would make it much simpler from the start if possible so there aren’t any clashes or time wasted on doing extra work that could have just been done by one group or team.
In the meantime, I did a little more research on the AMPATH system out of curiosity since we are going to be building onto their work. I found out that there are 500+ care sites in Kenya! It is interesting to think about the potential impact our work may make on how AMPATH carries out their process. Their initiative reminds me of what Enactus at Worcester State strives for when they work on projects to help people or organizations in the community “sustain their own success, connect them with universal health insurance, train next generation medical professionals, and research new breakthroughs and best practices.” Being able to help a healthcare organization is pretty meaningful, especially as a project through my capstone.
A way to tie our 348 course (Software Process Management) with our 448 (Capstone) course would be through now being able to use Travis CI and Heroku. It was interesting being able to experience using these in class and help our peers use it and now be able to use them in our capstone. I think the practice we got was nice because I found that my peers and I were more comfortable with following steps that were written out and explained to us instead of just “going for it.” I have also noticed that our 348 course helped us pay more attention to how we interact with others, which is very useful for the future when we will be working in teams of developers to create or update new technologies. One more thing which I found useful was seeing Travis CI load, and the race against time when it came to classmates pushing code at the same time; it made me push myself to be a little faster while at the same time not be sloppy about what I was putting into my code.
Overall, we discussed what we will do in these coming weeks as the semester comes to a close. The project we are planning on presenting will feature a search bar which we plan to implement by then. I am excited to see what we end up with in terms of helping AMPATH and their healthcare system!
For my second-to-last individual apprenticeship pattern, I have decided to go with something a little more relevant to my current situation–relating to starting my career post-graduation.
The Draw Your Own Map pattern caught my attention right away with “we might come across situations or colleagues or people in the society who will try to prove that programming will become an unsustainable activity as time passes by.” Throughout my job search process, I asked questions and requested advice from all different kinds of people across different fields (and especially within computer science) on how they knew what job they wanted to start with when given opportunities.
In the end, I must choose what I think is best for me in terms of what I’m looking for. I’ve finally came up with a list and that includes:
- Having solid mentorship
- Proper training (no room for imposter syndrome)
- A company that tries to stay on top of new technology
- Work-life balance that allows me to continue doing all the things I love to do outside of work and travel often
The Draw Your Own map pattern is very encouraging, reminding us that we have options elsewhere if we feel that our current company is hindering our learning and personal growth. I found that this pattern was interesting because I part of my decision-making process was “what if I am ____ amount of time into my first career and realize that I do not like what I am doing?” How would I move on out of that role to figure out what I may like better in terms of my day-to-day tasks?
The activity to list three jobs that I could do following my next was was really helpful to visualize future career possibilities. I know that we can always learn on the job and at new jobs but it is also important to build up your skills that can be transferred in the first place.
The pattern has helped me feel more confident in the decision I made to start out in software engineering. I will build up my skills starting here and then more onward from there!
For this sprint wrap-up, we discussed how we are trying to move on based on our team planning meeting. One of my teammates, Kristi, along with Professor Wurst, tried to check out an idea they had and continued to bounce ideas back and forth with one another until they came to a conclusion.
Overall, I’d say we are continuing to plan out our next steps and work on something new. A new development was a suggestion by one of my teammates based on what we already have to work with. The suggestion was that we should wait for the other group to push what they need and then we can seamlessly build upon it. If the other group (who are working on the sidebar and navigation bar) add their work, it would help us have a better base.
We have to carefully analyze how the components are going to go together and get through to make sure that they are not just getting thrown in. If we plan things out more, it will make the process more efficient. I think taking a step back to look through angular was helpful because it allowed us to learn something new at our own pace. It’s nice to not have to rush on what we are doing; especially when the concepts are newer. This will help us deliver something even greater for our client, who is Greg from AMPATH.
There is also the approaching team presentation that we are going to be focusing on to explain our work and what is happening. I think it will mainly be focused on the search bar and our experience with learning angular or the concepts that introduced us to it.
On top of what we have been doing, I have been continuing looking up resources to learn more for our project. I think Codecademy is a good reference for learning AngularJS, https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-angularjs. It is actually one of my preferred sites for reviewing programming languages to sharpen up on things I may have forgotten or for learning new ones in general.
It has been a great experience being able to work with a solid team so far this semester. I wonder how much we will accomplish by the end of it! I think learning about communicating within a team is so important, especially since we will all be graduating very soon and entering roles that require consistent communication.
Overall, the only thing I would say I would have proceeded to do differently is come up with another way to “work smarter not harder” when it came to figuring out the process for the search bar. There were not necessarily any fails because our continued work dealt more with the planning behind the work instead of testing to see what worked for us. I am very excited to continue moving forward with this project in the few weeks we have left!
Some advice for others who are going to work on things includes:
- Having an open mind on what they would like to do because things are always changing
- Understanding what the client wants is important because at the end of the day, they will be the ones who need to use this software
- Try to make sure teammates are on the same page with you on what is happening that week