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.
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!
Having a software-induced identity crisis? Worry no further, I guess that may be a more common thing than I would have expected! This week’s individual apprenticeship pattern will be Use Your Title.
I thought this was really interesting because there is such a high likelihood that there will come a time when you find yourself in-between positions but called something higher because there was no pre-existing label or category that would perfectly suit you. It may feel weird to have to explain yourself in your title to someone who assumes what you do based on what they see or hear. But perhaps, I wanted to add that I feel like someone could just be feeling imposter syndrome; which is something I heard is common for women in certain career fields tend to feel. What if someone does 100% fit the title they feel that they need to explain their title for but just does not see themselves the way their supervisors do.
I like how this pattern tells us that the title is due to the organization we work for, not necessarily us whether or not it does not match us enough or over-exceeds our abilities. By removing ourself from the current situation, I like how we are encouraged to think how we would view or think about someone’s role based on what they actually did in their job. This perspective was thought-provoking to me because I had not considered
Something I tend to think about is knowing when you need to step out of your comfort zone. When should you move on from one thing to the next; how do you know to take that risk? Seeing the little feature on David Hoover’s actions after he achieved his goals, it was interesting learning how he decided to move forward by continuing to draw his own map.
Overall, the pattern has caused me to think a little more on my intended profession in terms of where I want to end up. Right now, assuming I will have a junior/associate position after I graduate and later become a ‘senior’ or ‘lead’; where would I like to go after that? What will be my ongoing goal?
On this weekly individual apprenticeship pattern post, I’m going to discuss Concrete Skills. This pattern is pretty much explained with someone wanting to be a part of a good development team but they have not yet built up their development experience. My reaction to this pattern is that this would be a comforting one for students in college or upcoming graduates (and even entry-level developers) to feel a little less pressure on bridging the gap between starting fresh and being an experienced developer.
Concrete skills are interesting to me because you can have all the knowledge and information but being able to take what you know and apply it to something is different. The main takeaway I got from this pattern is to learn things that you will be able to apply even when you are still in the on-boarding phase. This has caused me to change the way I think about my intended profession because of course I want to get started and involved in projects right away. I like the feeling of being able to help people out when I have down time at my current opportunity just because I get to sharpen up a skill in one area instead of just sitting there.
A good question proposed in the pattern stood out to me, “If we hire you today, what can you do on Monday morning that will benefit us?” It’s interesting to imagine yourself in the role of a hiring manager; they have to hope to understand you well enough so that they can trust that you will be able to do your job and have an impact on the company. This thought makes me want to continue what I’ve been doing in terms of pursuing different learning experiences that will help me become a stronger developer not only knowledge-wise but skills-wise.
I do not disagree with something in the patterns as it gave me something new to think about and look forward to using in my future. I found it useful to hear their advice on considering looking at other CVs as references of what we would like to put on our potential list of skills.
Apparently doctors hate their computers, according to an article titled Why Doctors Hate Their Computers by Atul Gawande. Gawande started out the article by mentioning Epic, a company a lot of people know of because it is a leading provider of software for the healthcare industry. It’s funny because just the other day, a classmate who will not be named groaned when he heard Epic being mentioned by someone, as he works in a healthcare center.
I found the reading was interesting because I have no intentions of becoming a medical doctor one day but was able to hear about how it is being one while interacting with technology that exists today.
It seems like the tension of logging everything caused the system to make doctors’ lives harder instead of easier; this was noticeable when Sadoughi was talking about how she had to look over all notes from different doctors including herself per patient. Instead of being able to just see what is going on right away; it would take up time to gather all information and even then it was not always helpful because some notes were different than others and became dated. And then work-life balance had to be thrown off a little because people had to spend extra time, up to hours after-hours to catch up with the system and review things from the day.
The real customer for the system seemed to be patients because they have some benefits from using the system like logging when to take medications or see how they are doing. Doctors are also able to monitor how they are doing and communicate with them by being pinged.
The lessons from this system do not only apply to Electronic Medical Record systems; they also apply to working in life because burnout can happen to anyone in the workforce. I thought it was interesting how one of the ways doctors were trying to save time and prevent burnout from technology was by hiring in-hospital scribes or even virtual scribes when necessary.
The reading has caused me to changing the way I think I will work based on if I ever end up creating software that affects people’s healthcare by considering how much time it takes to interact with it, no matter how “cool” or “innovative” it may be. In terms of the topic itself, the reading has caused me to think more about software that has altered people’s professions as a whole; which I thought of before but never this deeply.
I do not disagree with anything in the reading for now as I do not personally know what it is like to work in a profession that is not traditionally non-technical and then gets transformed into something that relies on it.
On today’s installment of the individual apprenticeship patterns series, we’re going to discuss The Deep End. The main takeaway of The Deep End is that you should throw yourself into an opportunity even if you are hesitating or unsure. Of course, it is not necessarily telling you to be reckless, it also emphasizes how it is your responsibility to offset the risks of your approach.
I found that this pattern was interesting because as a person, I continuously try to say yes to trying new things or taking on new roles when the opportunity arises. The Deep End is basically the pattern that represents that mindset and reinforces how important trying something you might think is “risky” turns into being one of the best choices you ever made.
The pattern has caused me to change the way I think about software development/engineering based on the “action” it tells us to consider; which is learning to see what choices are affecting where our career is heading and eventually learn how to make choices based on it. I will try to focus on not only reflecting and reviewing what has happened but I will also move forward by actively making decisions based on experiences.
I do not disagree with something in this pattern so far as the “risks” I have taken so far have always turned out bettering me as a person or helped me achieve something greater. Things like taking on new roles within Enactus when I was unsure about how much time it would take on top of my already busy schedule to how to actually do things were part of my worries. In the end, it turned out alright because I was able to work things around my schedule and people who knew what the role(s) consisted of were there for me as a resource or form of support.
Overall, I am pretty content with the things I have jumped into because like Enrique from the Jumping in With Both Feet story, I eventually felt “like a fish in water.” I liked being able to read about someone’s success story of an instance where they went after something and thought “hey, the worst thing that could happen is I don’t like it and I fly back.”
Before I dive into my final installment of this CS series (for now), I wanted to say thank you if you actually read any of these posts and thank you to my new followers for dealing with the notifications you must have gotten.
For this last post, I wanted to discuss the article 5 Reasons You Are Wasting Your Testing Time by Joel Montvelisky. The author expresses how everyone can do testing but not everyone can do “good testing,” which incorporates more than just what is basic checking.
A short list of main reasons why a lot of people tend to waste time that could have been spent testing other things includes:
- Not having clear goals
- Not understanding what or how much the feature means to your End User
- Not keeping track of what was tested and potential discoveries
- Not consulting what you already know or using references
- Not giving feedback that could be shared to help others
I agree with most of what Montvelisky says as I have personally noticed what has happened from my experience as a Software Quality Assurance Intern when any of the five things above took place based on a task. It is important to understand that sometimes these things may be out of your control but you should still try your best to avoid miscommunication wherever possible.
Montvelisky’s content has not necessarily changed the way I will work as I have already been consciously making an effort to understand what I am reviewing, how stuff is meant to work, logging tasks, connecting tasks to previous occurrences, and communicating with the QA team. If I had read this article before I started working, it would have been more useful as it would serve as a foundation to how one should think of testing beyond the basic functionalities.
Something I wanted to emphasize is the post-test reviews and feedback sessions with peers. I found that if someone else needed to learn about a project or a task had to be communicated with a client, logging any kinds of notes or information was better than not having anything prepared to discuss. They do not necessarily have to be posted for everyone to access but it would be good to note it in any sort of text editor for future reference. I think an example of when to note things is if you found something that does not prevent your current task from being approved but it still affects something for the overall program.
Overall, when testing things I believe you should trust your instincts on reporting things you find. It helps when you try to imagine how much it could affect a program in the long run if not brought to someone’s attention, even if it may seem minimal.
Best of Luck,