Individual Apprenticeship Patterns – Concrete Skills

This pattern works with the situation that an upcoming software engineer has some knowledge, but not much experience applying that to practical situations. This is also under the assumption that the learning engineer is seeking out work with a suitable team of coworkers, or applying to a new job.

Following this, the pattern advises becoming proficient at skills that every team needs. This typically means executing simple manual tasks, allowing the apprentice to contribute before moving to a more direct role in the group. It is important to get to the point where work can be done without supervision or help from the rest of the team, so they can focus their time on other work. This type of work includes “writing build files in various popular languages, knowledge of various popular open source frameworks like Hibernate and Struts, basic web design, JavaScript, and the standard libraries in your language of choice.”

On the other side of the coin, hiring managers are taking a risk by hiring a student or apprentice since they might require more help early on. To help combat this, concrete skills are an immediate and significant answer. Being prepared before getting hired allows instant benefit and payoff to the group that decided to take that chance, proving the worth and capability of the applicant.

This also helps when constructing a resume beforehand. Highlighting the areas that offer those quick benefits will help make the resume stand out, resulting in a higher chance to be contacted. Following this point, it makes sense to do extra research on the position first in order to train for the concrete skills that will be necessary once hired.

Although I feel that this can be challenging, they are very good practices. It can be¬†frustrating if things don’t turn out perfectly, and an application is denied, but especially in cases where a dream job is on the line, the extra effort is very worth it. Even if the applicant is not hired, they likely can use or relate the concrete skills they’ve learned in at a different company.


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