by Zachary Spencer
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Has lots of experience because he's messed
up more than anyone else up there
AO is mostly built from interns/apprentices
built into the culture
Snuck into industry ~10 years ago
Bar was so low anyone could get in
Family was half teachers half engineers
What do you look for in an apprentice?
Passion and drive
Couldn't stop them if you tried
Ability to learn on their own
Previous work (github, etc)
They excrete code
Put on asshole hat and rip it apart
Look for their response. Some hate me forever.
The ones I hire are like "that's a good piont...
but this is why I did this"
They satisfy themselves.
Can they take a 9-5 job seriously?
Do they show respect for their coworkers and
Call their previous employers
Too many apprentices per mentor
putting them on client projects, removing their
freedom to fail
Putting them in a corner alone and having them
Assuming that they did not require mentorship
To assume other good developers can be good
When do you know if an apprentice is
You just kind of feel that this person is ready
for the next thing
We put them on client projects, but never alone
and never without making sure their customers
understand and are enthusiastic about the
situation. Sometimes our customers will
comment back saying how great they like
I still consider myself an apprentice because
there is always more to learn. We consider it
"you are now capble of working effectively on ac
lient project." this doesn't end the
There is a difference between finishing an
apprenticeship program and finishing your
obtiva decides every couple months whether
you "keep going, you're done and out, or
you're done and hired"
By the end of x time, are you someone we
would hire full time?
How much of mentoring is wearing the A-hole
It's not about being an A-hole, it's about being a
good role model
I tend to err on the side of coddling. The 2
month milestones are a-hole cap time. It lets
me put a more critical eye on them than I
How do you convince non techy owners
that apprenticeship is valuable
It was easy. We demonstrated a series of
successful apprentices at groupon. "Do you
want more of these people?"
The best success I've ever had is the product
of the apprenticeship
How do you convince anyone to do anything?
You don't convince people to do a thing.
There is no convincing.
You just do it.
apprentices are cheap.
Add value but don't add much/any cost
We're taking the risk, not our customer
Blended rate becomes cheaper
Every project has gruntwork. it's great to
have grunts to do it
Apprentices aren't cheap
They're cheap like being a parent is cheap.
It's a lot of investment. If you're ken they
pay you to be an apprentice.
to the customer, the cost is low the risk is
to the mentoring company, it is high
Developers are assets, so more develpers
== more assets
It ca be very expensive to do it wrong. You
have to find a business model that lets it
work. It won't be a profit center, but it
cannot cost more than you're willing to
3 types of apprenticeship
I think it will be wot working with this person
8th light is master/padawan
Mentor group absorbs apprentice
Went from petri dish to hybrid. Have a
mentor assigned to each apprentice.
Mentor guides them and meets with them
A single mentor can be a point of failure. If
you're across contruny on a lient sidte that
is not a success
Tie an apprentice to a team so you can
Shay Arnett Stye
A project based apprentice. You have 1
project and several apprentices
It depends o how our stuff changes.
What ratio of time do you let apprentices
pair with apprentices, work alone, work
with experienced devs, etc.
We have a tiny apprentice to senior ratio.
This mitigates the opportunity. THey
either pair on a project or work on their
Sometimes we'll have people who are further
along we'll match them up
We don't think two people who don't know
anything working together is a good idea.