Reflecting on “Apprenticeship Patterns” – Sweep the Floor

It’s fair to say that I am nervous about entering a computer science job and working with a professional software development team for the first time. While I will be fortunate enough to graduate with knowledge of agile development, I have a feeling that it will be quite different to participate in development with more experienced coworkers, rather than with classmates with similar skill levels as me. This week’s apprenticeship pattern, “Sweep the Floor,” described various ways that I can potentially overcome this initial worry of fitting in and being able to contribute on the team to the best of my ability.

Sweep the Floor discusses my exact predicament: being the new apprentice on the team and struggling to find my place within it. The solution for this issue is to work on simple and more mundane, or unglamorous, tasks which the rest of the team may find more tedious. Or, the apprentice may focus more on the “edges” of the project (rather than the “core”) to minimize any risks to the project that could come with putting a newcomer on the more difficult parts of the work. These tasks are still necessary for team success, and therefore make great experience for an apprentice who is just starting out in the field. By completing these seemingly unimportant tasks, the apprentice can show the rest of the team that he or she is capable of producing quality work that benefits the whole group.

Before I read about this pattern, I was already aware that as a new member of the software development team, I wouldn’t have as much responsibility or experience as other coworkers who have been on the team for a longer period of time. This pattern gave me a better sense of direction, in terms of more specifics for the kind of work I could expect to complete when first starting out on the development team. I have always found some reassurance in the thought that new employers and colleagues expect fresh college graduates to not have much experience outside of the coding projects they completed for classes. This pattern helped further encourage me that I can make the most of this “newbie” status by finding important tasks to do and still gaining valuable practice.

Thanks for reading!

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