Reflecting on “Apprenticeship Patterns” – Confront Your Ignorance

Here we are – the last Apprenticeship Pattern of the semester! I’ve learned so much about how to successfully transition from a budding computer science undergraduate to a new software development professional. Now that the semester is just about over, I am going to be spending most of my time between now and the start of my new job learning about their tech stack. As I’ve discovered while getting to know the engineering team, I don’t have any experience with the technologies that they use. This brings me to the apprenticeship pattern for this week, “Confront Your Ignorance.”

Confront Your Ignorance pretty accurately describes the position that I am in right now. In this situation, the apprentice has identified several areas or skills that they don’t know much about, and they are interested in learning more. Sometimes, those around the apprentice may already feel comfortable with these skills. The simple solution for the apprentice is to begin “filling in the gaps” in what they know about any skill(s). This could be in the form of articles, tutorials, or Breakable Toys (personal, private projects that allow the apprentice to safely learn about different tools without consequence of failure), among other methods. This pattern is closely related to Expose Your Ignorance, another pattern that I wrote about in the past (found here). While it is possible to keep these patterns mutually exclusive, a balance should be made between the two so that the apprentice feels comfortable enough to share what they don’t know about different subjects with other teammates, as well as puts in the effort to work on it and learn more.

I have been able to relate to each of my discussed apprenticeship patterns in some way, and this pattern is no different. While I am aware that I have a lot of ground to cover in order to understand as much as I can about my company’s tech stack before the start date, it will be great to combat this by confronting this ignorance head-on with multiple learning strategies, mostly by reading more books and completing online coursework.

Thanks for reading! I hope to keep up with this blog as I continue self-learning throughout my professional career.

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