30 Sep 2016

Never Stop Learning

This blog post is the first in a series about my experience as a Journeyman Design Apprentice at 8th Light.

One of the core principles at 8th Light is continuous learning. This is evident in many ways, but most notably through the Apprenticeship Program. Regardless of skill level, every team member goes through the program before becoming a software crafter or designer at 8th Light.

I have just embarked on 8th Light’s “Journeyman” apprentice program, which is tailored to individuals whom already have a number of years working in the software industry.

So why should someone with over a decade of experience take part in an apprenticeship program? Personally, I see it as an opportunity it hit “pause” while in the midst of a fast-paced industry that is constantly evolving. It feels like every month there’s a new JavaScript framework, code organization process, or tool for creating wireframes and designs. When constantly moving between various client projects, it’s easy to get cemented in your own processes and technologies without having an opportunity to grow and expose yourself to new ideas.

I have to admit that my first reaction to taking part in an apprenticeship program was a bit mixed. While I’ve always tried to stay up-to-speed on new technologies and industry best practices, the idea of becoming an “apprentice” initially felt like a bit of a step backwards. Luckily, my experience so far has helped to eliminate any hesitancy. In just my first full week as a Journeyman Design Apprentice, I’ve already learnt several new techniques and have filled in some technical knowledge gaps.

One of my long-time fears is becoming “obsolete.” As I get older, I want to avoid becoming a designer or developer who’s stuck in the ways of yesteryear. It’s an easy trap to fall in. Today’s best practices might be frowned upon five years from now. No mater what your experience, it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity to engage in learning. I’m excited to experience the next three months as an apprentice as 8th Light.