This post was written by Josh Teigland, who is a second-year apprentice at EduSource. Josh used to be a film major before switching to computer science. Now he loves nothing more than tackling a good programming problem (unless it’s a long walk on the beach…).
When I showed up at our small, little office last summer, I’m not really sure what I was expecting. One thing I did know, and that still remains true: I was getting a unique and valuable experience that few of my classmates would receive while still attending classes. The fact that I’m going to graduate with two years of work experience in my field is incredible. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the value of that. It’s not just the quantity of experience, but the value of the work I’m doing that makes a difference. I don’t think there’s another company out there that can say their student workers provide the kind of intrinsic value that apprentices at EduSource do.
This is not just an internship. I don’t print papers or get coffee (although there was that one time another apprentice and I got doughnuts for the whole office on National Doughnut Day). We’re writing real production code. Not just bug fixes or prototypes. We apprentices make up a good portion of the code that makes it into the final release of the software. Already this summer, our team’s full-time engineer has been so busy code reviewing and keeping up with the work we’ve done that he has little time to write code himself. But the three of us apprentices have worked hard to keep the project on track.
We can go to classes and get a piece of paper that says we know this computer programming stuff, but there’s nothing that beats making real software for real clients. While the technical skills we learn in classes are important, there’s a lot more to software development than programming. Working at EduSource has been more than just an experiment to see whether or not I like software development, it’s been a valuable learning experience.
I think something that really promotes that learning experience is the environment of sharing wisdom. Everyone here has a desire to teach and a hunger to learn. From the top down, everyone in this work environment is seeking to learn something new and it doesn’t matter who’s teaching it. There’s an expectation here that even the apprentices have something valuable to teach the full-time employees. If that doesn’t make a college student feel valuable, I’m not sure what will.
Over the last year, I’ve seen this company grow exponentially and mature at the same rate. There’s a lot of opportunity for everyone involved at EduSource, and I’m excited to see where that opportunity will lead as I approach my senior year. I think what sets this experience apart from other internship experiences and why this model works is the amount of value ascribed to apprentices. To be valued is to be motivated, and that’s what makes people strive for greatness.