Reinventing the Apprenticeship

December 17, 2014 Kate Furey

‘Apprenticeship’ may not be a term we hear too often nowadays. Although the term has ancient roots (the Middle Ages, according to Wikipedia), it’s a relatively new concept around the Narrative Science office.

The idea of a software engineering apprenticeship was born after our VP of Product, Margaret Jastrebski, and Director of Quality Assurance, Eric Totten, brainstormed ways to amp up our engineering recruiting channels. They had heard about engineering apprenticeships from friends at other Chicago-based tech startups and thought it sounded like a compelling idea. Margaret and Eric connected with Dev Bootcamp, attended a graduation, and were blown away at the quality of the program and candidates.

Dev Bootcamp, a 19-week intensive educational program, yields highly trained programmers who may lack hands on experience, as many students are in the midst of a career transition. After meeting with some of the talented graduates, Margaret and Eric realized that an apprenticeship program was a perfect option for everyone involved.

An engineering apprenticeship with Narrative Science is a 3-4 month period of on-the-job training, which could potentially lead to a full time position. It’s an opportunity for the apprentice to gain real life programming skills, and in turn, for us to gain an understanding of a person’s skills and knowledge progression. Essentially it’s a win/win.

Andrew Adams, one of two apprentices who started in the Fall of 2014, was a jazz musician and music teacher for two years before pursuing a career in software engineering. He found out about the apprenticeship opportunity during his time in the Dev Bootcamp program.

“I loved the idea of continuing to improve my skills under the mentorship of experienced developers while working at a growing tech startup”, says Andrew.

To date, it’s been an extremely positive experience and we look forward to continuing to take on apprentices in 2015.

Applicants interested in a software engineering apprenticeship should apply for engineering positions via our careers page and note their interest in becoming an apprentice.

Kate Furey is a Marketing Manager at Narrative Science. Connect with Kate on Google+ and Twitter.

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