Apprenticeships: I implore you!

Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 10:00 – 10:45am


Talk Outline:
My background pre-programming
Attending gSchool (6 month Ruby on Rails program), hired as an apprentice
Why we need apprenticeships
What senior developers and teams get out of apprenticeships
What you can do / My suggestions for working with apprentices


The increase in web development vocational programs means a steady supply of junior developers, but are we prepared to help them become productive members of our teams?

These programs were created in response to the need for more developers, but I fear without apprenticeships to bridge the gap, we’re simply moving the bottleneck upstream.

In the absence of an established, structured program, I’ve had to figure out what it means to be a software apprentice and ensure I’m building skills and learning best practices daily. Conversely, the senior developers have had to think about how to integrate apprentices and provide purposeful learning opportunities.

In this talk, I’ll share my experience coming from a vocational web development school and the apprenticeship program we’re developing at Democracy Works, Inc.

Speaking experience

Speaking history: learned to deliver great talks by Katrina Owen and Jeff Casimir while at gSchool; delivering this talk to Clojure/West on March 23 and other events so I will be very practiced; received mentoring from Russ Olsen and Jen Myers as well.


  • Jen canoeing


    Jen is a recovering ski bum in Denver, Colorado. She works as a Software Developer for Democracy Works, Inc. ( In 2013 she went through gSchool, a six month Ruby on Rails program, and started learning Clojure last fall. Before becoming a developer, she worked in construction and hospitality. Jen is also a core member of ClojureBridge.