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8th Light was founded in 2006 by a mentor and his apprentice, and our Modern Apprenticeship Program has continued to evolve ever since.
Apprentices enter our program with a diverse range of skills and past experiences, thus they require a diverse range of teaching methods and lessons. Our apprenticeships offer individualized curricula that are catered to the specific needs of each apprentice.
Mentors are training their future team members, so they are personally invested in the success of each apprentice. They seek out candidates to mentor, and curate a curriculum that is specifically tailored to their individual needs.
All apprenticeships work toward the same goals of proficiency in applying the principles and practices of software craftsmanship, and gaining the collaboration and client service skills required for a long and successful career as a consultant at 8th Light.
Apprentices work alongside other apprentices and software craftsmen in 8th Light’s open office setting. They have full access to our extensive library of books, presentations, and internal educational resources and initiatives.
In addition to writing code, apprentices augment their learning by working through an extensive list of software books and writing blog posts on a regular basis.
The culture of apprenticeship extends throughout every craftsman's career. Read more about our culture of continual learning on our Careers page.
8th Light offers three types of apprenticeship programs. The direction and duration of each apprenticeship is scheduled at the outset, but can change during the program to respond to individual needs.
Typically, student apprentices have some familiarity with software and are eager to learn how to write code, but are not yet ready to commit to pursuing a career in software consulting.
Student apprentices receive one or two mentors who will curate a curriculum, and work closely to provide guidance and feedback. They also work alongside other apprentices and craftsmen who are always eager to share their knowledge and help solve problems. Student apprentices are expected to read books and write blogs throughout their apprenticeship.
Student apprenticeships focus on achieving proficiency in one programming language, and introducing the principles and practices of software craftsmanship.
Student apprenticeships may be a good option for college students who are looking for guided learning during summer or winter breaks.
At the end of a student apprenticeship, the mentor and apprentice will meet to decide what the best next step is for the apprentice. Not all student apprentices apply for a resident apprenticeship, though that is one option.
“Before coming to 8th Light, I had very basic HTML and CSS experience. My mentor helped teach me from the ground up, essentially teaching me from my first bits of computer science to what I know now.”
Resident apprentice candidates should have some experience writing software, but are not expected to be experts. It is recommended, though not required, that a resident apprentice enter their resident apprenticeship with some of the following skills:
Throughout a resident apprenticeship, residents will become comfortable applying the principles and practices of software craftsmanship in many different languages, frameworks, and technologies. They gain theoretical knowledge through self-study, and learn to apply those technical skills while collaborating with other apprentices on projects.
Resident apprentices also refine their client service skills by pairing on large-scale client projects. They learn to answer the questions a client doesn't ask.
At the end of a resident apprenticeship, residents demonstrate a portfolio of their work, which is evaluated by a group of craftsmen who decide whether to offer a full-time position as a craftsman.
“I came to 8th Light after earning my CS degree because I was more interested in furthering my knowledge and education, rather than joining a product team and becoming conversant in only the technical aspects. I was more interested in holistic growth as a craftsman.”
Journeyman apprentices have worked professionally within the software field for multiple years, and are proficient in multiple programming languages. Journeymen typically possess the following skills and traits:
Journeyman apprenticeships are abbreviated but intense periods of learning that allow experienced developers to focus on holistic self-improvement in order to become a multi-disciplined craftsman.
Our craftsmen are software generalists who rotate regularly through client projects that feature new and interesting problems in a wide variety of languages, frameworks, and technologies. They must be confident entering projects with substantial unknowns, and comfortable asking our team of craftsmen for help when needed.
Journeyman apprentices give and receive honest feedback frequently, and hone their collaboration, client service, and coding skills by pairing on large-scale projects. They learn to lead by example, and answer the questions a client doesn't ask.
At the end of a journeyman apprenticeship, journeymen demonstrate a portfolio of their work, which is evaluated by a group of craftsmen who decide whether to offer a full-time position as a craftsman.
“8th Light takes craftsmanship seriously. That makes the work more challenging in some ways but more satisfying in the long run. 8th Light's emphasis on learning (and teaching) new skills, new languages, and new techniques keeps our work interesting.”
Minimum weekly time commitment in 8th Light's office
Want to learn more about what it's like to work at 8th Light? Check out our Careers page.