I’ve always thought that Atomic is a great place to begin a software development career1. I don’t know of a better place to get started. Today, I’m very happy to announce that we’re taking it up a few notches with the Atomic Accelerator program. This two-year mentoring and training program for new hires is designed to complement the opportunities already provided by our project teams.
The Accelerator program will focus on teaching the higher-level concepts we use to guide our planning, development, and testing. It will include training in project management, team leadership, and handling customer relationships. We’ll spend significant time on the interpersonal, life, and career skills that we wish we’d invested in when we were just starting out.
Participants will learn through individual coaching, guided study, group discussions, and trips to conferences and local events. We’ll help them build their professional networks inside and outside the company. We’ll invite them to join in pre-project consulting, participate in research and design meetings, and work with team leads on estimating, reporting, and management.
I’m very excited about this opportunity and wish I’d had a similar option when I graduated. I’m sensing that some of our current employees are getting a bit jealous hearing about the program, so I think we’re on the right track! Our goals are to make this experience the first choice for anyone beginning a software development career in West Michigan, and to make it an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience for every participant.
We’re launching the program in June of 2016, and I can’t wait to get started! We’ll be posting more information about the program in the coming months, but please feel free to contact me with any questions in the meantime.
1. We’re passionate about the quality of our code, tools, and practices. We move frequently to new projects, platforms, and problem domains. We work directly with our customers. We ask everyone to manage their own work and encourage investment in professional development.
This program sounds like a great idea but I worry that a workplace with a well-indoctrinated young workforce is likely to become increasingly mono-cultural. If all your hires are young – and you steep them all in your culture – yes, you gain the velocity associated with everyone thinking alike – but do you lose something as well?
Signed “I am not young and I do not think alike”.
Thanks Paul – I agree, we definitely don’t want an echo chamber. I’m optimistic though that we have a good model in place for avoiding that at Atomic. Everyone here works directly with clients, often several clients a year – so we’re constantly exposed to external thought. We also very much have a culture of trust – we hire bright folks and give them room to work the way they think best. We do have some rules (test your code, track your progress, etc), but we’ve always invested in encouraging people to experiment, learn and grow rather than sticking to an orthodox approach. We need to do this to stay current, and I’m sure we’d lose the majority of our developers (myself included) if we tried to enforce a strict, static philosophy for development.
Rather than create a mono-culture, I expect this program will have the opposite effect. Investing in training and mentoring allows us to consider a wider range of candidates for our open positions. Our goal is really to provide graduates with a strong starting toolset – once they’re through the program, they’ll be free to toss out the tools they don’t find useful and add new tools as they like.
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