Reflections on the Atomic Accelerator, a Two-Year Retrospective

Last month, I finished my first two years at Atomic and completed the Accelerator program. I’ve learned a lot about software development and technology, but I’ve also learned about interpersonal relationships and managing my career. The program can be a lot of work (outside of work), but it has pushed me to learn and grow.

The Accelerator is an Atomic program that gives newly-graduated software developers extra guidance, mentorship, and learning opportunities. Accelerator members join in a cohort of three or four folks, which adds both peer support and social aspect to the experience. Completing the program takes two years.

Self-Driven Learning

You get out of the Accelerator what you put into it. I would encourage anyone new to the Accelerator to seize the opportunity to learn about what interests them. In my experience, company leadership and Accelerator managers want to support your exploration and learning — not only about software development but also other aspects of the business. For example, learning about design, sales, and finance is encouraged. Atomic is a small company, so you’ll have access to people in many different roles.

You have a lot of ownership about what you choose to learn and do. I devoted some of my time to learning about business development at Atomic and how the sales process works. I attended sales meetings with potential clients, did some reading, and interviewed each person in the sales team for their unique perspective. This hands-on experience was invaluable. Now, when we kick off a new project, I can review the client’s sales process, understand the documents that were created (like budgeting spreadsheets), and have a fuller perspective on their needs and goals.

Mentorship and Support

The Accelerator is a really strong example of Atomic’s teach and learn value. Much of my pair programming was with a more seasoned developer. I learned a ton, including software architecture, testing, and best practices. Everyone I worked with took the time to explain things and encouraged me to ask questions — even when the question was just, “Wait, what? Why?”

The Accelerator has been a great way to start my career. I’ve gotten great opportunities to polish a lot of my skills and keep my learning momentum going. The program provided the opportunity to interact with company leaders at Atomic and gave me a larger breadth of experience than I could get at a traditional first job.