Apprenticeship Patterns: Concrete Skills

The next Apprenticeship pattern I’ve decided to discuss is titled “Concrete Skills.” This pattern is targeted at developers who wish to join a talented team in order to find better learning opportunities. The problem here is that professional development teams have no incentive to hire new developers who cannot immediately contribute to their work. The pattern explains that, in order to acquire a position in such a team, a developer should develop concrete skills. These are specific skills that a developer is particularly experienced with, such as working with a certain language or development framework. By knowing and being able to list their concrete skills, a developer can help themselves gain the trust of professional teams and begin a career as a software developer.

I chose to read this pattern because I have often experienced fears regarding my ability to find a career with my current experience level. I frequently feel that my current skill set is not good enough for me to be useful on any professional development teams. I think this pattern has helped clarify my reasoning behind these fears. Development teams focus on concrete skills when determining who to accept, while I have always been focused on my overall skillset. This perspective has caused me to focus on what I don’t understand when looking over the work of experienced developers, which has only served to discourage me and make me feel inadequate.

In order to get a start as a software developer, I should focus on determining what my concreate skills are and solidifying them. This pattern helped me understand that concrete skills are more important than overall experience to teams accepting new members. For this reason, I should focus less on what I don’t know and how I compare to other developers, and I should instead concentrate on the skills I already have. In the time I have been pursuing software development, I’ve become skilled at programming in many languages, especially Java. I’ve also learned to use tools like Git and frameworks like Angular, and I’ve done lots of work with creating GUIs. These are just a few of my concrete skills, and I’m sure many of them would be useful on a development team. If I start concentrating more on solidifying these skills and less on grasping at skills I don’t have, I could likely put together a list of concrete skills that would help me find a place on a professional team.

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