Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

Software development is a profession that requires creative problem-solving to arrive at effective solutions to any kind of challenge. While there’s value in hard-earned skills, the complexities and nuances of developing code often require the understanding that only comes with experience. Even the most veteran developer can come up against a tough programming challenge that requires innovative thinking and all the knowledge they accumulated previously. After all, experiential learning allows for broader applications that cannot be studied solely through textbooks; developers can ensure better results by having a deeper understanding of the relationship between code and desired output. In other words, experience allows developers to identify errors, anticipate future issues, and effectively create improved solutions in every project they participate in.

What is STEP ONE? Get to know Scio’s apprenticeship program today!

However, when you are first starting your career, fresh out of school, what is the best method to acquire the experience in the field you need? Some people opt to join open-source projects on collaboration platforms like GitHub or get involved with the development community by attending online and offline meetups, forums, and hackathons. Others attend professional industry events to learn about new trends in the field, and some even reach out to experienced developers who have already gone through the process of launching an app or website to get a better understanding of problem-solving and how to apply a skill. Some even look into apprenticeship programs that combine the best of all worlds.

An apprenticeship in software development is a great way to gain experience and skills if you’re looking to start a career in the Tech space. Good programs give the opportunity to learn from an experienced software developer and get hands-on practice with coding languages and principles, letting people new to the field learn the different stages of software development projects, and hone their communication skills with other team members. A successful apprenticeship can launch your career in software development, so it makes sense to say that it can offer an incredibly valuable learning opportunity, bringing new perspectives that can benefit the entire team. All these factors come together in making an apprenticeship one of the best paths to develop your skills and build an amazing career in software development. But how to make sure you’ll choose the best one?

Taking the first STEP

What is STEP ONE? Get to know Scio’s apprenticeship program today!

For more than a decade, the Scio Technical Excellence Program Level-1 (or STEP ONE for short), previously known as the Apprenticeship Program, has been our way to reach recently graduated developers looking to expand their skills and get started in software development right away. At its core, this program offers a hands-on experience in projects for US-based clients because, as a junior software developer, there is no better way to learn than collaborating with an actual team of experienced professionals. Working with people who have been programming and coding for years can allow observing what it takes to develop quality applications and processes, offering a unique insight into the development process which can be only gained from actually being in a collaborative environment. 

Skills such as how to communicate effectively with others, how to work together as a team, and how to resolve any issues that might arise quickly are central to STEP ONE, enabling anyone who joins to acquire knowledge faster than any course or tutorial could become an expert developer one day. Since it began in 2000, this program has been instrumental in bringing the best talent available in Mexico to Scio. Plenty of our most experienced developers, such as Carlos Estrada, whose experience we have talked about before, began by participating in it. 

Simply put, what STEP ONE wants to achieve is permeate Scio’s work culture in everyone that joins”, explains Jesús Magaña, Senior Project Manager at Scio. “With very intensive training in everything from development techniques to collaborative soft skills, we want to ensure that new developers have what’s necessary to ensure a smooth collaboration between teams and clients. They get to participate in a real project to live the experience of developing commercial software under an Agile framework, where everyone is on the same page, and issues can be solved quickly.

After all, participating in a challenging, commercial project as a Junior developer can be a wonderful learning experience, living through real-world environments that provide the possibility to apply classroom theory in different scenarios, with all the nuances of how things actually work in the field. Moreover, hands-on experience in formulating solutions to complex problems can help one to further flesh out their skill set while also discovering how to better collaborate with others. This type of experience can serve as the perfect starting point for any budding software engineer, with chances to identify potential issues within code or how best to prioritize tasks for a successful launch of the product. All in all, there is no better way for a Junior to sharpen their skill set than by being actively involved with these projects, and STEP ONE provides a way to tackle these challenges head-on.

A philosophy of growth

What is STEP ONE? Get to know Scio’s apprenticeship program today!

Why STEP ONE? Well, what we want to do is discover and nurture new talent, not only in terms of technical ability but also interpersonal skills that are so important for a Nearshore company like Scio”, continues Jesús Magaña. “We want to bring these young developers a healthy collaborative environment with a solid cultural foundation of work, enabling them to join amazing projects as soon as possible.

Software development companies like Scio that actively nurture new talent can benefit from an exchange of exciting new ideas and knowledge, which in turn creates a positive work environment that leads to innovative, outside-the-box thinking. This ultimately benefits the team as a whole, encouraging an atmosphere primed for creativity and success. From this collaboration, a healthier workplace culture is built with employees more invested in their personal growth, providing invaluable professional experience to those who may not have had such opportunities before.

New talent brings fresh ideas and perspectives, which are extremely valuable when it comes to finding innovations in the ever-expanding field of software development. An apprenticeship at a software company could be a life-changing opportunity for junior developers and the entire industry, as not only would an individual have the chance to become a specialized expert in their field and put their newly developed skills to use, but the whole industry would benefit from having aspiring professionals that are committed to learning, creating, and doing. Indeed, an apprenticeship like STEP ONE provides a great platform for experienced developers and new talent to build incredible things together. Everyone wins when we allow learners to sharpen their coding abilities, as it only helps equip us all as we move into an increasingly digital economy where talents like yours are needed. Are you ready to take on the challenge next year?

The Key Takeaways

  • A career in software development can be a very fulfilling experience, but sometimes the question of how to get started lingers above every junior dev.
  • There are a dozen ways to begin your development career (forums, freelance work, personal projects, entry positions), but apprenticeships are the best.
  • In the case of STEP ONE, Scio’s apprenticeship, hard and soft skills are combined in real projects for a junior developer to practice and grow.
  • A good apprenticeship is more than just learning technical skills, but also understanding the human part of development, and how collaboration is the best path to create incredible things in software.