“Concrete Skills” Apprenticeship Pattern

I am writing this blog post about the “Concrete Skills” apprenticeship pattern from the Apprenticeship Patterns book. To summarize the idea of this pattern, it is about dealing with concerns about seeking a role on a team but not having any practical experience. I chose to write about this pattern in particular because I find it relevant to myself at the moment. I am searching through job descriptions and they all seem to prefer certain areas of experience that I do not have. This is also evident in our capstone project. The “solution” section of this chapter in the book says to gain some concrete skills. I do have concrete skills; my aptitude is for mathematics, data structures and algorithms – computer science in general. It refers specifically to “tools” and “technologies”, though, and I know nothing about that. It becomes apparent when I work on the capstone project that my expertise has no application here. This sort of computer programming has nothing to do with computer “science.” There is no logical problem to solve, there are only tools and frameworks to learn how to utilize in order to accomplish some basic tasks. My past experiences have not seemed to have prepared me to be any better than anyone else at approaching these problems. It seems, then, that the “concrete skills” that I need are of a different sort. The chapter recommends looking at the CVs of others and finding a common set of discrete skills that seem important to become familiar with. This seems like a good idea. In order to gain some level of confidence about being able to perform on a team, it would be helpful to become familiar with the skills and common knowledge among the demographic. Rather than continuing to study computer science, there seems to be an additional field of knowledge that I am unaware of a name for, which is comprised of tools and technologies that are required for certain software development tasks. It seems like it will be important for me to gain some “concrete skills” in whatever field it is this might be.

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