My Apprenticeship - Tuesday, July 6, 2004

This summer I'm revisiting my short apprenticeship at Object Mentor. I'll be posting commentary on all my posts from the summer of 2004 exactly 5 years later to the day.

Tuesday 7-6-04

Fun things you learn when Micah returns: Your tests? -- don't really test what they should. The regex expression you labored over? -- can be done a lot better. All the time it takes to run your program? -- is because your program is doing 20 more operations per file than it needs to. All that polymorphism stuff you vaguely grasp? -- you don't know at all.

All part of the learning process.

Other than that it was a pretty good day. I got back from Vegas last night and was pretty tired (Cirque de Soile's 'O' and 'Mystere' are amazing. Stop reading this blog and go see them now). Before Micah knocked some sense into our heads, Paul and I spent most of the day working on the State Map Compiler. Writing tests for this thing sucks. The output is basically one long string (which is what a program is) so the tests are mostly comparing lots of strings. All the excitement of: missed spaces, absent newline characters ('\n'), and improper capitalization.

A recurring theme in any apprenticeship program: The mentor checks in with the apprentices and points out all their mistakes. Since I was writing this blog in hopes of getting a job I edited out a lot of these revelations so I didn't look like quite such a dumb-ass but, in truth, this probably happened every few days (if not daily).

Fun side note: Laura (my wife) and I went to Vegas that time because she had successfully completed a sticker program. After having our millionth conversation about how she needs to clean up her study, car, office, etc she suggested a sticker program (You know the thing where every week, if you complete the task, you get a sticker in a cell on a table?). I thought she was kidding, but it turns out she wasn't. So we created the "Super Fun Sticker Program for Increased Cleanliness" which lasted 6 weeks if I remember correctly. If she got all the stickers then we went to Vegas and saw some shows. After I tell this story people either tend to think I'm a terrible husband for subjecting her to some sort of behavioral experiment or a very nice husband for encouraging her quirkiness.

Comments

Fred Lee said…
Hey Jake,

So, I have enjoyed reading about your apprenticeship in 2004. It is interesting to see where you were and how you have developed as a craftsman.

You mentioned something in this post that confused me a bit. You said that you were writing these posts in hopes of getting a job.

Were you not working at Object Mentor? Was this some sort of unpaid apprenticeship or something? If so, how did you get started with Object Mentor?

I am just curious.

Fred
Jake Scruggs said…
This was a totally unpaid apprenticeship at Object Mentor. I had a free summer (as I was a H.S. teacher) so I was fine with that. Also they let me sit in on a bunch of classes and waived my admission to the Agile conference. I don't know if Object Mentor now has paid apprenticeships now.

Obtiva (my current company) and 8th Light both offer paid apprenticeships currently, btw.
Dude - you guys went to Vegas over 4th of July 2004? We actually arrived the afternoon of the 4th and stayed for the next four days. Weird.
Jake Scruggs said…
I did not actually go to Vegas on the 4th in 2004, I just bought my tickets around then. The XPAU was held in late August of 2004.

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