The first week with our new apprentices

our new apprentices

The first week with our new apprentices

written by Martin Vollmar

Every year in August, two apprentices start their software development training at our Cologne office. Martin Vollmar, Senior Software Engineer at Avenga Germany, accompanies our new apprentices Cihan and Doğuş as a mentor throughout their first year of training. Here, Martin describes the first week with them.


On Monday, our new apprentices Cihan and Doğuş arrive at the office for their first workday. It’s the first day since more than a month that I get back to the office to welcome them. They are scheduled to arrive half an hour after each other, shortly after my daily team meetings. The first impression I get of Cihan and Doğuş is quite positive: they appear to be open and very willing to learn. At noon, my colleague Yasa, who is also a mentor of the apprentices but has the week off, comes around and the four of us have lunch together to get to know each other better. The rest of the day we mainly set up the apprentices’ hardware, and the two of them can get off a little earlier. 


The second day we handle the rest of the hardware setup and start with the task for this first week: Cihan and Doğuş will build their first website using HTML and CSS. I tell them that they should have a look at a website they like to use and create a copy of this site. This gives them a good opportunity to learn about the technologies necessary for their task. They decide to build a website for a video game company and a music streaming service and start with their first steps in HTML.


Today we continue with HTML and CSS. Cihan already has some previous experience with these technologies. Using a mixture of online tutorials and personal mentoring, Doğuş also makes quick progress. I decide to give Cihan a bit of a challenge: the page layout should be made using flexbox instead of other models he has learned before. This is a new technology for him and so he, too, needs some tutorials to learn about this topic. At the end of the day, we decide that the next day we will try remote working for the first time. Due to limited internet service at home, Cihan will again work at the office, but Doğuş and I will stay at home.


The first day of remote working is about to begin. In the morning we start with a short meeting to make plans for the day and also to check if the technical setup works. There are still some technical hiccups (e.g. headphones unable to connect to the laptop and no cable available) but it is good to find these issues early and to get them out of the way. At the end of the day we meet again and the websites make good progress and both are able to show their work through screen sharing. For the next day we decide to keep the current setup as it works well enough.


The first week for the new apprentices comes to an end. Again, we meet remotely and talk about the apprentices’ progress. The results are impressive considering the fact that they just started their apprenticeship a few days ago! 


I am happy with how well the first week of training went, especially considering the circumstances in this year. I’m looking forward to next year, where I will be mentoring Cihan, and all the exciting parts of web development I will be able to teach him. Teaching others also educates the teacher and so this is a great opportunity for me to find out new things about the technologies I use every day.

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