After looking at the list of Apprenticeship Patterns, the one titled “Be the Worst” caught my attention. I was curious as to why you would want to be the worst. After all, conventional wisdom would suggest that one should try to be the best. However, after reading about the pattern, being the worst is a way to become better. The pattern explains that you should aim to constantly surround yourself by developers that are better than you. By doing so, you would give yourself room to grow. Being in a strong team gives you an opportunity to learn the effective techniques, tips, and methods that stronger developers use. The goal is not to constantly remain the worst, but rather, to work hard to climb your way up from the bottom and become equal to the other members.
However, there are a few risks with being the worst. One of these risks is feeling bad about yourself and your skills. Being the worst member of the team means you are not up to par with everybody else, and that could lead you to become even less productive. Another risk that you could run into is dragging the team down. Being the weakest member, some teams might not tolerate your weakness for long, especially if you do not put in the effort to constantly improve and hone your skills. If you fall too far behind, then you risk getting fired. The way to avoid these risks is to make yourself useful by doing explicitly doing menial tasks and by developing concrete skills to increase the amount of your contributions. Rapid growth is what these teams want to see, and it is likely why you were hired to join them.
I think Be the Worst is a useful pattern. It gives a clear idea or a method as to how developers can grow professionally and actively hone their skills. While there are risks involved in being the worst, it can be avoided with a strong drive to improve and be a contributing member. The potential benefits of this pattern are immense and it should be something that every apprentice developer should look into.