In this post, I will be writing about “The Deep End” apprenticeship pattern from the book Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman by Adewale Oshineye and Dave Hoover, 2009. This apprenticeship pattern is for software craftsmen who feel that they need more experience and need to be challenged by complex problems and bigger projects. This pattern suggests that these people jump in at the deep end and just go for these challenges.
Waiting until you’re ready for too long can turn into never taking that next step and therefor never moving ahead. Rather than a plateau where you are consolidating your skills, you can end up in a rut where your lack of growth turns into mediocrity. This book suggests when offered a high-profile role, difficult problem, or large project, accept these offers. Even if you don’t feel ready, there is a reason these opportunities are available to you and you should take these opportunities and hold on tight. As the authors stated, “risks are opportunities seen through half shut eyes of fear”. Growth can only happen when you take on scary, challenging jobs. This does not mean lying to get a job you cannot do or not prepared for as you will definitely be in over your head. It means taking the opportunities as they are presented to you.
An action suggested by the authors to help you get started with this pattern is to think about your biggest most challenging projects. Write down the complexities of these projects as a reference for your new projects. Answer questions such as “what is the biggest codebase you have ever built on your own?” and “what is the biggest, most successful project you have ever worked on?” in terms of number of developers and size of the project. Find a certain way to use these questions on all of your past projects to use them as a metric or index and write it down. This will help you gauge where your next projects fall compared to you past ones. Using this chart or diagram will help you figure out which way your career is going and whether you are growing as a developer.