In the “Sweep the Floor” learning pattern of the Apprenticeship Patterns book focuses on the transition when joining a team. Being the newbie is not an easy task, especially when unsure of your skills, so finding your place and claiming suitable work can be a struggle at times. Since I will hopefully be joining a software development team in the coming years, or even next year as an intern, getting accustomed to working on a team and proving my value while not finding myself in too deep on work that I am not ready for will be a somewhat tricky line to toe. This pattern focuses just on that.
The idea of sweeping the floor, while not meant to be taken literally, can be a literal task. It means to take the tasks that need to be done but no one wants to do. This can either be menial tasks or simply tasks that are painfully boring or something. Although not attractive, this can be a way to start making progress on a team and pay your dues. It can help gain the trust of the team if the tasks are done well, oftentimes because they can be important sub-tasks which free up the way for higher-level developers to make more meaningful progress, so they’re still quite important.
Having the humility to take on tasks like this is not something I’m worried about; I do not come into the field with a large ego. I knew nothing about computer science before I started my major. I’m not afraid of having to build from the ground up. I’m actually quite eager to. Others’ evaluation of my work will be the most valuable to me, a concept which is alluded to in many other learning patterns within the book. I think this is a great idea and helps carve out a position on a team which can only stand to grow.
It’s also important to consider the downsides that the pattern mentions as well. Becoming the one that other developers dump the meaningless/annoying tasks on is clearly not the goal, so making sure to not get complacent and expressing an eagerness without overstepping bounds is essential. Nevertheless, I love this idea and plan on going through with it once I join a software development team.