Being part of the Torchbox Academy
In September, we welcomed three digital marketing executives and three junior developers onto the Torchbox Academy programme. Here is a taste of what our Junior Developers, Lauren, Ismir and Rachel, have been up to.
What attracted you to the Torchbox Academy?
It’s important to me that the work that I do contributes to society in a positive way, so as soon as I came across Torchbox, I couldn’t help but want to be part of it! I was thrilled when I discovered the academy programme as I wanted to be a developer, but I have limited coding experience.
I found out about Torchbox when I first came across Wagtail. The fact that Torchbox was investing so much in open-source made me dig deeper into the company to understand its work, business model, etc. I found out that the company is active in the NGO and charity sector and decided then and there that I wanted to try to invest my time and skills into something more ethical.
I was attracted to Torchbox because of the clients, the company values, the working culture and the tech! The Academy role is the perfect opportunity to learn and be employed. It was a perfect fit for where I was, as I’d been coding for a while, largely self-taught, and keen to step up my learning in a supportive environment.
It’s so lovely to be a part of this process with Rachel and Ismir, and I’m excited to see where the next few years take us!Lauren Parsons, Junior Developer - Torchbox Academy
What are you working on right now?
We split our time between training and client work. I’m supporting on work for RNIB, and we are all working on designing and building a Django picnic application. After fleshing out my app idea, I am working to improve its features and performance, which has been really fun.
My work with the RNIB is super exciting, as I have previously used some of their services. I’m looking forward to contributing more tickets to our sprints as my skills develop.
I’m working on the Academy Picnic app, my day-to-day learning playground. The second is a project for Wharton Interactive, a platform that allows interactive learning in the form of games.
I’m currently learning alot about Django and relational databases to build the picnic app’s backend. On the client side, I am working on a project with the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) which involves participating in Scrum meetings and learning from other developers on the project about git, CI / CD and accessibility, among many other things.
Tell us about your mentor.
My mentor is Nick, who has helped me find my feet and is incredibly supportive with my learning.
Initially, I shadowed quite a bit of his work on client projects. We’d discuss code reviews and break down what the code was doing. Now, a few weeks on, I’m starting to be able to work more independently and do small tickets of my own, which Nick reviews and gives really constructive feedback.
My mentor, Jacob, is the one person I wish I had met earlier in my career! Working remotely, we have a daily zoom meeting where I share my learning and any struggles. He helps me clear my doubts, plan my day, guide me on where I should focus most of my time, and gives feedback on my code.
This is one of the greatest and fastest learning opportunities as a developer.Ismir Kullolli, Junior Developer - Torchbox Academy
My mentor is Kyle, a senior developer at Torchbox. He is incredibly supportive and has created a great learning environment. Through daily catch-ups and regular longer 1-2-1 sessions, Kyle has been guiding me through the Academy programme, client work and all things Torchbox. I feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes and highlighting things that interest me.
I’d really encourage you to apply to the programme no matter what sort of background you’re from. It’s great for anyone with a passion to be a developer.Rachel Smith, Junior Developer - Torchbox Academy
This has been such an exciting period for our software development team: welcoming Ismir, Lauren and Rachel and seeing them thrive. They have been so engaged and enthusiastic and are making huge strides in their learning, both coding skills and the soft skills required to work effectively as a team and build a product. I am particularly proud of our mentors Jacob, Nick and Kyle. They have been expert and patient, generous with their time and really provided a structured learning environment while still giving their students the room to grow in their own individual ways.
We’ve now launched our Junior Developer Academy for 2023! Find out more and apply here: https://bit.ly/be-a-junior-dev