My Drupal 8 apprenticeship (part one)

Paul

I started my apprenticeship 2 months ago with no knowledge of Drupal, co-ops or agile development methodologies.

Before this, I had been a freelancing web developer with no particular CMS specialisation and focused on advancing my skills and knowledge of the industry.

I found Agile Collective to be pleasant and welcoming, as well as a very good enabler for learning opportunities. Personally I like diving straight into the hard problems and being given the freedom to experiment and find my own solutions and understanding and the team here has been very encouraging of that whilst also giving me the necessary guidance.

The biggest and most pleasant surprise was the transparency – from development practices, to personal beliefs and business management and development. Co-ops have quite an interesting business structure and the flat management style that a workers co-op utilises allows for freedom and rewards which other career paths may not necessarily provide.

Learning Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is an incredibly advanced CMS – its flexibility provides a lot of development freedom and it is easy to implement new features. Its use of blocks is extremely powerful however I’ve yet to take full advantage of it. Having been familiar with Shopify’s ‘Liquid’, Twig templating has been extremely welcome and I’m really glad Drupal 8 is using it. In the two months that I’ve been exposed to Drupal, I have learned a lot about how it works (mostly for the front end) and I will slowly be taking advantage and constantly adjusting the way I work.

Coming from working solo to being part of a team, the workflow all of a sudden becomes infinitely more important due to the potential communication issues which comes along with collaboration, but the learning curve for agile and Drupal development isn’t scarily steep and is quite manageable after you build some muscle memory behind it.

Doing an apprenticeship

On the apprenticeship side, the course is taught remotely which means a lot of video chat and e-learning platforms, but there are also meetings which will happen across the country over the whole year which I am really looking forward to.

We also have access to communications channels with other people doing the same apprenticeship, so I feel like I have other people who are in a similar situation to bounce ideas off and tackle issues with on Drupal 8 development.

The difficulty of the learning material is absolutely not an issue if you’re even remotely interested in web development. Some stuff may not be so interesting for everyone, but the latter half of the apprenticeship is about specialisation which will allow the freedom to pursue the goals and gain the knowledge that we really want.

I have now worked on my first project in Drupal 8 and I’m moving forward with confidence in applying all my knowledge in future developments.