What it’s like to be a LaunchCode Company Partner

What it’s like to be a LaunchCode Company Partner

Q&A with LaunchCode Company Partner, QDivision

So, let’s say you’re looking to grow your tech team. You’ve searched high and low for candidates with the passion, drive, and aptitude, but you fall short and continue to look for the right people. LaunchCode introduces highly talented local developers who bring these attributes to help your business grow. But what is it like to move beyond candidate research and have hands-on experience with LaunchCode apprentices? Below is a Q&A with QDivision, a LaunchCode company partner that researches, tracks and develops emerging technologies in the transportation and moving industries.


We recently got to speak with Jazmin Olivares, Program Coordinator, & David Morley, Software Engineering Instructor, at QDivision. We got to learn more about QDivision, their training program and what it was like working with LaunchCode. Read our Q&A below!

Jazmin Olivares, Program Coordinator

Tell us a little bit about your organization and apprenticeship training program.

We are an innovative and collaborative team that solves complex problems in the transportation and moving industries. Founded in 2017, QDivision disrupts the standard and delivers customer-focused solutions that are efficient, user-friendly, and beneficial to the transportation and moving industry.

We help bridge the gap between knowing how to code and knowing how to deliver software as part of an agile team. At first, the apprentices focused on learning a set of modern full-stack tools, such as JavaScript, React, and Spring Boot. Then as a team, the apprentices work on a project with stakeholders, agile coaches, product owners, and UX designers to deliver a valuable piece of software. This gives them an opportunity to practice the tools and techniques of professional software engineers such as pair programming, testing, and code review.

What do you do as a mentor or manager for LaunchCode apprentices?

I create opportunities. I facilitate the development of all strategic plans in collaboration with the rest of leadership that align with the mission and core values of QDivision. The program accelerates the apprentices’ path to becoming a member of an agile team producing high-quality software. This program also allows us as an organization to give back to the tech community and help software engineers at the start of their career, which is very rewarding.

What non-technical skills have your apprentices brought to the table? How has their skill set grown?

When recruiting participants, we do not look for specific technologies or previous experiences in a candidate’s resume. Instead, we look for problem solvers passionate about software and technology. We also value enthusiasm, curiosity, and a desire and ability to work as part of a team.

When recruiting participants, we do not look for specific technologies or previous experiences in a candidate’s resume. Instead, we look for problem solvers passionate about software and technology. We also value enthusiasm, curiosity, and a desire and ability to work as part of a team.

In addition to a modern set of full-stack technologies, we expose the participants to a variety of activities that help them develop skills critical to success on an agile team. We encourage them to collaborate using the principles and techniques of agility, and we have seen their understanding and desire to work as a team grow. We also believe that being able to effectively communicate about technical subjects is a critical skill, so the apprentices are encouraged to give tech talks, present projects, and participate in code reviews with their peers.

However, the most striking improvement we see in the apprentices is their confidence. At the end of the program, they are ready to dive in to and be an effective member of an agile team delivering software to production in a professional setting.

The most striking improvement we see in the apprentices is their confidence. At the end of the program, they are ready to dive in to and be an effective member of an agile team delivering software to production in a professional setting Click To Tweet

How well do you feel the LaunchCoders were trained and prepared for their apprenticeships?

LaunchCode has proven to be a reliable partner in helping us find candidates from diverse backgrounds and paths to coding as a career. We have found the LaunchCoders to have acquired a good foundation of programming knowledge, which is a huge boost to our program’s acceleration of their technical skills ability to work collaboratively.

LaunchCode has proven to be a reliable partner in helping us find candidates from diverse backgrounds and paths to coding as a career

How has QDivision benefited from the LaunchCode apprenticeship program?

Through working with the apprentices, we have learned and continue to learn better ways to teach others about teamwork, agility, and technical topics.

We have also seen great results from each of the LaunchCoders after the program’s completion. Several of the LaunchCoders are now productive members of our agile teams, and could not be prouder of their success!

Finally, partnering with LaunchCode gives QDivision the opportunity to spread the word about the exciting things we are doing in technology.

Are there any particular LaunchCoder moments or stories that stand out to you?

On orientation day, we asked the participants from the first run who are now on QDivision teams (all LaunchCoders, in fact!) to participate in a panel discussion with the new class of participants.

Their answers to the new participants’ questions were both honest and eloquent and truly made us proud. It was heartening to hear them describe, in their own words, the journey they had made and the pride they felt in having completed the program.

Their testimony and confidence helped spark belief in the new class that they, too, could be successful at QDivision.


Lori Folta & David Morely, Software Engineering team:

Overall, how has your experience with LaunchCode been?

“The partnership we have established with LaunchCode has been a key factor in the success of our QTraining Program.  They have referred high-quality candidates with proven coding skills, who are eager to launch a new career in software engineering.  The Apprentices are bright individuals with varied and interesting backgrounds, who are engaged in their work here at QDivision.  It has been a pleasure working with them and getting to know them as individuals.”  -Lori Folta, Software Engineering Manager

“Working with LaunchCode has been wonderful. We are excited to be able to help their graduates add technical skills, soft skills, and real-world agile software development experience that complement the strong foundation of programming skills that LaunchCode provides. We believe that the combination of LaunchCode and the QTraining Program is a fantastic start to a long and successful career in software.”  -David Morely, Lead Software Engineer

Below is a Q&A with former LaunchCode Apprentices (now recently hired) at QDivision. We learned about the thriving culture of QDivision, what it was like being an Apprentice at the company, and what some important takeaways were!


Mark Hennen, QDivision Software Engineer within UniGroup:

So, how did you first hear about LaunchCode?

I heard about LaunchCode while I was a student at Forest Park Community College. I was still working towards my degree in programming, and I learned about the LC101 course which happened to be open for enrollment. I went through the 20-week program and then worked with the LaunchCode company team to land an apprenticeship at QDivision within UniGroup.

What was your favorite thing about being an apprentice?

My favorite thing about being an apprentice at QDivision was their willingness to teach and their guidance throughout each of the learning modules. Some of the concepts were more challenging than others and were difficult to wrap my head around. Luckily, the program leaders and the other program participants were more than willing to work with me until the concept was well understood. Subject Matter Experts were also available if I needed to ask more in-depth questions about specific problems. Overall, the QDivision team was always open to sharing their knowledge and help as much as they could.

The QDivision team was always open to sharing their knowledge and help as much as they could.


Matthew Sherry, QDivision Software Engineer within UniGroup:

Tell us about your working experience as an apprentice.

The overall atmosphere is extremely welcoming and is accepting of people coming into the business with little coding knowledge. In this program, I’ve learned more about programming and working with others than my entire prior experiences combined.

In this program, I’ve learned more about programming and working with others than my entire prior experiences combined. Click To Tweet

What moments or stories stand out to you?

It was a surprising and positive experience hearing experts in the field confidently tell me they were challenged with something they were working on. With little knowledge on how to fix the problem, they would dive right in with me to learn how to better their own knowledge along with my own. Overall, I found the eagerness to learn more to be astounding.

I found the eagerness to learn more to be astounding.


Chris Reams, QDivision Software Engineer within UniGroup:

What do you like most about your apprenticeship?

My favorite thing about this program was working alongside other driven people with a shared love of technology. I had previously only experienced coding in a solo environment, so it was a great shift to be a part of a team. This experience with collaboration especially prepared me for life as a software developer.

This experience with collaboration especially prepared me for life as a software developer.


John Williams, QDivision Software Engineer within UniGroup:

How did you first learn about LaunchCode?

Word of mouth! I learned about LaunchCode from an acquaintance who also went through the program.

Can you share some highlights of the apprenticeship program?

The day we had our first production release to our users was really cool. Being able to say we had delivered value to our users and show the results of our hard work and learning was very exciting. For me, it was the first application I had made that would be consumed by an actual userbase.

 

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