Raffaella is part of our People Culture team, working to craft an employee experience that can nurture engagement in the workplace, thus sustaining productivity, innovation, customer satisfaction, and, on a personal level, happiness and wellbeing.
Leveraging the competencies and the skills that we have in-house in our Technology Function, we pulled together an internal training programme that we call “Continuous Learning”. Here are some of the topics covered: High-Quality Software and Test Driven Development, Working Effectively with Legacy Code, DevOps and our Platform, Secure Software Development Lifecycle, and Event-driven Architecture. The courses in the Continuous Learning programme are highly interactive and hands-on, and activities, exercises, and discussions are carried out in a group setting, or in pairs, in order to maximise learning. This kind of live training session spans two or four half days in a remote setting or one or two days when we deliver them in presence, and are delivered when there is demand.
The programme is made possible by our colleagues who prepare and deliver the training (they are working in the Company as software engineers, architects, data scientists, etc., and they made themselves available to also deliver training because they care very much about the professional growth of others), supported by a core group of colleagues working on the programme from an organisational perspective (communications, logistics, scouting for topics and internal trainers). The development of soft/transferable skills, which you didn’t see mentioned in the list above, is instead supported centrally for the entire company by our Corporate Learning & Development team, and for this reason is not covered by the tech “Continuous Learning” Programme.
Training is only the starting point of the journey to mastery. Attending the Coding Dojo is one of the ways to practice what is covered during the live training.
A Coding Dojo is a meeting where people get together to work on a programming challenge that usually stresses or emphasises a given practice (such as TDD, refactoring, etc.). The meeting is two hours long, and it happens every other week during our FriYAYs. In terms of content, problems are different every time, so they are challenging in different ways. Ordinarily, the attendees work in pairs in separate breakout rooms for a given amount of time, then meet at the end for a short retrospective. The idea behind the Coding Dojo is that to become good at anything, you have to practice and repeat, practice and repeat, until the technique becomes intuitive (those old enough to remember Karate Kid will know the drill!). We refer to this kind of practice as “Deliberate Practice” because it is not mindless repetition: it’s purposeful and systematic, with the goal of improvement.
Informal Knowledge Sharing Sessions
It takes a good amount of effort and confidence to prepare and facilitate sessions for the Coding Dojo or for the Continuous Training programme. There is a lot of expert knowledge in the Company, and it isn’t always the case to channel it into those formats to share it: this is where our informal knowledge sharing sessions, the Crash Courses and the LM Talks, come into play. Have a read to the next blog post to discover more about them!