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LYONSCG University: The 5th Generation

Davis DeVries • July 26, 2018

A Recent Graduate

After graduating from the University of Michigan with my sights set on a career in web development, I had growing feelings of inadequacy despite the rousing commencement speech. Entry-level positions were fraught with lengthy lists of technical requirements involving the newest frameworks, toolkits, and adherence to emerging programming paradigms.

Despite my degree in Computer Science and prior internship experience, I began to feel overwhelmed and inadequate. However, I was determined to understand the landscape and map out the need-to-know technologies to be effective on day-one at my future position. I naively typed “Modern Web Application Development Roadmap” into Google and hit search. This attempt only heightened feelings of the imposter syndrome by leaving me with a bullet point list with the likes of Angular, Node.js, Express.js, understand serverless, server vs client-side rendering, Grunt vs Webpack, Gulp, TypeScript, transpilers, preprocessors, reactive and functional programming paradigms, MVC, and so on.

Luckily, I had a shift in perspective after stumbling across a talk given by Brenna O’Brien titled, “The Myth of the Real JavaScript Developer” where she addresses the cultural pressure to live up to the unrealistic standards of what it means to be a successful developer. An effective JavaScript developer is not “a magical creature who knows it all, writing perfect code in the hottest new framework without ever needing to stop and take a break,” but rather one who is simply resourceful, accepting, and creative. I felt reaffirmed and could immediately draw parallels to myself as a programmer as well as the experiences I had in group programming projects in my college courses. I distinctly remember intending to find a company whose culture celebrated these essentials.

A couple of months later, I left the LYONSCG booth at a career fair with that intention realized. The interactions to follow in the interview process only confirmed my initial belief that LYONSCG would be a company actively positioning me for high-value contribution in an environment of resourcefulness, acceptance, and creativity. After joining LYONSCG, I experienced this culture first-hand through a six-month development program for new Application Engineers on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform called LYONSCG University.

 

LYONSCG Developers are Resourceful

The presence of LYONSCG University itself was an immediate indication of a resourceful culture. Starting from day one, our class of newly hired Application Engineers were shown the path to certification on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform and given the necessary support to get us there. Dedicated and continuous mentorship from senior developers, daily scrum meetings, and a concrete curriculum broken down by week made it apparent that LYONSCG is serious about the success of its employees. We were continually encouraged to engage with each other as we worked through training tasks and to share our learning process when presenting mini-projects. It was an uplifting experience being surrounded by this learning energy.

I believe a common fault shared by many junior and senior developers is where one’s ego hinders their own, and their colleagues’ ability to learn. It’s hard for a person in any field in which he/she is supposed to be an expert to put aside his/her pride and ask that dumb question. I can attest that LYONSCG’s culture amongst developers naturally mitigates this problem through the nature of its organizational-wide developer chat groups. We were welcomed into them at the beginning of the LYONSCG U program and quickly exposed to a learning culture that was celebrated. Every question dropped in the chat is given a swift, positive reply no matter its technical scope.  It’s reassuring as a new hire and junior developer to see others have very similar questions, and it imparted on us that collectively sharing all questions within LYONSCG is highly valued.

 

LYONSCG Developers are Accepting

LYONSCG University starts with a two-week crash course covering the fundamentals of CS which provides valuable time to refresh base knowledge and ease into a routine within a new work environment. Naturally, none of us LYONSCG U “students” had exactly the same background with respect to technical education and experience when joining LYONSCG, and this time provided the flexibility to cover our weaknesses and solidify our strengths.

This theme continued as we progressed through the program completing tasks that switched between different areas of focus in the space of front-end and back-end development, build tools and specific SFCC platform knowledge. When finding ourselves done early, we were encouraged to expand on that activity through “extra-credit” exercises which were purposefully left open-ended to allow us to dive further into our strengths. Conversely, when touching on areas where we had no previous experience, we were given guidance, supported with positive feedback, and affirmed of our progress by our mentors. All wins and accomplishments were celebrated. Personally, at all times throughout LYONSCG U, I felt accepted with regards to my own strengths and weaknesses as a developer.

Additionally, LYONSCG follows through on the offer of a clear career path and growth plan. Throughout the training, the chance to speak on our specific interests within the realms of application development and internal processes as well as general consulting was adequately provided. The acceptance of our own ideas on our career development and personal interests was reassuring and is simply exciting as we all move forward to client work with our newfound experience.

 

LYONSCG Developers are Creative

The nature of LYONSCG’s holistic approach to commerce solutions is creative in and of itself. It takes the collective effort of many teams to discover requirements, architect a solution, and ultimately deliver a great experience that oftentimes falls within strict constraints.

When new creative solutions are considered and applied, we can deliver exceptionally well within these constraints. While I have only been exposed to interesting in-house development tools others have developed, I know creativity is actively celebrated on client work based on my experience in LYONSCG U.

With nearly every exercise throughout the training program, we were given the freedom to explore outside of the specified requirements and bullet points as I previously mentioned. We all had unique ways to approach the problems, and our creative solutions were met with a response where, for a moment, it felt like we became the teachers. We never encountered resistance to our individual thinking from our superiors. Whether it was incorporating new JavaScript or UI frameworks, utilization of new ES6 JavaScript features, or exploration of CSS animation techniques, these creative approaches were supported and encouraged.

 

Moving Forward

Looking back after six-months as a LYONSCG University graduate and certified Commerce Cloud developer, I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to join a team that is truly resourceful, accepting, and creative. I can’t wait to grow as a developer and make my mark on future client work while also knowing that any confusion I have will be put to rest by the wealth of resources that surround me. I’m reassured by the knowledge that my strengths and weaknesses as a developer will be accepted, and that LYONSCG will always position me to find greater success in my daily work. I move forward knowing that my creative ideas and opinions will be celebrated and that they will have a positive impact on the entire development organization and ultimately the continued successes of our clients.

 


Davis DeVries

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Davis DeVries

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