This blog was written by Jacob Bernard, an apprentice at EduSource and a junior at Taylor University. Jacob frequently speaks in song lyrics, and he really enjoys cinnamon on a variety of foods.
I’m an apprentice at EduSource, which means that I’m still in college working to get a degree in computer science. Throughout my time at college, I’ve had my fair share of something that I think the whole world has agreed to loathe: group projects.
Over countless group projects at school, I’ve learned how the system works. The bottom line is always the class grade, and the only obstacle is the approval of the teacher. Amidst the insane busyness of college life, the trick is to put enough work into a project that your professor won’t notice any sloppiness in the 5 minutes that he or she spends looking it over. And the whole time you’re working on the project you know that if something goes wrong, you can always fall back on your grade from the tests and other class assignments to pull you through.
I suppose I expected things to be similar here at EduSource: putting just enough work into each project to slide it by the scrutiny of the customer before we walk away. I was wrong.
Here at EduSource, we are building projects that matter.
Quickly after beginning my apprenticeship, I was surprised and impressed by the amount of responsibility I was given. Even while I was still trying to figure out how to use copy and paste on a Mac, I was given real tasks that were fundamental to the project. And was expected not just to do them, but to do them on time and to do them well.
I realized that in our work here the goal was not ensuring an acceptable class grade or sneaking sloppy or unfinished work past a tired professor, but rather the thorough satisfaction of the customer. Unlike school projects, which once turned in will likely never be touched or seen again, the projects we complete at work will have to be used and maintained by good, hard working people for years or even decades to come.
Suddenly, it isn’t enough to provide functionality however we can hack it together. Usability and accessibility and aesthetics become wholly important, because any misplaced button or mislabeled field will cause endless frustration to our users week in and week out as they navigate our site. Sloppy work on our end means annoyed customers and loss of business for our clients. And we can rest assured that every late night and every code review—every ounce of ourselves that we put into our product—will not go unnoticed by our clients or by their customers. Though our hard work might not convert to a bright red “A” on a report card or a college degree in a few years, we must take responsibility for our work and take pride in our quality because we know it will impact the lives of our users.
Here at EduSource, our projects matter because they will be used by people who matter.