MAXX Potential

''Consistency and endurance pays off in the end.'' - Words from Alum, Ali Tahir

Ali Tahir

Alumni Success Story: Ali Tahir

 

Ali worked as an Apprentice for over six months, gaining valuable on-the-job tech experience before he exited MAXX Potential to work at General Electric Corporation.

What were you doing before MAXX Potential? What drew you to pursue a career in technology?

Before MAXX, I was an event manager and the owner/operator of a catering solutions company I started as an undergraduate student while studying experimental psychology with a focus on behavior research and stats analysis. 

What drew me into technology was an opportunity to revisit some passions I had since grade school, specifically building computers, understanding technology, and developing my casual programming hobbies into a full-time career. 

I completed a software engineering bootcamp in April 2021, and in October 2021, I was hired by MAXX Potential.

Can you talk about what you’re currently working on? What are some of your job responsibilities?

When MAXX placed me at General Electric Corporation (GE) in December 2021, my team was in the beginning of the SDLC, planning a stack change of 14 APIs from their Java code to NodeJS. 

Our goal was to rewrite the APIs, using best practices where possible and trying to replicate existing end user behavior. I was responsible for rewriting some of the smaller APIs by separating functionality into modular parts (controllers, services, servers, routers, etc), creating a Docker image of the projects for deployment, setting up our CI/CD pipelines, and testing. 

My recent responsibilities have included setting up mutual TLS between our applications and external sources using Envoy service proxy.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your current role?

I am fortunate to work with experienced software developers, and I find it very rewarding to work together towards a common goal. That’s how I like to bring value to my team. 

It feels good to assist my teammates with tasks, and on some occasions, teach them about technology and concepts I worked on while rewriting an API or setting up the security infrastructure of our pipelines.

How do you keep your skills up to date? What’s the best way to learn new concepts, technologies, programming languages, etc.?

GE sets bi-annual performance goals that help me keep my skills up to date. I set goals with realistic markers to keep me motivated to stay up to speed. For me, the best way to learn new technology and languages is to start building something with it. 

In some respect, you have to dive right in because it’s only when you approach it hands-on that you get a sense of how these things work, and tutorials and classes can only take you so far. They’re certainly helpful, but the best thing to do is to make something with the technology you’re interested in.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone early in their IT career or looking to get their start?

Consistency and endurance pays off in the end. Stick with it. From the early days of the pandemic till I got hired at MAXX, there were plenty of moments where I felt like throwing in the towel because the material seemed too complicated to learn, or job hunting was incredibly demoralizing. 

Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and even now at my job, there are still days where trying to figure out how things work at GE makes me feel like a “puny hu-mon.” 

If you’re looking to get your start, remember to be kind to yourself and get comfortable with being in an “unknown space” a lot of the time. Building that muscle will help you endure.

MORE BLOG POSTS

Building vs. Buying Talent: Which is right for you?

By The Team at MAXX

Many IT executives are routinely faced with decisions on whether to build vs. buy when it comes to critical business applications (There’s a great post on that topic here), but how can you apply this framework to your talent strategy? Should you build or buy the necessary talent to grow your team? Our take: as with enterprise software, a winning approach involves applying a strategic framework and the capacity to do both.

Is there anything more strategic than your culture and talent strategy?

It makes sense to buy talent, and by that, we mean paying market premiums for experienced professionals, when the role requires advanced skills such as prior leadership experience, industry knowledge, and a deep technical track record. When a candidate has amassed a resume of skills and experience, your investment decision is based on how they can integrate into your organization, and the immediate value they can add in terms of increased revenue or implementing cost-savings strategies.

For entry-level positions, however, turnover should be higher if you are finding capable and driven employees, and the selection process is less straightforward. You are looking for motivated individuals with the ability to become that senior professional one day. Integrating a build approach into your talent strategy is a long-term investment that will set your organization up for success and pay off well into the future.

The Unique Challenges of Entry-level Roles

Buying talent for entry-level roles can seem like a faster option initially, but it becomes more costly when you have to do it over and over again (as you should). On the surface these roles may seem less strategic, and can also consume a disproportionate amount of training time and recruiting expense to keep them staffed. Downtime for even the most junior roles is costly and presents an operational risk.

  1. Hiring
    Entry-level candidates are lacking the years of experience that are sought after for more senior roles. This makes a traditional resumé the least valuable tool in making a selection. At this stage you are looking for two things: value-alignment and aptitude. These are hard to measure, and the cost of a mistake at this stage is high.
  2. Developing
    Mentoring entry-level talent takes time and attention away from experienced employees who are already at capacity. Many organizations also lack the capacity and budget to build a custom training program that includes dedicated full-time staff who are skilled, not only in their technical craft, but in the art of mentoring.
  3. Retaining
    High-potential employees are seekers of continuous growth and learning opportunities. Building a structured process for upskilling requires far more than purchasing a library of self-study training material (Don’t we have the Internet for that?). Most savvy leaders know that investing in their team creates a culture of continuous learning and growth that people will stick around for.

MAXX Potential was built by industry leaders who experienced these challenges first-hand and created a solution. Organizations have a need to invest in entry-level recruiting in order to grow their teams without taking away from other strategic imperatives. MAXX has cultivated a strong pipeline along with a supporting infrastructure specific to entry-level enterprise technology roles. We seek out people who have the potential and desire to break into the technology industry, and work with them to develop the skills needed to thrive in your organization. Our goal is to fill entry-level technology roles with people who are worth investing in and have the capability to contribute to your organization in a way that is meaningful starting day one.

Let Us Take these Entry-level Challenges Off Your Plate

While we aren’t a fit for ALL of your talent needs, what we do at MAXX Potential, we do really well. As a partner, we offer effective solutions for filling entry-level technology roles with the least amount of risk and disruption.

With guaranteed backfill of vacated roles, customized on-the-job training, ongoing mentor support and zero conversion fees to hire at any time, MAXX Potential would be an impactful addition to your overall talent strategy. Contact us today.

OUR THOUGHTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

Apprenticeships & Internships

Is there a difference?

By Kim Mahan

While most educators and workforce development professionals are very familiar with these terms, working in the entry-level talent development space, we often hear them used interchangeably by industry professionals, parents, and students. So what exactly is the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship? The more relevant follow-up question is, “If I’m trying to break into the industry, which should I choose?”

First, the difference:

The easiest way to think about it is that internships are typically short-term work engagements designed to enhance an academic learning experience. They can be paid or unpaid, and are often structured as a full-time summer job, or part-time semester-long experience. The student’s primary focus is on their education, which is enhanced by supplemental exposure to actual work environments and industry professionals. Basically, school comes first, supplemented by work experience to apply their classroom knowledge learned in a professional environment.

Apprenticeships, on the other hand, are a very different approach toward embarking upon a new career and are often the preferred pathway for skilled trades. In an apprenticeship, the focus is on gaining work experience first, with close supervision and guidance by a more experienced professional in addition to supplemental coursework on the side.

Even though IT Professionals spend a good portion of their time at a keyboard, most skilled technologists view themselves as craftspeople and the progression of skill development more closely resembles that of a skilled trade than other traditional “knowledge workers.” Based on our experience, skills are best developed by working on actual problems where there isn’t an answer key in the back of the book, or “Time in code.” By starting off in a support role, for example, an Apprentice is exposed to multiple applications written by more experienced developers. They get to see how a more experienced developer thought about the problem, and how systems fit together.

Challenges:

The challenges with internships are that there just aren’t enough to go around. Every student would benefit from gaining hands-on work experience to help their resumé stand out and further their career. Unfortunately, given the talent shortage, there are not enough employers with readily available professionals to help mentor and guide beginners.

As far as apprenticeships go, they are not all created equal, and you should shop around. The apprenticeship model has existed for centuries, and in some cases has gotten a bad reputation. Even today there are apprenticeship programs that require extensive time commitments or income share agreements that affect the short-term earning potential of an Apprentice.

So which approach is best for me?

The short answer is, it depends. It depends on where you are at in life, your financial situation, and your learning style. These past two years have made it clear that it’s essential to take control of your journey to maximize your potential both professionally and personally. At the end of the day, success in any field requires both knowledge AND skill. It really boils down to the order in which you acquire them, and what you can afford. If you are eligible for grants, or the ability to pay, a higher education experience can add valuable credentials to your resumé. If you’re thinking about signing loan papers, however, an apprenticeship is likely to produce far greater long-term economic outcomes. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs should you decide to pursue a degree later. Most hiring managers in the technology field are looking for examples of your work more than anything.

Take The Next Step With MAXX Potential!

At MAXX we have invested in building out equitable pathways for both seeking a technology internship experience, and a proven paid apprenticeship program for full-time career-seekers.

If IT is your passion and you are ready to jumpstart your career, MAXX Potential is ready to give you that boost. Our growing alumni network has given us the opportunity to mentor some of the nation’s best technologists, who are working at some of the world’s best companies.

For those looking to learn more about the real-world experience that can be gained from a MAXX Potential Apprenticeship, join our next Career Lab!

OUR THOUGHTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.