The Base Two Apprenticeship

Satellite broadcasting into space

Back in August the entire Base Two team attended the Abstractions conference in Pittsburgh. Between the seven of us, we attended a ton of different sessions. One particular standout was Rachel Krantz’s presentation on apprenticeships. We had discussed starting an apprenticeship program at Base Two in the past, and Rachel’s talk finally got the ball rolling.

Base Two, excited to be at the Abstractions conference in August 2016. Base Two, excited to be at the Abstractions conference back in August 2016.

We made time for lengthy discussions about how to make our program mutually beneficial to the company and the apprentice, and how to ensure that we stayed true to our culture and values. What shook out were some baseline goals for the program:

  • Expand our internal technical knowledge through teaching
  • Stress test and improve our process
  • Increase our social footprint (blog posts, social media, networking)
  • Offset the apprenticeship costs via internal or billable work
  • Pay the apprentice fairly for their time
  • Give the apprentice full visibility into our processes including operations and decision-making
  • Provide the apprentice the experience and confidence necessary to be hired after the apprenticeship either by Base Two or by another company

Based on these goals, and our company culture, we arrived at the following structure:

  • 3 month employment duration
  • A total of $10,000 in compensation
  • Scheduled touchpoints throughout the day to answer questions and discuss status
  • Weekly co-working
  • Shadow each person on the team at least once
  • Inclusion in all Base Two activities (weekly meetings, quarterly meetings, reviews)
  • Hardware and software provided by Base Two
  • Benefits:
    • Paid holidays
    • Up to 5 days of vacation
    • Sick days as necessary

A note on compensation: We came up with this number by identifying a current competitive “junior developer” salary ($40,000) in Columbus, Ohio. We calculated three-month’s worth of that, and arrived at $10,000. Our first apprentice was based in Pittsburgh, which has very similar cost-of-living numbers to Columbus. We plan to adjust the initial salary number based on the current local cost-of-living for future apprentices.

Reed Dunkle, trailblazing Base Two Apprentice!

We are very excited to have finally started and are now halfway into our very first apprenticeship with Reed Dunkle. He has been an excellent guinea pig and has already given us great insight and feedback into how we can improve the program for future apprentices. As with all of our projects, we’ll be iterating and improving this process as we go. Over the next few weeks Reed will be publishing his own blog posts about his experience so far. Stay tuned!