Acquia U graduates

Do you remember what your first day on the job was like? Maybe it begins with an orientation by an HR administrator; where is the coffee, how do I get on the intranet, where is my nerf gun? For many software companies it goes more like “Here’s a link to the wiki, version control creds are in your email, try not to screw anything up.” As a self-made scrapper, I can totally respect a DIY orientation. Many consider it the first test, is the person ready to take initiative and figure things out for themselves? My first day at Acquia three and a half years ago was in this vein.

Planning for growth

As an organization gets larger though, the processes and roles become more complex and harder to adapt to. To react to this reality and to continuing hiring and developing stellar talent, we embarked on a new project 6 months ago called Acquia U.

Kay Van Valkenburgh and I took eight aspiring web developers and gave them six weeks of intensive training followed by two 6-week on-the-job training rotations through different departments at Acquia.

Basic training

The training portion of the program is rooted in the Agile development methodology where the participants choose, execute, demo, retrospect, and blog about projects every week. If you’re interested in how the program was designed, I encourage you to read my post on Agile in the classroom and check out the video of my talk at DrupalCon Devner.

To conclude the training, there was an all-company demo where they showed off the body of their work and themselves. I cannot speak enough to the hard work, creativity, teamwork and intelligence of this group. But on top of that, it would not have been possible without the amazing team at Acquia who participated in their development. To quickly name a few:

Thrown into the water

After the training phase, the Ubies (as they were affectionately called) entered into on-the-job training rotations in different departments. This was not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather each role was crafted uniquely to highlight the abilities of each individual and provide them with appropriate challenges for their career growth. Here are some of the highlights of those rotations:

In addition, they worked on some of the most high-profile and complex Drupal sites in the world and provided Acquia’s exceptionly high level of support for customers.

Please congratulate all the Acquia U graduates on their first week on their “new” jobs in client advisory and cloud operations! To keep up with their journey within Acquia, you can follow them on twitter.

Originally published at on June 21, 2012.

Jacob Singh
CTO in residence at Sequoia Capital. Independent product and Engineering Coach Mediocre guitarist, singer, rock climber, point guard and baker Dedicated dad. American in New Delhi.
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