I’ve just returned to England after my first ThoughtWorks assignment – a 6 week training program at ThoughtWorks University in Bangalore.
ThoughtWorks University is a hothouse for new graduate recruits. You take a bunch of bright young budding software consultants, plant them in India for 6 weeks and give them just enough scaffolding, food and water to allow them to blossom into fully-fledged ThoughtWorkers able to go out into the wide world of a real consulting project.
The training program actually started 4 weeks before we even left the country, with a pre-course development task, which, under the guidance of a personal coach, allowed us coachees to determine our own strengths and weaknesses and focus our training on the areas that we felt we needed to improve. Upon arriving in Bangalore we were thrown straight into 2 weeks of training workshops and then split into project teams where we got a chance to work on a real development project for the remaining 4 weeks.
Having the opportunity to work on a real project was one of the highlights of the training program and was the biggest contributor to my understanding about what it’s like to work in an agile team. The TWU projects provided a safe environment within which we could make mistakes and learn from them and we were positively encouraged to make as many mistakes as possible. I gained a lot of valuable insight into my own personal development through working as part of a team and by the process of gathering continuous feedback from my fellow team members.
I found the entire experience both intense and invigorating. There’s a lot to take in over a relatively short time period (6 weeks is not as long as it sounds) but the coaching team did a really effective job at presenting the material in an engaging way and I got to meet a whole load of smart, creative, inspiring people from all over the world, with myriad backgrounds, who really contributed to the lasting memories I will take away from TWU.