Thoughtworks University — a place that allows you to make mistakes, learn and grow
Thoughtworks University (TWU) is a place for grads to gather for seven weeks and do projects together with other new joiners from all around the globe! The journey is separated into six phases, in each I learned something new and made some great friends.
Since we had people from around the globe in the virtual TWU gathering, the time zone difference couldn’t be avoided. We had to separate TWU into different regions. The one I was in was for APAC, which included Singapore, China, Australia and Thailand. But, even within the same region, time difference was still an issue. So, for me and my fellow Thai colleagues, we started TWU at 08:00 AM everyday.
Starting at TWU, I did face some challenges meeting many new people and working remotely. I had to speak English (the main language) all day and I found this a little tricky. In the beginning I was really quiet. I didn’t feel comfortable yet and also had a language barrier. I felt a bit nervous about making mistakes. It took me around two weeks to overcome this, and as I got more and more confident, things got easier.
My TWU class of more than 20 people was split into two teams. Each team had trainers who supported us and assigned us different roles including developer, quality analyst, business analyst and experience designer. I was a Dev on Team 1: Bubble Blast! We named it Bubble Blast because we all love bubble tea. It’s cute, isn’t it?
This is my team. We love bubble tea and a cat!
Get to know
This was the time to be adaptive because my teammates didn’t know who I was and I didn’t know who they were. We had many things to learn about each other.
At first, I was not very talkative. I was really quiet and so were my teammates. But when we had our social gatherings, we had someone there to break the ice. He really saved the team’s atmosphere. After two weeks, we all talked too much.
Since we were working together eight hours a day, we quickly got familiar with each other. We had a session called Team Connection, where we’d play games and talk. Sometimes, we turned the Zoom call into a party. We also had Bubble Tea day every Friday, where we ordered bubble tea and hung out together.
Outside working hours, we had many team activities. One was game night. We’d play Among Us and Spyfall while enjoying the extra time getting to know each other better. This is one of the activities that I really enjoyed because I could talk more to my teammates and get more comfortable with them.
I was curious as to how we could work together if we had to do it on Zoom. Was it going to be effective? Thankfully, at TWU, you can experience a successful remote-working environment.
The way of working that I experienced was Agile ceremonies including sprint planning, daily stand-ups, showcases and retrospectives for each sprint.
When we were in the development phase we would do pair programming so that everyone on the team could share their knowledge, get familiar with each other through pair rotation and could do code reviews at the same time. At first, it was awkward because I didn’t know the other people and being on Zoom all the time was quite exhausting. But, as time passed, I started to love coding in pairs as it allowed me to get quick feedback on my work. My partner could spot if there was an issue in my code and I could fix it right away. Pairing also allowed us to discuss solutions that we were going to approach.
For me, I didn’t have much experience with writing tests so I learned a lot from that. It was quite fun for me.
My team trainer once said “If your test is hard to write then your code has a sign of problem”.
To be continued in part 3.
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.