Digital Gap Year – Structure

This is naturally a work in progress so please provide feedback in comments.

Engagement with prospective Digital Gap Year participants and their families, possibly involving schools via careers counsellors should occur during their final year of high school. This isn’t essential but it will help to build momentum and peer group interest.

Participants will apply to participate via an online mechanism.

Costs of participation will be spelt out and opportunities for sponsorship and scholarships will be presented.

Barriers to entry are intended to be low:

  • Participants must be 18 or older
  • Participants must have reasonable IT skills
  • Participants must bring a laptop or tablet

An attempt to achieve gender balance and diversity will be made and the programme will be promoted widely.

There will be some general rules:

  • Business workplace standards of behaviour are required
  • Participants must treat each other with courtesy respect
  • They must treat mentors, program staff and advisors as they would a workplace manager
  • Brogrammer behaviour and harassment will not be tolerated
  • Intellectual property must be respected and rights not infringed
  • Privacy and security must be respected and not infringed

After the selection process the participants will gather for an induction into a “boot camp” period to bring participants to a common level in a number of important areas and to assess their skills and aptitude in specialist areas.

Workplace social standards and ethics will be discussed as part of explaining the DGY Workplace Policy Documents that each participant will be required to agree to and sign.

Personal development topics including health, online conduct and other “soft” skills will be covered in tutorial sessions.

Participants will then be formed into groups with a mentor who will help everyone get to know each other.

There will be introductions to the standard technology industry tools like using Google, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Office365, Slack, Trello, Discord, Ruby and the classic LAMP stack elements: Linux, Apache, Mysql and Perl.

Introductions to the local coworker and incubator spaces will be conducted.

The mentor will facilitate the discovery of some example problems to solve and will help participants to develop the skills needed.

This boot camp phase should take about a month after which the teams will be brought together to share their experiences and perform a retrospective meeting to help improve the DGY experience.

At the beginning of the next phase, participants will be introduced to some practical problems and new teams formed, facilitated using skills matrices and other tools.

Some teams may work on problems for not-for-profit organisations or charities while others may collaborate with businesses.

Some participants may move to collaboration partner business premises or to some suitable coworker environment.

Teams will meet with a mentor from time to time.

It isn’t intended that DGY becomes an unpaid intern programme. The collaboration partner may pay the participants for their work in which case the partner will own the intellectual property created but if they don’t it will remain the property of the team members under a suitable license. Opportunities for paid work will be pursued and facilitated but participants will have to use their own initiative too.

During the programme it is also likely qualified teachers or facilitators will offer optional classes, possibly for a fee. These may be conducted by or in local coworker spaces or incubators.

The problem solving experience is likely to take two or three months to complete. On completion the teams will again be brought together to share their experiences and perform a retrospective meeting to help improve the DGY experience.

Things will become somewhat more free-form at this point with travel, training and project options opening up depending on participant’s skills and financial means.

See further posts to discuss how that should work.

What do you think so far? What sort of license should we use? Leave a comment about this or anything else on this page.

Author: bigjsl

I help smart business people use technology better. I’m a consultant and company director. I love the Internet, technology, electric cars and improving businesses. I love working with smart people who get stuff done. I understand the minds of geeks and can lead and manage them to produce amazing results. Send me a message if you want to talk about a project.

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