While working with Aphid, there was only the two of us most of the time for a good 4 years or so. During this time, while I've grown so much as a Ruby developer, but at the same time I missed the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and mentor junior developers - we didn't have the capacity nor the need to hire juniors.
But last year, that's changed, I did meet few junior developers both at Aphid and at Fairfax.
During the last few months at Aphid, I was introduced to someone who was looking for a job - he was a friend of a friend. He said he wanted to get an IT job - any IT related job, he was quite desperate as he hasn't been able to find a job for awhile.
I thought the timing was right, I was planning to move on from Aphid and we had discussed about getting a junior dev to join us. And so we met with him and got him to stay and watch us in the office for a day, this way he can get a better idea of how we work and the things that we work on.
He had a little Rails experience, but he hasn't used it for awhile so we thought that it might be good for him to do some Rails refresh learning. We thought a week or two of full time Rails learning should be enough. My colleague offered him a paid trial period after that learning.
I really wanted him to succceed, so I lent him my Rails books. I got him to do a test Rails project and reviewed his code. I took him to RORO meetups and basicllay tried to be available as much as possible to him.
However in the end, to my dismay, he decided against pursuing the opportunity further, he thought he won't be able to do it. To me, I felt like I we have handed him a golden ticket to the wonderful world of Ruby programming and he declined it.
Maybe programming is not his thing after all and I should not judged, but I still think he hasn't gave it enough time and effort.
I guess, my advice is, if you are a junior or looking to get a break, seize the opportunity that allows you to learn from someone. Maybe you are shy or lack of confidence, maybe you are introvert - I get that, I am not an ongoing person myself, but getting a mentor or even better getting a chance to work on a commercial application is really valuable.
But to get that opportunity - you need to knock doors, ask friends, attend meetups and talk to people.
And by the way - this is an open invitation too, I said this to people that I met at RORO - I might not be able to get you a job - but if you want advice, code review or introduce you to people, feel free to contact me.
We can always chat over coffee - coffee is on me :) -> cemeng at gmail dot com.