Leonardo Da Vinci’s Wanted: The Atelier reBORN

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Wanted: The Atelier reBORN

By: Adam Weissman, Back End Associate Developer at BORN Group

For boot camp grads and those early in their tech careers, the conventional
“job-seeker” wisdom is often less about lighting the spark that will make your star burn brightest, but finding a stepping stone that isn’t so slippery that your ambitions are extinguished before your journey even begins. In other words, they say, “Get into a training program, apprenticeship, or junior position as prestigious as possible, so that a second job will be the reward for the first.” While that mindset might be “practical” it disregards that not all training programs are about transforming you from a round peg to fit a square hole, and not all “stepping stones” are for crossing streams — some are for climbing mountains. 

Would-be associates at any company should consider the larger ecosystem of talent, and people they’ll be working with and learning from.

But how do you know if a company is just for crossing a stream, or the mountain to climb? It comes down to whether the associate training program is a factory or an atelier. The atelier, as mentioned here, is best represented in its ideal ‘graduates:’ the Leonardo Da Vincis, Michelangelos, Raphaels, and many more whose work you know, but names you’ve never heard of. The emphasis and goal of the High Renaissance atelier (1490s-1527) was to produce work worthy of the top art patrons of the day. In 2021, we might substitute art commissions for eCommerce builds, and the patrons for today’s leading brands. 

The BORN Associate Program IS the modern equivalent to the renaissance atelier. The analogy starts with each project-build destined to be its own masterpiece, but goes further with each of BORN’s Practices serving as a quarry; with each custom build: Arctic Fox, Bulldog, Eagle, or Bison (supporting leading eCommerce platforms spanning; Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce Cloud, SAP Customer Experience, or Shopify Plus) acting as a slab of marble waiting to take life. 

But the atelier is truly reborn in the relationships forged by associates with each other, and the Tech Leads that raise them up. In the 2021 class of Salesforce Associates, Tech Leads Matt Meagher and Chris Connell mentored the associates on the nuances of platform-specific problem-solving. Answering questions like; what can go right and what can go wrong, as well as passing down “unwritten documentation” and debugging techniques the way a Master Sculptor might illuminate secrets from one generation to the next. 

“Documentation can teach you only so much. Hands-on experience with the platform, day-to-day tools, and problem-solving techniques is where the real true comprehension happens,” stated Chris Connell, SFCC Tech Lead at BORN Group. 

“I tell anyone confused on how something works to ‘follow the path.’ Not sure what this is doing? What code is it using? What code is that using? Being able to trace that usually leads to discovery. I show them how the codebase can become documentation,” added Matt Meagher, Front End Tech Lead at BORN Group.

Lastly, the BORN Associate Program not only sets new hires on track to realize their potential as technicians with trade tools like Javascript, The Salesforce Platform, Git, and beyond — the way in which Leonardo Da Vinci or Raphael would’ve been masters of mixing their own paints and “techniques of the brush” — but as artisan problem solvers capable of conquering legacy code from pre-built solutions, similar to how Michelangelo might’ve had to reimagine and reengineer St. Peter’s Basilica after 40 years of construction and five earlier architects.

“We are creating a work environment where we consistently identify our team’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values by maintaining open, effective communication and ongoing encouragement. Based on these assessments we regularly promote new roles and responsibilities to challenge each one of us within the organization,” stated Kevin Yao, Salesforce Practice Lead at BORN Group.

And so, as the BORN Associate Program brings the atelier ‘full circle’, we come back to the point of those bootcamp grads and early tech-career starters that might be wondering, “Where do I go from here?” If you’re looking for a program that will help you realize your potential, where once you ‘graduate’ to production work every project is as its own commission, where the work you do is always fresh, then keep an eye out on BORN’s career page for updates surrounding the next Associate Program.

“Fostering a learning-based culture is paramount to growth, retention and satisfaction. Watching the new energy brought in by each batch of associates is infectious. The maturation of those leading the program gain each go-around is inspiring. The unbridled success of this program is inspiring adoption in other capabilities and geographies. I am personally excited to see the growth that comes out of these types of efforts in the coming years!” stated Dustin Holmstrom, Head of Digital Architecture, North America at BORN Group.

Tapping Into the Developer Ecosystem: The BORN Associate Training Program

Tapping Into the Developer Ecosystem: The BORN Associate Training Program

Across the tech industry, employee turnover year over year stands at a stiff 13.2%, a high among verticals that reveals how volatile finding and keeping the right talent can be1. It only gets more difficult when capturing developers in specialized fields like eCommerce given that the space requires individuals well-versed and certified in the wider platform ecosystem. As an agency, we soon realized the challenge in matching our rapid growth with an equally rapid hiring process – there were only so many developers that were certified for the use-cases we needed. 

That’s why we here at BORN Group have developed the Associate Training Program to cultivate talent internally and broaden our hiring capabilities. The program found its beginnings with BORN Group’s Head of Recruitment, Tiffany Ingersoll, who felt the acute pain of trying to cultivate a consistent stream of eCommerce-versed developers. Prior to BORN, she and Chris Connell, BORN’s SFCC Technical Lead, and Davis Devries, BORN Back End Developer, had experience in building Associate programs to hire and train more general developers to fill needed roles.

With the support of BORN Group’s Managing Director, North America, Minna Rhee, we were able to launch the program at the end of Q4 basing the initial launch out of BORN’s headquarters in New York, with a goal of welcoming new hires biannually. Prior to joining the program, our new team members were well versed across JavaScript, React, and other baseline skills, and then engaged in workshops to further their knowledge across the platforms we focus on.

With over sixty applicants, we ultimately hired 8 to participate in the program. Our new team members are a collection of curious and talented individuals, driven for the chance to polish their skill set and learn from BORN. The new program has proven to be an invaluable success that we look forward to replicating across other sectors of our business.

One participant of the Associate Training Program, Adam Weissman, spoke highly on the new opportunity citing, ‘I could not have imagined a more awesome kick-off to 2021 than this; since the moment I first learned about BORN and Tech Mahindra, what they’ve done, what they do, and the trailblazing work they’ll do in the future… I viewed them not only as a company but as something of a destination.’ BORN was a place that Adam felt he could be a brand evangelist from the get-go, and it is thanks to the Associate Training program that we have him with us today. 

With the Associate Training Program accepting its first round of applicants, we’re excited to see how we can better foster talent throughout the greater developer network. Adam’s words as well as the work of the team at large have proven to be a great milestone into fully fleshing out a process for internal hiring and education. We’re looking forward to the next round of our Associate Training program, slated in Q2, to cultivate new Business Analyst talent for the year.



1 Employee Attrition Rate, March 25th, 2020  https://devskiller.com/attrition-rate-in-tech/