Rural Sourcing From The Source: Student’s Perspective
Listening to the concept behind Rural Sourcing can be stimulating, but do the benefits truly have enough long-term benefits to warrant changing a business plan to adhere to it? I’ll leave you to decide that after you finish studying. Meanwhile, I can provide another piece of evidence that supports just such a claim.
I am a student and first met the Rural Sourcing concept almost two years ago, and joined with it shortly thereafter. Allen Hurst’s post about the effectiveness of students only seemed to apply for a short period of time. It is completely true that there are many tasks in a project that my less experienced self can tackle without any problem, but I have also seen how being allowed to grow and learn through those small tasks has built me up to the ability to tackle harder, more complex problems. Rural Sourcing has provided me with the opportunity to become a productive member of a development team.
So, I’ve been able to learn the novice ropes. Big deal, everyone has to eventually, right? The real catch is how this learning applies to me while I’m concurrently in the middle of schooling. A sort of dual relationship explodes that allows me to contribute to the IT society from a younger age than I would have been able to without it. I have heard many comments about graduating computer scientists trying to get into the industry while being able to name the big-O runtime of an algorithm without ever having used a simple unit test or understanding the lifecycle of a project.
While I learn practical skills at my workplace, I gain a concrete base to apply on the abstract concepts from my classes which allows me to grasp those concepts at a more useable and retainable level than my fellow students. Likewise, this increased level of learning allows me to immediately turn around and apply my discoveries to the projects I am working on. This is possible because of the practical experience I have obtained and do not have to be trained to understand after my graduation, thereby taking up another year or two’s worth of my life and my company’s money before I am legitimately productive. It has been my experience in this field and others that using the knowledge you obtain on something concrete before it begins to fade is the fastest way to retain it as wisdom. Thus, I may be somewhat biased, but I have come to see Rural Sourcing as a wise approach to building tomorrow’s developers, rather than today’s technology.