The Junior Associate (JA) program at Sparq gives entry-level colleagues a supportive environment where you can learn the skills needed to be a consultant and true partner to our clients, while getting comfortable with working in an Agile team setting. Learn why the JA program can give you the experience needed to be successful in the technology field, regardless of your educational or professional background.
Sparq has very humble beginnings, starting way back in Arkansas in a small shop, or Shack, if you will. We started with that one Development Center, and now we’re up to 10 Development Centers across the continental USA. With those 10 Development Centers, we have over 900 colleagues. So, a big part of our mission is to create jobs in America, in Middle America, if you will—those software development jobs that wouldn’t typically otherwise exist. And in doing that, we realized that there was a gap in the training that was available for students.
So, the students would get this conceptual training, but they weren’t always getting the hands-on practical experiential training, if you will. And we created our Junior Associates program to fill that gap. It’s a 16-week program where we bring you in, we have some structure, we have a curriculum that we put you through. As part of the structure, we’ll have you partnered with a manager, a JA manager who’s going to act like a mentor, who’s really going to hold your hand and walk through the program. And it’s not volunteer work, right? So, as a junior associate, you get paid $18 an hour, and you have an opportunity initially to work about 20 to 25 hours, with the opportunity to go up to 40 hours, provided that your curricular studies allow you to do that. And then, hopefully, at the end of the program, we’re going to ask you to join us as a full-time consultant.
One of the things that makes this program different is actually everything about it. We’re trying to think about how to make you a professional. We’re trying to think about developing those Professional Services skills—the technical skills that you have, for sure, we want to cultivate those. But we also want to develop your non-technical skills—the leadership skills, the communication skills, the soft skills, if you will. So, we’re not just doing this as a job; this is an investment in the junior associates. We care a great deal about you as individuals and also about developing your careers.
Hi, my name is Paula Russ. About five years ago, I went through the JA program, and today I’m an analyst one. It’s actually something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was very little. I grew up; there were no computers, no technology in the house. We had a rotary phone. I would always see them on TV working with computers, typing away and coding, and I wanted to do that. So, eventually, I went to school to do that. Being recruited into the JA program gave me access to resources that could help me build my confidence and help me grow within the company. Without the junior associate program, I’d still probably just be in my mom’s basement, you know, driving a cab. But this program definitely gave me the boost that I needed.
Hi, my name is Bianca Wright, and I’m a junior associate here at Rural Sourcing. I love Rural Sourcing because they’re a company of chances. When I first started out in the software industry field, it was very difficult to find employment because a lot of companies wanted an already established developer with so much experience, and I didn’t have that. Rural Sourcing gave me the ability to bring what I had, combined with school, the skills that I had prior, and to teach me technical things along the way. So yeah, I think that’s really great because you don’t see a lot of companies now doing that.
Women make up a really small percentage of individuals in a technical field, and then black women make up about three percent of that in the technical field. So when I came here, I was just so grateful to see so many women in higher positions, whether they were tech leads or project managers or senior-level developers. To see so many women, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that diversity with any company I interviewed for. And to feel like home and to have those same women kind of take me under their wing made me feel really great.
I’m Andrew Overholt. I’m a junior associate at Rural Sourcing in Augusta, Georgia. I’ve done many different jobs, but the most recent one was working with my parents at her restaurant. Then two summers ago, my parents got in a motorcycle accident, and I ended up taking over the restaurant because my mom wasn’t able to work. She was in the hospital for a little bit and then was basically in her bed for a while. I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but at the time, it was what I needed.
The environment is what made me decide that I wanted to work here. Coming in as a junior associate and now having worked here for several months, it’s only reaffirmed that everybody—I mean, it’s crazy—everybody is so friendly, and they offer to help. They’re so happy to help; everybody’s approachable. That has probably been the number one thing that attracted me to Rural Sourcing and makes me want to work here indefinitely.
So, the Junior Associate program really is an entry into a career path. If you want to be a part of something special, if you want to join a team in a culture that is incredibly supportive, we hope that you’ll come join. Check us out at the website noted below.
Getting Started with Generative AI-Assisted Coding
With numerous benefits to using Generative AI in coding, it’s no wonder so many organizations are harnessing this new technology to their advantage. If you haven’t started using Generative AI in coding yet, though, no need to fear. In this video, Chief Engineering Officer Janet Pierce shares three steps to help you get started with using generative AI in coding.
AI-Aided Product Engineering
AI-aided product engineering demonstrates a shift from the more traditional, development-focused use of AI. In this Tech in 2, Sparq Chief Technology Officer Derek Perry shares more about this concept and how it can help organizations with critical things like improving speed-to-market.
Better Software Development Through Collaborative Communication
Collaborative communication in software development is so important, as it helps you anticipate obstacles, figure out how to resolve them and ensure you have a well-rounded product. In this Tech in 2, Senior Consultant Jennifer Butler shares three keys to collaborative communication.
Learning From Old Code to Improve New Code
When faced with very old code, a developer might question “what were they thinking?” or “who would design something like this?” In reality, though, there’s actually a lot that can be learned from old code. In this Tech in 2, Principal Consultant Jeremy Swineheart shares three keys to learning from old code.