Announcing the Detroit Labs QA Apprenticeship Program

UPDATE: APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

In 2011 our founders had a wild idea: create a technology company focused on human elements, where people would love to work. The goals were pretty simple: build high quality software, have the freedom to learn, teach, and explore new technology, and give every team member visibility and a voice in company decisions.

Since 2014, we have run four developer-focused apprenticeship programs that started from an equally wild idea: what if we find individuals with the will and desire to make a drastic change and hire, pay, and teach them, from scratch, the skills we need? Graduates of our programs work on every team at Detroit Labs, as well as working at multiple client sites through our OnSite program.

Lately, we’ve been thinking about where to go from here… and there are so many opportunities to work in technology beyond being a developer.

Introducing the Detroit Labs QA Apprenticeship Program: an 8-week training that will teach you all the skills you need to become a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. Successful graduates of this 8-week program will join our OnSite team. As a member of this group, you’ll work on a client site within their teams and play an important role in ensuring the quality of software used by the masses. And since you’re part of the Detroit Labs family, you’ll have access to career development and mentoring, the ability to command a salary that reflects your talent level, and the opportunity to be a part of a great group of people.

Interested in our developer apprentice program? Stay tuned! We're working hard on the next program and hope to announce dates in March.


What does it mean to work in QA?

As a QA engineer you will ensure the overall quality of an app from the beginning of each project to its completion. Our QA role is responsible for protecting quality by creating acceptance criteria, setting up tools, and devising systems for working with developers, designers, and project managers so that the requirements, expectations, and defects can be clearly and easily communicated and resolved. QA engineers test features and search for bugs, and are intimately involved with a project from start to finish. QA engineers add the layer of security that makes sure our apps are exactly what they are expected to be.

Why QA?

If you're interested in getting into tech, QA is a fulfilling and technical avenue to begin your career. Quality Analysts are involved in pulling apart and bringing to life ideas that are in the hands of millions of users. It’s an extremely satisfying and strategic role.

What skills do successful QA engineers have?

  • Curiosity
  • Organization
  • Ability to understand complex issues and state them simply
  • An analytical or logical mindset, where you enjoy breaking down problems and learning how things work
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to find bugs and communicate them effectively-- communication and interpersonal skills are incredibly important
  • If you notice all of your friends’ grammar mistakes on social media, this may be the role for you

Selection Process

The first step in our selection process is a written application, known as the “Getting to Know You” (GTKY). The GTKY, as you’ll see below, is extensive. We are interested in learning about you, how you solve problems, how you articulate yourself, and what really makes you tick. Our selection team will review all applications and choose 20-30 candidates to bring in for in-person interviews. Additional details will be provided to candidates who are selected to interview.

The Course

Weeks 1-4: Learn to Code
While you don’t need to know how to code before joining the program, it is an important skill for any technical role on a development team. As a QA, writing automated tests, scripts, or checking out a developer’s pull request involves looking at code. We want to set you up for success and make sure you are able to understand what you are looking at, and give you the tools to provide developers with useful feedback.

Weeks 4-8: Fundamentals of Quality Assurance
The remaining four weeks will focus on team skills, including Agile workflow, tools and technologies (e.g. JIRA), conflict management, and communication. There will also be fundamental QA tasks, including collaboratively developing acceptance criteria, creating a test plan, writing test cases, manual testing, and test automation.

Expectation

Our intent is to choose an apprentice class with the best possible chance for success, and we hope to promote 100% of our apprentices to full-time QA status. However, the apprentice program runs for a maximum of eight weeks and apprentices must demonstrate success at designated points throughout the apprentice program in order to maintain their status. Individuals that do not meet performance criteria or are not successful at the end of the program will not continue on at Detroit Labs.

Our apprentice programs are incredibly demanding, and incredibly rewarding. This is a lot of hard work and a full-time commitment to succeed. There is also a tremendous amount of competition to get into the program; be sure you are ready for this commitment before applying.

Compensation

Apprentices will receive a weekly stipend throughout the 8-week program, equivalent to an annual salary of $25,000 per year. Your full responsibility and daily work as an apprentice will be to master the materials taught. Training will take place at or near our downtown Detroit headquarters.

There are five salary raises built into the apprenticeship program. You’ll be eligible for the first one immediately upon graduating from the apprenticeship program. Once you've been placed on an OnSite client team your salary will be raised again, to a level determined by the specific client you are placed at, but will be no less than $32,000 per year. At this time you will be eligible for the full Detroit Labs OnSite benefits package, including medical, dental, 401k with match, disability, PTO, parental leave, etc. During the first 18 months of employment, apprentice graduates receive performance reviews and commensurate salary increases every 6 months.

Placement

We have a team dedicated to not only working with each apprentice, but also towards the placement of every apprentice who graduates. We put a lot of time and energy into our OnSite team, providing constant support, opportunities for learning, and paths to career growth. We make sure that each team member will be working within a client and a team that reflect our values.


Important Dates

Applications open: Jan. 9 Applications close: Jan. 20
Interview invitations to selected candidates: Jan. 27
In-person interviews, Round 1: Feb. 1
In-person interviews, Round 2: Feb. 3
Selections announced: Feb. 6
Program start date: Feb. 27
Program end date: Apr. 21

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

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