This document explains the role of Lead Academy Instructor. The Lead Academy Instructor is a permanent role with the Academy team at Infinity Works. This guide sets out what is expected of you when performing the role.
What is the Neil Jennings Academy?
If you would like to find out more about this programme, you can read about it here.
What is a Lead Academy Instructor?
The Lead Academy Instructor is a full-time role that leads the delivery of multiple Academy programmes each year. These programmes are crucial in helping us train our new Associate Consultants to become full-stack consultant software engineers for Infinity Works.
The role plays a key part in continuing the growth and development of the Infinity Works Academy. As of late 2020, it was the first full-time instructor role we created aiming to increase the consistency, sustainability and longevity of the Academy. The role provides a constant that remains in place across programmes and brings with it the wider context and experience of what makes our Academy successful. The role, in working alongside the Academy Instructors who join for one or two programmes, balances the most up-to-date experience and fresh ideas that Academy Instructors bring, with the need to have repeatability and strategic direction taken into account as well.
It's worth noting that the reasoning behind not making all the Academy Instructor roles permanent is twofold. Firstly, rotating the Academy Instructors on a regular basis means the Academy programme can continue to draw on the experience and expertise of people who are hands-on in engineering consultancy roles day-to-day, and who are right up-to-date in terms of their skills and knowledge. Secondly, taking on the Academy Instructor role is an incredibly valuable opportunity, as explained in detail here. The temporary nature of the Academy Instructor role means we can offer this opportunity to many more consultants at Infinity Works who are wanting to try out something new and different, and which will allow them to build a really valuable set of skills that are so important to consultancy too.
What technical skills are required?
The role requires a strong technical background in software engineering. You should have experience with a range of modern languages and frameworks and accompanying software development practices. We aim to find someone who's been, and still is, a successful software engineer and understands how effective teams build great software and is keen to share this knowledge with others.
The Academy curriculum, by necessity, changes over time, in order to keep pace with current technology and client demands. As such, it's difficult to give a definitive list of specific technologies that you should be familiar with. The list below is the key technologies included in the Neil Jennings programme as of May 2021.
- HTML & CSS
- Unit Testing in JS, inc. Mocking & Stubs. Bowling Game Kata in JS
- APIs with JS (Express, Fetch, etc)
- Docker, Docker Compose
- Relational DBs + SQL (PostGRES)
- AWS 101 with login, IAM, Security, and S3 static hosting
- AWS ECR + ECS (Clusters, Services, Tasks, Scaling with Load Balancing)
- AWS DynamoDB for non-relational
- AWS Lambda + API Gateway
- CI/CD with GitHub Actions & AWS CDK
- IaC with AWS CDK
This role is usually carried out by those at career level CL8 Senior and above.
What are the responsibilities of the Lead Academy Instructor?
The Lead Academy Instructor role encompasses all the responsibilities of the Academy Instructor role. These are listed below for convenience, but further information on the Academy Instructor role can be found here.
Specific to the Lead Academy Instructor role
- Create, deliver and develop a technically excellent curriculum that is effective in helping us train and grow the best consultants for Infinity Works.
- In future, there is scope for the role to also focus on creating and delivering effective training for existing experienced staff across a range of technologies and disciplines.
- Ensure the course materials are of a high professional standard and on-brand.
- Ensure the learning experience is effective and caters for a range of learning styles and levels of prior experience.
- Strike the right balance of allowing Academy Instructors to rework materials and suggest new revisions to the programmes, while also guarding against reinventing the wheel and unnecessary churn. Academy Instructors need to feel empowered to make changes, in order to keep things fresh and bring new ideas, and also to accommodate their own individual teaching style.
- Collaborate closely with the Director of Academy on all of the above.
In common with the Academy Instructor role
- Deliver the existing Academy programme, following the curriculum and using the course materials that we've created.
- Participate in enhancing the programme further. We're looking for the Academy Instructor to bring ideas and knowledge from client accounts together with their personal experience. This helps us continue to improve and to keep the programme fresh and as up to date as possible.
- Work with speakers from within the business to cover a variety of topics from the training schedule, e.g. specialist talks on Agile, Testing, Cloud, Data etc.
- Work with the Academy team on the wider curriculum to ensure it's delivering a great all-round experience for the Academites.
- Run a mixture of classroom training sessions, retros, talks, coding exercises and other teaching methods as required!
- Supervise and support as the cohort put their learnings into practice by working with them individually and in pairs/groups as needed.
- Ensure everyone is working to the timetable to stay on track.
- Assess and monitor the progress of the Academites throughout the programme.
- Support with client placements by providing input into which academite goes where.
- Come up with a 6-week final project for the programme, in collaboration with the Academy team. The aim of this is to give them the experience of working in a team in an Infinity Works way together with applied learning around building a software product. For each Academy programme, we choose a fictitious business context for an otherwise realistic software application, which then allows us to simulate a typical client delivery project but without real client pressure. This gives them a chance to apply the skills they've been taught and build towards an end of Academy launch event. Some previous examples of what's been created include an Archery scoring application, Infinopoly, InfiniPie Works and InfiniPets.
Qualities and experience we're looking for and why these are relevant
- Experience in teaching, training or coaching others. You should be able to draw on skills you've built in effectively developing others, as success in this role is focused on helping people gain the skills they need to become great software engineers.
- Great communication and facilitation skills. Working with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and learning styles will mean this role will rely heavily on your ability to communicate effectively and facilitate sessions with great outcomes for all involved. We're looking for someone who enjoys creating a fun, high-energy, and inspiring learning environment, who can adapt quickly to different needs, and is comfortable being "at the front of the room" keeping people engaged.
- Understanding of what makes training effective. Part of the role will be to continually hone and improve the curriculum to improve its effectiveness and keep it up-to-date. Having knowledge of teaching and learning theory (and even better, the experience of applying these) will help you ensure that the design of the Academy curriculum is producing the best results for both the learners and Infinity Works.
- A strong sense of ownership and personal responsibility. Helping teach others and ensure they do well is highly rewarding, but brings with it the need to take responsibility, and to constantly reflect, adapt, and improve to ensure things are going well. We're looking for you to be able to show how you've done so in your work and life so far and why you're keen to bring this to Infinity Works.
- Motivation for helping others. Hopefully, it goes without saying but the appeal of this role should draw heavily on your motivation to help others, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to build new skills and start a highly successful career in technology.
You'll carry out your role in accordance with the requirements of ISO9001 and ISO27001 as reflected in the Company's policies and procedures and the ISO9001 and ISO27001 organisational structure charts.