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Farm to Majors

Here at Sovrn we live by our values: Second Order Thinking, Scrappy, Candid, Customer Empathy and Learning. They are part of everything we do, every day. It’s that last value, Learning, that is the foundation of our “Farm to Majors” program.

In major league baseball, teams utilize minor leagues to grow and develop their players. At Sovrn, we utilize this same concept to create future opportunities for our “players,” or our employees. Since we have so many talented individuals here at Sovrn, we created the Farm to Majors program to help those that have the interest and the potential to grow their careers in a new direction.

While this program is great for creating opportunities for our employees to explore and grow, it is a wonderful addition to Sovrn, too. The graduates from Farm to Majors who choose to move their careers into a different direction are highly motivated. They are already very familiar with the business of Sovrn and the development practices and processes we use. This ensures they can make a very fast transition into their new team, performing at a high level much faster than a new hire. It is also a great program for mentors as it gives our senior staff an opportunity to teach and mentor the next generation, to not only give back but to grow their own skills and career in the process. And, it helps Sovrn make great strides in our diversity and inclusion goals as the Farm to Majors program opens up careers to individuals with unusual backgrounds. You no longer necessarily need a degree in computer science to become an engineer.

So what do we actually do in Farm To Majors? First, we group the participants into teams geared to similar skill sets and interests, such as full stack JavaScript development, backend development, product management or delivery management. Then we find each team several highly skilled mentors who are already doing that job.

Our Farm To Majors teams work on real engineering projects that will be used in production. We choose a project that is meaningful to them, something that addresses a need that they have encountered in their time at Sovrn. Participants working in the product management track start discovery and design of the feature while engineers and delivery managers attend a series of workshops to get them up to speed with everything they will need. This can include sessions on agile processes, introductions to the tech stack and the frameworks we use, CI/CD methods, QA practices and anything else that may come in handy.

We then take the teams through the full project lifecycle, including inception, story mapping, development, testing and deployment. This whole process takes six months. Throughout the program, teams follow standard agile practices, including all the standard ceremonies, and give a demo to the company at the end of the project. At every step, experienced mentors are available to help guide but the work is done by the participants, enhancing their own learning. All of this is done alongside the participants’ main job, and they are given time to attend workshops in their normal work day so that they can learn alongside doing their main job.

We also include opportunities for shadowing teams at work, plus interview prep in the program. When we have entry level positions open up in any field where we have Farm To Majors participants, they are opened internally first. Many of these positions we have been able to fill with our Farm to Majors graduates, showcasing the amazing skills they have gained. And we have had other graduates that decided the life of an engineer wasn’t for them and so tried a different track the next time around before moving onto a new career.

This Farm To Majors program has given us such amazing opportunities at Sovrn, whether looking to upskill in a new career, try out something new, get experience mentoring others or gaining an invaluable new team mate. I am so proud of being be part of this program and excited about what our new crop of Farm To Majors participants will achieve.

Interested in building a career at Sovrn? Check out our openings here! Sovrn Careers

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