Week One: A New Start

Walking into the doors of Acquia for the first time was quite intimidating for me. I was accepted into the AcquiaU program purely as a Drupal hobbyist and with absolutely no professional background in web development. My only training consisted of online resources such as buildamodule, codeschool, and youtube. It was something I loved spending my free time doing and something I often thought about how great it would be if this was what I was doing with my life but I had no idea how to turn this passion into a career. To be honest, until recently I thought I never would be able to.

My path started out with a degree in Biology. Shortly after graduating though I found myself working in the IT field. I had always been somewhat of a tech nerd so the field seemed natural to me. It was pretty routine work and to be honest it didn't excite me like I thought it would. Showing up to work was becoming more of a chore than anything. It was around this time when I first started learning basic HTML/CSS. I enjoyed seeking out new information and new skills. Eventually I would stumble upon Drupal and focus my studies there. The open source nature of the Drupal community has a way of drawing you in. So many people collaborating and helping, for me it was impossible not wanting to be a part of it. I felt I was learning a lot of useful web site building skills on my own, but how do I go forward with those skills? How could I somehow take that leap and turn this into a career?

Taking a chance

A buddy of mine was part of the team that redesigned the job board on the Drupal.org website. After they finished the project and he was telling me about it I went to go check it. One of the first posts I see is this posting for AcquiaU. A program designed to integrate people into working professionals of the Drupal community. I have to be honest and say I was quite excited when I saw this post and I applied almost immediately, I felt this was the exact opportunity I needed to make that transition I wanted. As excited as I was though, I really thought I would never hear from Acquia. As I said, I was just a hobbyist, there were plenty of people more skilled and experienced than myself. All I had was my word that this was something I truly wanted to do. I was quite surprised when I received my first phone call from Acquia. This phone call would lead to another interview and then eventually a letter of acceptance. I couldn't believe it but Acquia decided to take a chance on me.

So here I am

The first week in the AcquiaU program was a blur. There was very little time to get acclimated, we were on the move almost immediately. I have no idea how many different people the AcquiaU group met that first week, but there is one phrase that I kept hearing over and over......"if you need help with anything or need to know anything then just come ask me." This was the type of attitude I had come to expect from the Drupal community. People that just want to help and be involved, regardless of the issue. As nervous as I was entering the program, it was comforting to see this attitude manifested so many times over here in the halls of Acquia.

I really have no idea what to expect going forward in the program. I do know however that by the end of the first week I'm confident I made the right decision coming here and am excited for whatever comes next.

About the Author

John Cunningham

I joined the U.S. Marine Corp at the age of 17. I served for five years part of which fell during Operation Enduring Freedom. Following the Marines, I attended the university of Central Florida and received my Bachelors of Science in Biology.

User login