How to join the CAT (or What is the Deal?)
Joining the CAT as a volunteer is a two-pronged process.
- You attend our Braindumps where you get a chance to learn all aspects of the operation we run. This is a little under a year-and-a-half of training – typically meeting once a week (on Fridays), attending various group meetings (if you decide to join one of the teams that make up the CAT) and gaining practical experience in our sandbox.
- You also become a member of our front line, being trained on our administrative systems and using your rapidly growing knowledge of our systems to help our users.
Embarking on this path means that you see the benefit of The Deal.
The mutually beneficial Deal
- TheCAT will run the Braindump and teach you everything they know about the IT biz.
- You will attend all the Braindumps (they happen weekly and usually last 3-4 hours.
- The Braindump includes lectures, hands-on work in a sandbox, projects that can lead to production status and the ability to ascend up the CAT ladder based on your skills.
- You will perform 4 hours of service on our front lines (or in some other capacity as your skills mature) either in-person or remotely, depending on your preference.
- You will attend the DOG meeting (prior to the start of the Braindump).
- The Braindump extends for over a year – in recent years it has been close to 16 months.
- The DOG meeting happens on Friday nights at 6pm.
- Most Braindump tracks will have their dumps on Friday nights at 6:30pm
- If you are unable to make the Friday night commitment, you really can’t do the Braindump.
What is covered in the Braindump?
- CAT administrivia
- User Services
- Platform Specific User Level Stuff
- Platform Specific System Admin Stuff
- App Development (web/db)
- DevOps Topics (git)
- Technical Writing
How much time will you need to put in?
- 4 hours of front desk (or project) duty
- 3-4 hours of Braindump every Friday night
- Half hour of DOG meeting every Friday night (usually folded into the Braindump)
- If you work your way into a team, there will be weekly team meetings
- For the practical portion of the Braindump, there will be time needed for projects (at least 3 hours a week when things get started but going up to unlimited, depending on how insane you are)
What about paid work?
As student worker jobs open up (as graduating CATs rotate out), current CAT volunteers become the strongest candidates to fill those roles. When a Full Time job occasionally opens up, current and former CATs are often the best qualified to step into those shoes, too.