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Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: Caleb Jackson

Caleb Jackson Engineering

Ever wonder what it’s like to work at Tandem? In this series, we’re taking a peek into the everyday life of Tandem’s team members.


I wake up around 7:30-8:00 a.m. I make my bed, and then I almost always eat strawberry oatmeal for breakfast. I usually carve out time to journal for just 5 minutes every morning, and I either write affirmations or about my dreams from last night.

9 a.m.

I start work at 9 a.m. EST, which is 8 a.m. for a lot of Tandem folks. To get started, I get the client project working locally, which sometimes takes quite a bit of effort. Today I got it working — woohoo! I also check Slack and my email inbox, but I generally don’t get too many messages or emails throughout the day. Today, the internal client channel is pretty quiet.

I then attempt to review a pull request because it’s something I can do solo. This time, I took the approach of reviewing the code first to see if I understand it before testing to see if it works. This method takes a lot longer, however, I learned that I didn’t fully understand the purpose of the “self” keyword within Ruby. I make a note to ask someone to explain it to me and review some articles about it.

10 a.m.

At 10 a.m. CST, devs sync on getting on-prem access for our client project. We are all working on our own individual servers, so Sasha, our team lead, walks us through how to do that. I should’ve come more prepared and remembered my login credentials #apprenticeTingz, but luckily I remember them and catch up to the others.

After that meeting, I chatted with Steph to go over our pairing plan for today and the rest of the week.

I then have some downtime to work on my side project for Out in Tech. I write some more tickets for my project, except I get distracted by our Slack #watercooler channel, which is a virtual meetup space to learn random things about the team and ask fun questions. For example, one of the questions was, “What’s the coolest place you’ve ever gone to?” and I found out that my coworkers are really well-traveled! I ended up adding a bunch of places to my wish list for travel post-Covid. Another question was about everyone’s favorite fast food places, and I learned that many Tandemites have very wrong opinions about Taco Bell, lol!


At noon my time, I joined our apprenticeship chat, which is a monthly meetup for apprentices and mentors to give updates and chat about what’s going on. Today we spent some time reflecting on how our recent reviews went. In previous chats, we’ve talked about things like how we should use our learning budget or what conferences we should attend.

I forgot I was doing this DITL blog post, so I didn’t prepare an extravagant meal to show that I eat healthy foods. Instead, I just did what I normally do, which is eat whatever I’m craving. I ate cookies and cream ice cream…and then decided that wasn’t a great lunch, so I warmed up the leftover BBQ I got from my mom’s house this past weekend. I typically listen to the CodeNewbie podcast during lunch, but if I don’t want to listen to something coding-related, I’ll listen to The Read or watch BookTube videos.

1 p.m.

After lunch, I made some progress on my Out in Tech project. Most recently, I’ve added a migration file with changes like removing column names. I try to update my project with concepts I’m learning throughout my apprenticeship. For instance, Mina and Steph led classes on Data Modeling and Database Principles in SQL, and from those classes, I decided to implement a join table within my project.

I usually don’t have a ton of time to work on my project because we have a daily client standup. This is a time where both the Tandem team and the client give a brief update on what we’ve been working on.

3 p.m.

After standup, I started pairing with Steph. Before our pairing, I feel really on top of things because I know which branch to be on and have everything pulled down correctly — this is often not the case! Stephanie is patient when it comes to these sorts of things, though. At the start of our pairing session, she explains what we’re working on, like which ticket we’re addressing. Then we decide who’s driving and who’s navigating. From there, we’ll pair until we get to a good stopping point, which is a place where we can make a commit (or even a pull request). I sometimes feel like I slow down the process tremendously by asking questions, but everyone at Tandem says it’s okay and part of learning.

Today’s pairing consisted of some frontend changes where we passed some key-value pairs to the backend within an onSubmit function. Steph also showed me how to review documentation when you aren’t sure how to implement something. At the end of the session, we reviewed what we did. Steph asks if I have any questions, which I almost always do. Today, I asked about the concept of self in Ruby, so she explained that to me and sent me an article about it. After our pairing session, I pushed my work to the develop branch and wrote a pull request for it.

5 p.m.

I tend to be a serial note-taker, so the end of my day traditionally consists of compiling the scribbles between the margins from that day into a cohesive, written-out page in my notebook. Admittedly, 7 times out of 10 I don’t actually go back to these notes, but it brings me peace knowing that it’s all there. Also, if there’s anything I know I should look at the next morning, I’ll jot that down. I close all my tabs except for Google Calendar. Part of my routine includes spending the end of my workday reading articles about anything I didn’t understand earlier in the day.

After Work

After work, I call my best friend while I go on a long walk around the neighborhood. Then I catch up on Twitter drama and get sucked into the vortex of an app we call Tik Tok. Most recently, I’ve dived into BookTok, Farmer Tik Tok, and Reptile Tik Tok — don’t ask me how I got there, lol!

Note: I do read, but I’ve been in a reading slump lately — so watching TikTok videos about books feels like reading-ish.

It was a pretty normal day; some days, I have more pairing and/or fewer meetings. Also, apprentices dedicate one day a week to professional development, which is when I have time to work through tech courses and/or my side projects.

Do you want to work with Caleb and the rest of the Tandem team? Check out our Careers page to apply for our open positions!

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