When starting in a new work environment, especially when stepping into a new craft as an apprentice you only want to produce positive results, even though failing is a great learning tool. A good apprenticeship pattern to develop is to create breakable toys. Develop personal projects that you can afford to fail on and break so that you can learn these valuable lessons without it having an impact on your performance review and without risking your job. These can be programs, servers or anything else that mimics your work station and helps develop your toolset. The important part though is to remember that it while it should mimic your workstation it should not intermingle with your work by any means. This could lead to massive problems if you break your toy and it negatively affects your work. You also don’t want to run the risk of breaking any confidential agreement that may lead to legal trouble beyond just losing your job. This is not a pattern that should just be applied blindly; you need to apply a basic level of common sense of whether or not it would be ok to include things that you may have gotten from work onto an unsecured system.
When I start my new career I intend to mock my work station at home to the best of my ability. I will use this to create similar projects to the one that I am working on so that way I can have more freedom trying solutions. While that is part of what version control fixes this will allow slightly more freedom to try things that shouldn’t work and take the time to see why they don’t work as a viable solution to the task at hand. Then as time permits I can create new projects that are not associated with work and expand my toolset to work on mastering new areas of my craft. I know for myself that I learn better by doing something hands on rather than in a visual manner. Creating a personal workstation will allow me to further develop my craft and skills that I need to succeed in this new role. It will also allow me to explore and create any personal projects that I may find interesting that will help develop a broader toolkit that may come in handy later in life.