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SmartLogic is preparing a new class of software development apprentices for full-time roles

Three new apprentices are starting the Baltimore tech company's program, which offers an "on-ramp" to a software development career. It's looking to fill a gap between bootcamps and real-world experience.

(left to right) SmartLogic developer apprentices Joseph Arias, Rachel Kahtan, and Bilal Hankins. (Courtesy photo)

Baltimore software agency SmartLogic is helping professionals transition into tech this fall.

The company’s 14-week apprenticeship program kicked off a new class this month. It’s aiming to put the three apprentices on the road to full-time positions as full-stack developers.

This year’s apprentices are:

  • Rachel Kahtan, of Baltimore, is entering tech after a career in law and public relations.
  • Bilal Hankins, of New Orleans, is transitioning from a career in fashion production.
  • Joseph Arias, of Bristow, Virignia, is a recent a graduate of Old Dominion University.

They were selected from 250+ applicants to the program. It offers applicable software dev experience, as well as the potential opportunity to join the SmartLogic team full-time on completion.

The paid program combines tech and people-oriented training. Over the 14 weeks, SmartLogic will provide guidance in programming languages like Elixir, Ruby on Rails, ReactJS and Flutter. The apprentices will also be mentored by SmartLogic technologists Anna Dorigo, Joel Meador, and Alex Housand.

In creating the program, SmartLogic sought to provide a pathway for professionals in groups who are underrepresented in tech. The team recognized that there wasn’t enough opportunity to gain experience between an education program and a job.

“There’s an overwhelming focus on bootcamps and there are plenty of four-year degree granting programs at colleges and universities. What is clearly missing is in the gap between bootcamps and real-world professional software development experience,” said Yair Flicker, president of SmartLogic, in a statement.”

Flicker has said he believes other software companies could easily adopt a similar program. Software shops are increasingly seeking to bring new people into technology, in addition to hiring from within the existing workforce. Long a strategy employed in the building trades, apprenticeships are being embraced to support tech professionals, who equally benefit from learning by doing.

It’s the second iteration of the program for SmartLogic. In 2018, two of the three apprentices went on to positions at SmartLogic, while another went on to work with Baltimore digital services firm Fearless. Fast forward to 2021, and one of the apprentices has moved on to work for Tibit, which is another software firm in Maryland, while the other two are still at SmartLogic and Fearless.

The continued success of the program’s inaugural members, whether at their original company or beyond, solidifies the value of the program as an on-ramp into software development.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: SmartLogic

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