Implementing a Modern Apprenticeship

Software Solutions Integrated

8th Light SSI apprenticeship hero laptop

Helping a trusted agribusiness leader upskill their development team.

Software Solutions Integrated (SSI) has been a trusted leader in agribusiness since 1981. They leverage their industry experience and insights to build integrated tools that drive efficiencies — and thus profitability — for their more than 2,500 installations in the U.S. and Canada. After an experimentation phase delivering web services and small mobile apps, they decided to take the plunge and move their entire offering to the web with Angular and C#, thus needing to upskill their team and expand their recruiting pipeline.

8th Light SSI Apprenticeship

Establishing new skills teamwide.

This transition would involve a tremendous technical effort, and require entirely new skills for their entire team. SSI’s programmers had developed expertise in the client-server paradigm and monolithic architecture that defined their existing system, but most of them had no real exposure to modern best practices like test-driven development or asynchronous microservices paradigms.

Growing this new system would also require growing their team, and SSI was struggling to recruit developers to work in their rural office. “We’re rural, and it’s hard to find people,” VP of Development Todd Erickson said.

The apprenticeship really showed us that we could take people we maybe wouldn’t have taken a chance on before, and we could ramp them up to be successful developers.

Todd Erickson
VP of Development
Software Solutions Integrated

Empowering a culture of learning.

The apprenticeship allowed SSI’s developers to improve their understanding of core computer science principles, while also becoming more comfortable working in their new technical stack.

“I definitely feel like I learned more in those six months of the apprenticeship than I probably had over the previous 2.5 years working on the legacy application. And since I’ve been done with the apprenticeship, it’s just been a much better system for me.”
— Kristopher Denton, one of SSI’s first apprentices

By the second iteration, SSI’s apprenticeship program already demonstrated how it could transform the company’s recruitment efforts. All three apprentices were new hires with diverse experience and backgrounds. Throughout the program, all three were able to demonstrate their strengths and learn from each other in equal turns.

8th Light SSI apprenticeship 3

Beyond the immediate success of onboarding apprentices, the program signaled a cultural shift in the organization. Their teams adopted new rituals that reinforce a culture of learning outside of their regular delivery cycles, including regular lunch-and-learn sessions led by and for their staff.




  • Angular

  • C#

  • Mentorship