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Insights / July 2, 2024

Introducing Cohort One Apprentices

A graphic on a dark blue background with photos of SfG's apprentices with the words

By Wendy Bolm

Our Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program is a cornerstone of our commitment to stewardship – nurturing the next generation of tech talent.  This immersive program, which was made possible by funding from the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County, provides aspiring engineers with hands-on experience in real-world projects, guided by experienced mentors. This program is essential for bridging the gap between academic learning and professional practice, ensuring that our apprentices are well-equipped to contribute to their brilliance in the tech industry.

Through the course of the apprenticeship, participants worked on developing an online app designed to enhance and deepen the relationships between educators and their students for the Innocent Classroom. They focused on building experience in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, and Tailwind CSS. 

Here, in their words, is their experiences of the program. 

What Zakaria Had to Say

I’m a first generation American whose singular goal was to make sure my parents’ sacrifices aren’t in vain. I plan on working my tail off until I am successful in whatever I pursue and can retire my parents and give them the life they deserve. I was always interested in software engineering and had a passion for it but wasn’t in a place financially to be able to pursue further education and this opportunity allowed me to learn from great instructors in a challenging yet nurturing environment FOR FREE.

[My favorite thing to learn was ] how to learn. When I first joined the program I was constantly asking for help and was afraid to make mistakes but along the way I learned that you have to fail and keep trying new things to learn.

—Zakariah Muse


Software for Good’s resourcefulness in providing networking opportunities and weekly workshops for apprentices stands out for me. I appreciate their remote culture and alignment with my values, particularly their commitment to fostering positive environments and eliminating bias in all communities through their projects. 

I’m excited about the prospect of making a meaningful societal impact as a Software Engineer, particularly in underserved communities, aiming to contribute to projects focused on improving healthcare, education, and social services.

—Ridwan Dahir 


I’m so glad I chose this program. I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. I simply couldn’t let such an amazing opportunity pass me by.

I’ve learned a lot during my apprenticeship, but one of my favorite is Agile methodology. I love the iterative approach, and how it allows for flexibility, quick adaptation and constant refinement.

I love software engineering because it combines problem-solving with continuous learning and innovation. It also allows me to collaborate with others and work on teams, while offering flexible working conditions. Additionally, I enjoy being able to use technology to make a difference.

—Mustafe Hassen 


What I love most about the apprenticeship program is the collaborative approach to learning, and I have two favorite things I have learned from the apprenticeship program. First, is Ruby on Rails. Second is learning proper coding etiquette when working on collaborative projects.

What I most enjoy about Software for Good is the enthusiasm they have in mentoring us and helping us work through the problems that we may encounter.

—Kenyon Bosire Nyangai


I truly learn and build on to something new every day whether it’s soft skills like communicating how you solved a problem or getting more in depth with the tech stack. I definitely have learned many things such as open source, how to write a ticket, how to get unstuck and much more!

Every step that I have taken in my journey as a Software Engineer has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities for learning and growth. I am looking forward to continuous learning and being able to use my creativity to help create solutions. 

—Jason Vang


I’m deeply passionate about using technology to address real-world challenges and create positive change. Whether it’s enhancing efficiency, improving access to resources, or addressing societal challenges, I aim to leverage technology for tangible, positive impact. My goal is to play a meaningful role in creating solutions that make a difference in people’s lives.

The Ramsey County Apprenticeship Program caught my eye because it offered something unique and exciting. Opportunities like this don’t come along often, and I was immediately drawn to the chance to be part of a program that combines hands-on learning with impact. It was clear to me that this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. The prospect of developing my skills in software engineering while contributing meaningfully resonated deeply with me, and I knew I had to apply.

Working closely with experienced mentors from the Software for Good team has been incredibly valuable. They not only guide us through real-world projects but also create an environment where we feel comfortable seeking guidance and asking questions.

 —Fouziah Ahmed


My favorite thing about the apprenticeship program has been the community. Being in a small work environment where everybody knows each other and is willing to help each other has been very instrumental to my success. It’s also been amazing to be in a totally inclusive environment that was entirely operated and attended by people of color. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to tech. 

My favorite thing I’ve learned in the apprenticeship program is how to work as a team and to see the full lifecycle and possibilities of software development. What excites me about a career in software is being able to take part in the industry’s exponential growth firsthand.

—Creed Studenski 


I love the hands-on learning experience and the supportive teams at both New Vision and SFG that help me grow everyday. My favorite thing I’ve learned is how to build and deploy applications, as well as the entire agile software development process, which has been incredibly helpful.

Aside from the talented people, I appreciate SFG’s commitment to creating technology solutions that have a positive social impact. I’m excited about the constant learning and growth the software engineering field offers, and the chance to solve real-world problems through technology.

—Ayan Ahmed


My interest in technology was ignited by several tech-related courses I took in college, though I was uncertain about how to launch my career in the field. The Ramsey County Apprenticeship Program provided a clear and supportive pathway, allowing me to develop and showcase my skills through real-world client projects.

I am excited about the prospect of opening doors for others who may be unsure if the tech industry is for them. Additionally, the opportunity to continuously learn and try new things every day is something I look forward to.

—Asma Noor