Academy Overview

The best way to become a Software Craftsman is to learn from other Craftsmen. Receive direct mentorship from the industry's best, and dive into real projects to put your skills to the test. Are you ready for the challenge?

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About the Academy

Our program facilitates the regular additions of a cohort of apprentices to the RoleModel Software team through a program called the Craftsmanship Academy. The academy takes a hands-on approach to learning and offers the opportunity to jumpstart a career in software development. Traditional education paths like college degrees or bootcamps don’t always prepare their students with the tools necessary for real-life work scenarios. In contrast, apprentices in the Craftsmanship Academy learn through hands-on experience, and begin solving real-world problems from day one. 

We take a maximum of five Academy participants each year. Those who don't make it all the way through to apprenticeship will still have received a solid foundation in Software Craftsmanship principles.

Our long term goal is to continue growing the experienced Craftsman that RoleModel is known for by investing in and training our own talent. This is demonstrated by Academy graduates John Calvin Young and Kyle Smith having achieved the level of Craftsman at RoleModel after several years of faithfully serving our customers.

The 3 Phases of the Academy


Phase 1 - Skills Immersion

The first two months of the Academy are dedicated to building your basic toolbox through a series of progressively more complex assignments. You will deep dive into Test Driven Development, and Object Oriented programming to develop a sound foundation of skills. As you progress, your skills will be evaluated to help you grow.


Phase 2 - Apprenticeship

After the first two months of skill immersion, you will enter into a 3-6 month apprenticeship where you will apply your education on a real-world project under the supervision and direction of a Craftsman and others. At the end of this phase, you will be evaluated and considered for Phase 3.


Phase 3 - Residency

After your Phase 2 evaluation, you will enter into the residency phase. In this final stage, you will work on RoleModel projects as part of a team supervised by the project's technical leader. At the end of this phase, successful participants will receive a full-time position as a developer at RoleModel.

The 3 Phases In-Depth

Phase 1 - Skills Immersion

The first two months of the Academy are dedicated to putting together your basic toolbox through a series of progressively complex assignments. Subjects include but are not limited to:

Instructors are on hand for 8-15 hours per week, giving lessons and direction, checking on progress and facilitating real learning. You will have 40+ hours of reading assignments and coding exercises per week. Each participant is also assigned a personal mentor from among RoleModel's team.

Evaluations will occur at two weeks, four weeks, and eight weeks to determine if you are making adequate progress. If you pass every evaluation during the Skills Immersion Phase, we will invite you to continue on to Apprenticeship.

The immersion phase prepares the participants to accelerate their journey to becoming Proficient and Expert software developers by:

The expected outcome of this phase is an Apprentice prepared to sit next to a more seasoned TDD/OO/Agile Developer without being completely lost. Such an Apprentice should be ready to absorb like a sponge while having something to offer on the trivial and non-trivial (but not incredibly complex) tasks… preparing them to participate in more and more complex tasks with competence.

Participants come to the Academy having already had some exposure to programming in parts of the “Stack” of technologies of Web Development. By the time they are finished with the Immersion Phase, they will be exposed to the “Full Stack” and have several weeks of experience with Ruby/Rails, HTML/CSS, JavaScript (and some JavaScript-based frameworks), Database uses with good TDD development habits under their belts and an object-oriented paradigm planted in their brains.

Though we encourage participants to help each other out, and even occasionally assign them to pair program, each participant is responsible for his or her own project. We need to make sure each participant “gets it” and can apply what we have encouraged them to learn without relying on someone else.

Phase 2 - Apprenticeship

In this phase, you will apprentice for 3-6 months in developing a real-world project under the supervision and direction of the Master Craftsman and others. In addition to re-enforcing the skills you've already learned, the Apprenticeship will help you cultivate the practical skills, intuition and confidence that only real on-the-job experience can provide. It will test your work ethic and your abilities to apply knowledge, to provide value through service to others, to work under pressure, to work as a team, to communicate, and to seek help when needed, just to name a few.

Phase 3 - Residency

After three months of Apprenticeship, we evaluate you to see if you are ready to move on to the Residency phase. (If you have not yet demonstrated the target skill level, we will either offer you a chance to extend the Apprenticeship phase or dismiss you from the program.)

Residents work on RoleModel projects as part of a team supervised by the project's technical leader. At the end of each three months of Residency, we evaluate you according to a skills matrix to see if you are ready to receive a full-time position as a Developer at RoleModel.

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We regularly get comments from people who are amazed that the best developers they see in the Research Triangle Park area are the ones who came through RoleModel.

Ken Auer
RoleModel Software

The Craftsmanship Academy Track Record

Previous apprentices at RoleModel Software include Nathaniel Talbott, Matthew Bass, Adam Williams, Michael Hale, Austin Taylor, Paul Nicholson, and others. Each of them have enjoyed very successful careers in software development.

Academy graduates John Calvin Young, Kyle Smith, Jeremy Walton, Logan Peterson, Josh McLeod, Ben Smith, Connor Torrell, Nathan Sadler, Stephen Finch, Trevor Buck, Braden Rich, and Josh Pickel are employed at RoleModel, delivering value to clients and continuing to grow.

Academy graduates Braxton Plaxco, Christian DiLorenzo, Amanda Simon, Adam Simon, and Daniel Sullivan have since moved on from RoleModel, but have been successful in their software development careers.

Technical Requirements

Participants must bring their own MacBook/MacBook Pro and know how to use it. This is not negotiable because we will be using tools optimized for macOS. A good Craftsman invests in his tools. You will be working together with instructors, mentors, and other apprentices. Using similar tools makes that collaboration much smoother.

Location & Housing


RoleModel Software's headquarters is in growing Holly Springs, NC with a studio space specifically designed for collaboration. Our location is minutes from all the major highways used to navigate the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). The Immersion Phase of the Academy must be completed onsite in our Holly Springs.


The Craftsmanship Academy may be able to assist in finding affordable housing of various sorts. Housing requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis depending on availability. If you are interested in housing, please check the appropriate box on your application. If you are accepted into the program, we will work out those details.

Financial Model & FAQs

RoleModel leverages an Income Share Agreement (ISA) for participants to fund the tuition portion of the Craftsmanship Academy. Beyond Phase 1 (Immersion) successful candidates will receive a job offer to continue their apprenticeship at RoleModel.

ISA Frequently Asked Questions

Let's Get Started!

Are you ready to start your journey to becoming a software Craftsman? We would love to get to know you and find out if you're the right fit for our program. 

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