Indianapolis is home to some great custom software development companies and we’ve written about several of them here at TechPoint Index. While each has its specialties and interesting stories, there’s one that stands out as something different that has grown by triple digits (300 percent) in recent years with plans to hire and expand into new headquarters soon.
EduSource develops custom software for clients frustrated by the pitfalls of off-the-shelf software that forces them to contort their business processes to someone else’s way of doing business, or those using only slices of data to make decisions because their disjointed systems don’t provide the whole picture.
The company provides integrated, custom software solutions that solve big problems for its clients, but according to Jason Beutler, president of EduSource, their real product is building leaders and the next generation of software developers.
While working in software development for other companies and as a sole proprietor himself, as well as an adjunct professor, Jason discovered that the quality of work he was seeing from college students was superior to overseas outsourcing. He knew there could and should be a better model for marshaling the resources of up-and-coming talent into real-world experiences.
That’s how Jason came up with the idea for — instead of out-sourcing — edu-sourcing software development, and he and his wife, Kendra Beutler, launched the company together in 2012. EduSource offers junior- and senior-level college students a two-year, paid apprenticeship in software development where they can make up to $40,000 while still in school. The apprentices are supervised by seasoned pros with 15-25 years of experience, but accountability is key at EduSource and apprentices work on almost every project.
“Accountability is really the differentiator in terms of leadership development. When the code you write today is the code you’re responsible for maintaining with your client six months or two years from today, it changes the way you think about writing software and you’re able to better recognize the value of your work and the impact of your choices,” Jason said. “When our apprentices complete their degrees and their two years with EduSource, they’re essentially coming out of college as mid-level developers with the skills to lead teams and contribute far beyond their peers.”
Like many custom software developers, EduSource provides solutions for a wide variety of clients — from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and from nonprofits to the education space, marketing and more. While there are some smaller and some bigger, EduSource typically works on development projects ranging from $30,000 to $200,000, and engages with short-term projects that last days up to ongoing, years-long client relationships.
“You don’t have to be the new Steve Jobs or invent the next big thing to feel self-worth, but I do think it’s important to accomplish something every day,” Jason said. And that’s the Agile-like process the company has in place that focuses — not on the typical Agile method development sprints — but on daily accomplishments and taking projects from beginning to end.
“The way we build software and the processes and systems we follow have been my obsession for a couple of years now,” Jason said. “There’s science behind it, but solving problems with software is truly a creative endeavor. However, creativity left on its own is often unguided and unfocused and doesn’t usually come to a solution. I hated process for most of my career, but today it’s the number one tool we rely on, not because it inhibits creativity, but because it’s the very mechanism that levers it.”
The EduSource model draws clients of all kinds, but Jason explains it does tend to appeal to partners who are more altruistic and value quality business relationships. Make no mistake, EduSource is held to the same standards as its competitors and delivers the highest quality software, but many clients really buy into the idea that they are also part of something bigger, and they get to know their apprentices personally.
As a serial entrepreneur who started his very first business while he was still a college student himself, Jason’s passion for building leaders and the next generation of software developers stems from his return to school 11 years ago in the MBA program at Notre Dame. He had the rare opportunity to talk one-on-one with Fortune 500 company leaders and innovators who helped him reflect on his past experiences and zero in on what really drives him — helping people.
“Every business has its ups and downs and things you do well and areas for improvement, but what I’ve found is that by focusing on the people over profits, the money and success come in as lagging indicators of treating people right whether they’re employees, clients or anyone else you interact with daily,” Jason said.