Let’s Talk: Apprenticeships

04-15-19 Sparkbox

In our second issue of "Let’s Talk," we tackle web industry apprenticeships. What are apprenticeships, why do we offer them, and how do they improve our work and team? We include articles we’ve written about our apprenticeship program, as well as resources for anyone looking for apprenticeship opportunities.

In our second issue of “Let’s Talk,” we’re tackling apprenticeships. What is a web industry apprenticeship and should you pursue one? How is an apprenticeship different than an internship or entry-level job? Why did we start the apprenticeship program at Sparkbox and how has it improved our team and our work?

We’ll be tackling a new topic a few times a year in the “Let’s Talk” series and are always interested in your feedback. Reach out and let us know your thoughts. What do you want to see us talk about next?

Articles We’ve Written

Why We Apprentice

In this post, Drew explains the origins of our apprenticeship program, writing that it was our VP Rob Harr who “painted a picture of a long-term, in-house training where upcoming web developers were compensated, allowed to focus on learning, and surrounded with good direction and feedback.” In other words, we established an apprenticeship program for emerging fullstack developers and frontend designers because we want to grow talent, not just consume it. And grow talent, we have.

Field Guide for Apprenticeship Seekers

Drew and Ryan give great advice in this article to anyone who’s looking for an apprenticeship. Through the process of interviewing applicants, they’ve pulled together suggestions about how to stand out from other aspiring apprentices. They provide links to helpful industry resources and online code camps and provide guidance about attending meetups and conferences. “You no longer have the excuse of not knowing where to start,” they write. “Now you have some great beginning resources. The rest is up to you.”

Things I Should Have Learned in College

College can be a great time for learning, but not always the things you need to know to succeed in the professional world. In this post, Kasey shares what she learned as a Sparkbox apprentice that she didn’t pick up on in school. You may be surprised—it’s not just technical skills but also important workplace dynamics, such as how to work on a team, work with clients, and not get overwhelmed. An important takeaway Kasey emphasizes is that learning doesn’t end with graduation. It’s a lifelong process.

Designer to Developer

This personal post by Heather demonstrates the power of the right apprenticeship. She explains how she always wanted to find a way to combine her love of art, math, and science but was unsure of how she’d make a career in design when she couldn’t even draw a straight line. Heather chronicles her path from psychology student to visual designer to frontend developer and explains how Sparkbox’s apprenticeship program helped give her the skills and confidence to bring beautiful designs to life through code. “Follow your passions, never stop learning, and never stop dreaming,” Heather advises.

Building Websites and Empathy: My Experience As A Frontend Design Apprentice

This article by Andrew, another apprentice-turned-full-time-Sparkboxer, provides a clear picture of the value of an apprenticeship. When Andrew joined Sparkbox, he was a fresh-out-of-school designer whose education focused on print design and marketing. Through the Sparkbox apprenticeship, he learned the basics of Git and Github, how to write semantic HTML, and how to use CSS as a design tool. Additionally, he writes, the apprenticeship showed him “the importance of empathy and how it is okay to not know everything.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Full-Stack Web Development

This post both demonstrates the impact of our apprenticeship program and serves as a resource for aspiring apprentices! In it, Corinne describes how she transitioned from being an English major who dabbled in web design to becoming a full-stack developer through our apprenticeship program. She explains how during the program, she built a project-based “beginner’s guide” for other new and self-taught developers to learn topics such as Git, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, and Wordpress. You can check out her Full-Stack Beginner’s Guide and begin your journey toward a web development career.

Resources We Love