The Importance of Internships and Apprenticeships in Technology

If you’ve ever been in a position where you need to evaluate your professional options, you’ve probably been encouraged to pursue a college degree. There are certainly benefits to taking a collegiate pathway in preparation for a career.

The Importance of Internships and Apprenticeships in TechnologyIf you’ve ever been in a position where you need to evaluate your professional options, you’ve probably been encouraged to pursue a college degree. There are certainly benefits to taking a collegiate pathway in preparation for a career. However, it isn’t the only way. Dave Alton, chief technology officer at Strategic Information Resources, Inc., believes that internships and apprenticeships offer unique opportunities for those considering a career in technology.

“Internships are a great way for people early on in a career to figure out if what they’re doing is something they want to do forever,” he says. “I believe they’re not as much of a training vehicle, but more of an opportunity for exposure. Apprenticeships are great learning experiences, but people should realize they’re investing significant time into that career path.”

Which one is right for you?

Internships vs. Apprenticeships: What Is the Difference?

Both internships and apprenticeships are on-the-job programs that help people develop critical skills that are needed to succeed at a job. “These programs help to gain interest, get exposure and develop interest,” says Alton. “It helps people understand what it takes to work and what it looks like in different settings.” However, the two programs differ in several ways.

Time Commitment

Internships: Tend to be shorter engagements, lasting only a few months at a time. Often, these are completed during a summer college break or at the end of degree completion.

Apprenticeships: These generally last longer, somewhere between 1-3 years. However, there are some apprenticeships that are targeted at younger groups that span a much shorter period of time.


Internships: Companies aren’t required to pay interns. Sometimes, people will work in exchange for college credits or experience. In some situations, interns are paid an hourly wage. However, there are plenty of options for paid internships and most established programs pay their interns.

Apprenticeships: These are paid positions, often increasing in rates as apprentices gain experience.


Internships: Interns don’t always receive mentoring, but they can. Often, interns will fill in where there are gaps and learn a variety of skills based on a company’s needs. It’s also common practice to give more of the rote work to interns to complete.

Apprenticeships: Apprentices receive specialized training and work alongside professionals. Many apprenticeships have formalized mentoring programs to help workers develop specific skill sets.


Internships: Interns typically work to receive general workplace experience and learn about opportunities in particular fields before entering the workforce or a new field. Exposure to staff and company practices can also be beneficial for interns.

Apprenticeships: Apprentices often use their program to develop specific skillsets in a hands-on environment, rather than a traditional collegiate learning program.

Internship or Apprenticeship: Which One Is Right for Me?

Internships are typically ideal for people who are early in their professional journey and who may want to gain general workplace experience. Often, internships don’t focus on developing a specific skill set so it can be ideal for someone who may want to see what it’s like to work in a particular field of industry before applying to organizations.

Apprenticeships are great for those who have an interest in a certain field or industry and want to gain hands-on skills with the intent of working in that area for the long term. Apprenticeships can be good for those who are considering switching fields or who may not want to pursue a traditional collegiate route.

How to Find Internships and Apprenticeships

Finding an internship or apprenticeship could be exactly the right step toward a successful career in technology. Use these resources to find one that interests you.

Resources for Finding Internships

Internships are often listed similar to job opportunities. Here are some different resources to consider when searching for an internship:

  • Schools: School and colleges frequently partner with local companies to help students find opportunities. Check with your school’s career services or talk to a teacher to see what internships they have available.
  • Job fairs: Local job fairs can be a good resource. It also gives you an opportunity to see what’s available and get a feel for different companies and industries.
  • Internship websites: There are certain websites focused solely on internships, including sites such as
  • Research career websites: Sites such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Handshake and Glassdoor often post internship opportunities along with job openings.
  • Social media: LinkedIn is a great resource for finding internships. You can also post your need for an internship on other social media sites. It’s likely that your network may be able to help you find an opportunity.

Resources for Finding Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are government-regulated programs so there are lots of resources for finding an opportunity, including:

  • CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech: CompTIA helps connect workers with opportunities in the tech industry.
  • Apprenticeship USA: A government website, Apprenticeship USA is a great resource for finding accredited programs in technology. 
  • Indeed Paid Apprenticeship: Indeed has an apprenticeship filter that allows you to just search for paid apprenticeships.
  • Career One Stop: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Career One Stop helps you find apprenticeship opportunities.
  • NICE Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program Finder: Although this one is focused, NICE helps you find cybersecurity-specific programs near you. 

“These programs are so beneficial for those seeking a job and those companies that host them,” Alton says. “These experiences can be so powerful on the giving and receiving side of the program. I can’t recommend it enough.” 

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