Are Apprenticeships a Better Path to Tech Jobs?

Adam Rowe

LinkedIn is launching their REACH apprenticeship program. Salesforce's Marc Benioff recently proposed an apprenticeship program to President Trump, a noted fan of apprentices. Now Ryan Carson, CEO of online coding school Treehouse, has just announced another apprentice program, Techdegree, aimed at helping to fill a number of the 500,000 jobs  that don’t require a college degree currently open in tech.

What's behind the sudden surge in apprentice programs, and what makes tech a great fit?

Tech Jobs Are a Great Opportunity Right Now

Tech jobs are growing at twice the rate of any other jobs right now. Every company needs a techie or three nowadays. And the pay is great, too: Computing jobs are the number one source of wage growth in the U.S., letting those without experience start at $50K and those with 3-5 years jump up to over $100K.

I've even confirmed the demand for tech jobs personally: In Tech.Co's interview with SVP Raj Mukherjee.

“Broadly speaking,” Raj told me in the interview, “I think the kinds of jobs that we expect to grow dramatically in this country are growing, tech being a huge part of future jobs across the country. By any estimates, we’re looking at about a million jobs in tech — engineering, software development, design, management — that will added in the next two to five years. That’s a substantial number. Frankly, some of those jobs are very localized.”

Thanks to the do-it-yourself ethos of the tech community, these positions aren't impossible to land even for someone without a college degree.

Coding Is a Trade Job

Programming students who work hard get rewarded with jobs due to their experience rather than their degree. As Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson puts it:

“I firmly believe that coding is a trade skill, and like other trade skills (carpentry, floristry, welding, etc) there are better paths to securing jobs that don’t require four-year degrees.”

Treehouse's Techdegree program aims to take anyone from zero to tech-job ready in six months.

By treating coding like a trade job, employers and employees can better address supply and demand for tech positions without several years and thousands of dollars spent on a degree in the meantime. And it can't come too soon: Thanks to eminent losses in the middle class's job market (truck drivers will soon be replaced with self-driving delivery trucks, for instance), the need to find a stable position will only increase.

Apprenticeships won't single-handedly boost the U.S. economy. But they're definitely a step in the correct direction, and a useful shot in the arm for any job seekers willing and able to learn coding.

Read more about the tech job market here at Tech.Co

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.