As an apprentice in IT and Software Development, you could be building the software that controls a major rail network, or working on cyber security to protect an organisation’s data. This guide will give you all the information you need to get started - from salary to entry requirements - as well as some examples of apprenticeship schemes that have been on offer in the sector.
Before applying for an apprenticeship in IT or Software Development, it’s important to recognise the difference between the two:
- Information Technology, as the name suggests, focuses mainly on technology; specifically, computer hardware and networks. It also includes the maintenance and support of that technology.
- Software Development is the creation of websites, programmes and apps. There are many different software languages, such as C, Python and HTML, that you can train in.
Both careers are a great choice for people who get excited by new technology and love to solve problems; however, between the two, IT is probably better suited to people who want more of a ‘hands-on’ career.
What are the advantages of an apprenticeship in IT or Software Development?
- Gain an industry-recognised qualification. You’ll complete the apprenticeship with a qualification that’ll allow you to pursue employment or further education at a higher level.
- Boost your CV. You’ll gain valuable workplace experience that’ll look fantastic on your CV and possibly lead to job opportunities.
- Make new contacts. Through your workplace experience, you’ll build up a network of contacts within the computing and tech sector.
- Earn while you learn. No student loans, no tuition fees and, hopefully, no dept. You’ll be paid a salary by your employer, and the government covers the cost of the training.
How much will I be paid?
In England the current minimum apprenticeship rate is £4.30 per hour, which applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.
If you’re aged 19 or over and have completed your first year, you’ll be paid at least the national minimum wage for your age. However, many apprenticeships, particularly Advanced and Degree/Higher Apprenticeships, offer more than the national minimum wage.
How do I apply?
Using Unifrog’s Apprenticeships tool, you can filter and search for apprenticeship programmes in categories such as ‘Cyber Security’, ‘IT, Software, Web & Telecoms Professionals’, or ‘Software Development’.
The tool will allow you to create a shortlist of the apprenticeship programmes which appeal to you. From there, you can read about each organisation, the salary on offer, the entry requirements, and the course content.
Click the green ‘Apply’ button next to each entry in your shortlist to go through to the organisation’s website.
N.B. The apprenticeships listed below were all advertised at the time of writing, but may not be available now - we’ve listed them to give you an idea of the kind of opportunities that are often advertised in this industry.
1. Apprentice IT Support Technician - BlueMoon Solutions Ltd
- Length: 12 months
- Level: Intermediate (equivalent to five GCSE passes)
- Content: BlueMoon provides computer hardware and software support to a large number of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses. You’ll assist their team by providing IT support to these businesses both remotely (from your own desk) and on-site (travelling out to that business). This will involve setting up user accounts, desktop PCs and printers, together with problem investigation and diagnosis.
- Future prospects: You’ll receive a Level 2 NVQ in IT, with the opportunity to move onto the Level 3 Qualification.
2. ICT Technician Apprentice - KIDATU
- Length: 12 months
- Level: Advanced (equivalent to two A Level passes)
- Content: You’ll have a varied experience, working with Microsoft and Mac systems. Typical responsibilities will include data input, hardware installation, network maintenance and fault diagnosis. Throughout the apprenticeship, you’ll also attend college for up to 12 weeks for structured training - the rest of your training will be completed in the workplace.
- Future prospects: You’ll work towards a City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals and a Level 3 Extended Diploma in ICT (Systems & Principles). This will help you if you want to become an IT technician for an organisation, or progress to a Level 4 qualification.
3. Software Development Level 4 Apprenticeship - Transport for London
- Length: two years
- Level: Level 4 (equivalent to a Higher National Certificate or Level 4 NVQ)
- Content: You’ll learn to build professional software for Transport for London - one of the UK’s largest transport companies. Most of the company’s projects are built on Microsoft’s technologies, so you’ll gain skills in their C# programming language, their SQL database and their Azure cloud. You’ll also earn an impressive £358 weekly wage!
- Future prospects: You’ll gain a Level 4 Qualification in Software Development, which you can then use to progress to a Level 5 Qualification (such as a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma) if you choose.