According to LinkedIn, ‘software developer’ is the 8th most in-demand job in the world. Among apprentices, it is one of the most sought after roles on the market.
Landing a coding apprenticeship in the UK can be challenging because of the intense competition, but there’s no reason why, with a bit of research and preparation, you can’t secure a place and kick off your career in software.
Read through our guide for tips on where to find the best software apprenticeships, and what you should know before you apply.
What is coding?
Coding, also known as computer programming, involves telling computers what actions to take – kind of like communicating with them.
You write the code, which acts as a set of instructions for the computer and tells it what to do or how to behave.
Jobs in software
Although ‘software developer’ is often used as a broad term, there are many different jobs within the software umbrella.
Software developers collaborate with clients to design and build software systems such as apps, programmes or games. They oversee the whole project in a creative way, such as code writing, mapping out the project, testing and maintenance of the core systems.
Software engineering and software development are closely linked, but they’re not exactly the same job.
Whereas software developers are the creative masterminds who oversee the development of a project, software engineers jump in to provide more in-depth technical expertise. This includes applying engineering principles to ensure that the programme works in a bug-free way and will be suitable for the client.
App developers do everything that software developers do. The difference is that they make sure the software programmes are suitable for apps.
Day-to-day activities include designing, developing and modifying the apps, plus communicating with clients to ensure that the apps meets their expectations.
As the name suggests, web developers create websites and ensure that they are easy to navigate and visually well-designed.
This job can be split into three categories: front end developer (the design of the website that users will see), back end developer (developing the code that runs the website behind the scenes) and full stack developer (both!).
Although most software professionals will know how to code to some extent, programmers are specialists in this area. Software developers and engineers create designs for the systems, then programmers can step in and turn them into instructions that computers can follow.
Where to find the best software and coding apprenticeships
BAE Systems is famous for its quality apprenticeship program, and this one is no different. Developing your capabilities as a Software Engineer, you will be trained to be able to design, build and test high-quality software solutions.
You will learn to apply engineering principles to all stages of the software development process, from requirements, through analysis and design, development, implementation, integration and verification.
As one of the Big Four, KPMG has the resources to offer high-quality Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeships. This is a 5-year apprenticeship and you’ll study towards a BSc (Hons) in Digital and Technology Solutions in either Manchester or London.
Unily is an employee experience platform that counts McDonald’s, Shell and Hershey among their clients. Their Level 4 Software Tester Apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to learn from their award-winning software teams, so don’t miss out.
During this 18-month apprenticeship, you’ll be designing the NOW TV interface (yep, that NOW TV), learning full stack skills and getting to grips with Java programming. With multiple locations across the UK, check if there is one near you.
During this 4-year, Level 6 Software Development Engineer Apprenticeship, you’ll work towards a BSc (Hons) in Digital & Technology Solutions. Amazon offer what they call ‘blended learning’: a mix of virtual and in-person workshops, online self-study and on-the-job learning.
Similarly to Amazon’s apprenticeship, you can also earn a BSc (Hons) in Digital & Technology Solutions during your Level 6 apprenticeship with BT. Their locations are Bristol, Birmingham, Ipswich and Belfast.
BP is a global icon in the fuel and energy industry, and you can work for them during a Level 4 Software Development Apprenticeship. The interview process for this apprenticeship involves 6 steps, so be sure to apply early.
If problem solving is one of your key strengths, coding could be the path for you. Software professionals often work in a team, so teamwork and great communication are essential. Attention to detail is also key – one mistake in a line of code can jeopardise the project.
Most apprenticeships will expect you to have at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4. Others, such as the apprenticeship with BP, only accept candidates with a minimum of 2 A Levels in STEM subjects.
If you’re not already familiar with different programming languages, cloud platforms and databases, take some time to understand the most popular ones. This will give you a leg up before your apprenticeship.
Here are the top tools and technologies that you should familiarise yourself with. If they look like gobbledygook, that’s fine… get Googling!
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Software is big – and it’s only getting bigger
As one of the most in-demand roles, there’s a lot of competition for software apprenticeships. But that’s a good thing – it shows that software is still booming in popularity, and it is a reliable career choice. With so many different tools, technologies or industries to specialise in, working in coding and software is always exciting, dynamic, and rewarding.
Software is the future – and you could be the person creating it.