Why It’s Time To Ditch Tech Internships
By: Ashley Artrip
In a 2014 speech to UCLA students, Hillary Clinton blamed the youth unemployment crisis on a lack of entry-level positions and on-the-job training, combined with predatory businesses taking advantage of inexperienced young talent through unpaid internships. At the time, multiple industries were coming under fire for their internship practices — from Charlie Rose, to Condé Nast. However, the tech industry remained largely immune, in part because most tech internships have always included some form of compensation — until now.
While tech internships often do pay, they come with a host of other issues: from a lack of on-the-job training, to a lack of transferable skills, to below-market compensation, to the lack of a pipeline from internships to entry-level positions. At the end of the day, tech internships are a highly risky proposition: while there are some that act as gateway to a full-time offer in a great entry-level position, there are far more that are just there to profit off of below market rate labor.
It’s time to stop just focusing on unpaid vs. paid internships, and start focusing on the other causes of the youth unemployment crisis: the lack of comprehensive and immediately applicable job training, the lack of entry-level tech job accessibility for non-traditional candidates (first gen, minorities, etc.), and the lack of a pipeline from training to job placement.
Out With Tech Internships, In With Tech Training Programs
For years, the tech industry has sought alternatives to internships for scalable and affordable entry-level training. Finding top talent that can provide immediate value add has been a challenge for the rapidly growing industry. In the early 2000’s, this challenge was particularly acute for technical positions such as developers and engineers. Traditional education models hadn’t yet caught up with the new tech-driven business world, which made training tech talent difficult, and finding tech talent extremely competitive. Enter: bootcamps.
Bootcamps served to remedy this issue for technical jobs. Today, there are over 100 technical bootcamps, each of which graduates hundreds of candidates per year. There is no longer a shortage of tech talent, nor a dearth of technical training programs.
Instead, the tech industry is faced with a new talent shortage: trained candidates with a knowledge of the tech industry for customer-facing roles. It’s extremely difficult to find candidates for entry-level human-centric positions — such as sales, marketing, operations, or customer success — who understand the tech industry, SaaS tools, and basic industry concepts, such as managing the sales funnel. Because of this, many companies offered tech internships as a way to train talent without the associated costs of traditional onboarding.
Now, however, just as bootcamps gave technical candidates and employers a new, better way for training and talent sourcing, human-centric tech fellowships offer a more effective route to hiring and training.
The Top Four Reasons Why Job Seekers Should Choose a Tech Training Program Over a Tech Internship
Tech training programs are a new model for teaching human-centric skills sets to candidates pursuing careers in non-technical roles at tech companies. These programs act as a career accelerators: candidates are trained, given on-the-job experience, and given access to post-hire coaching and mentoring to ensure success. Additionally, unlike many bootcamp models, the best training fellowships, such as SV Academy, don’t charge upfront tuition, or tuition at all, in some cases. Instead, they partner with hiring companies who pay for access to the talent that the program produces — which gives candidates a direct pipeline from graduation to employment.
Here’s why more and more job seekers are ditching the tech internship model in favor of a reputable training program:
1. Guaranteed Applicable and Transferable Skill Set
Unlike tech internships — which either consist of brunt work or company-specific training — tech training programs teach skills that every entry-level human-centric position at a SaaS company will value. These skills include leading client calls, conducting outreach with prospects, and a general knowledge of the tech landscape and the tools that the vast majority of tech companies use (Salesforce, HubSpot, etc.).
2. No Upfront Tuition and a High Starting Salary
Because training programs guarantee that candidates are entering the job with an arsenal of skills already, the starting salary packages for program graduates tend to be higher than the starting salary for intern graduates. For instance, the average SV Academy graduate receives a full-time offer with a salary package of around $78,000. This is significantly higher than the average American salary of $44,564. Combine this with the fact that human-centric training programs do not charge tuition, and it’s no wonder that more and more job seekers are pursuing this route.
3. Guaranteed Employer Buy-In
Tech fellowships come with a guarantee that employers have bought into your program’s model and trust the education you’re receiving because they’re paying for access to the talent the program produces. This is an extremely important factor to take into account. While actually landing a job will still depend on your ability to ‘wow’ in an interview, the route to getting this interview is significantly streamlined for tech fellowship graduates.
4. Democratization of Access
Let’s face it: many candidates land tech internships because of pedigrees (ivy league education, etc.) or through connections. Tech training programs, on the other hand, are completely democratized. For instance, one of the top performing graduates of SV Academy was a former valet driver and first-generation college graduate. Job seekers from all walks of life can apply to tech training programs, and receive an education that expedites and streamlines the path to landing your first position in the tech industry.
Start Today: Drop Your Internship Hunt in Favor of a Tech Training Program or Bootcamp
Tech training programs offer a more effective path to hire and on-the-job success than any alternative can, including tech internships. Both employers and job seekers are moving to this new model for its security and proven track record of success. To learn more about how you can launch your career in the tech industry, visit sv.academy.
Elaina Ransford Contributed to this Article