17 Best Software Engineering Apprenticeships: Tech Companies That Hire Software Developers Without Degrees

Career Guide Aug 3, 2021

A traditional university degree is not for everyone. It is also not the only way to ensure a bright future. More and more students are looking for alternatives to this traditional way of doing things.

For those looking to start or switch to a career in technology - whether it be a specialization in software, UX, Cybersecurity, or Data Science - apprenticeships can be a great way to learn while being paid. Apprenticeships are structured programs of varying duration (ranging from a year up to six years) that are designed to provide people with non-traditional backgrounds with the right resources and guidance to start and build a career in their field of choice. In some cases, apprentices even earn a degree at the end of their program.

This concept has particularly evolved in the field of software engineering. Several tech companies have understood the importance of a diverse workforce and are opening avenues for the growth of non-traditional hiring pipelines. Apprenticeships serve as a great way to promote this diversity while recruiting the best and the brightest.

Related: The Best Cybersecurity Apprenticeships

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Tech Companies That Offer Software Engineering Apprenticeships

1. IBM Apprenticeship Program

Location: Worldwide

IBM runs The New Collar program, which is designed as a gateway into the corporate world for candidates who do not have a traditional advanced degree. Apprenticeships are available in all kinds of technical roles such as Data Science and Software Engineering. Apprentices get the opportunity to work on a wide range of tasks and collaborate with their peers across the world. The apprenticeship experience is personalized keeping in mind the participants' personal and career goals, and at every step of the way, you can expect to get mentorship and guidance.

IBM follows a goal-oriented approach, and as you progress through the internship, you can expect to gain certification and credentials to validate your learnings.

The program is open worldwide and most apprentices can complete it within 24 months. Once the apprenticeship is complete, successful participants are qualified to work at IBM in full-time positions.

In the UK, IBM runs a School Leaver Program with apprenticeships across the country.

2. Google

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

Google runs a work-and-study program where participants can learn while being paid. The program is open worldwide, and the duration can vary based on your geography. Typically, their apprenticeships run anywhere from 12 months to 4 years.

The field of work is varied. While there are tech and engineering roles, participants can work in other fields such as UX design and digital marketing.

Google also welcomes applications from candidates with university degrees, as long as the field of study is different from the apprenticeship, and you meet the minimum requirements to apply.

3. Amazon

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

Amazon's apprenticeship program runs across Europe and the UK. You could join one of 6 teams: Reliability Maintenance Engineering (RME), Information Technology (IT), Software Development, Fashion and Marketing, or Operations.

Amazon's apprenticeship program combined theoretical learning with hands-on experience. All apprenticeships are paid opportunities. These programs are especially great for those considering a career change.

4. Barclays

Location: Multiple, UK & USA

The Barclays Bank has two levels of apprenticeship programs across the UK and the US.

The Foundation Apprenticeships are designed for students who have finished their GCSEs (in the UK) or have a high school diploma (in the US). The Higher Apprenticeship Program is for those who have A-levels or equivalent qualifications. You can expect to work across three different verticals, Operations, Technology, or Functions.

Participants can also earn a degree or professional qualification or degree in operations while on the program.

5. Microsoft's LEAP Apprenticeship Program

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

Microsoft's Leap Program has been running since 2015 and was started as a launchpad into the tech industry. The program is a 16-week immersive that combines classroom learning with engineering projects.

Participants get the experience of collaborating with teams to work on real wold Microsoft projects like Azure, Xbox and Office365. The program is open at Microsoft offices worldwide. Participants can choose from a variety of different fields such as Software Engineering, User Experience design and Data Analysis.

6. LinkedIn Reach Apprenticeship

Location: Sunnyvale, California, USA

REACH is an engineering apprenticeship program at LinkedIn targeted towards people looking to start or restart their careers in engineering. The program is centered around software engineering and related fields. They primarily recruit candidates who are passionate about coding.

Reach is a multi-year program across five verticals within engineering - Applications, Mobile, User Interface, Site Reliability, or Artificial Intelligence.

Program duration can vary from candidate to candidate. Generally, participants are expected to work as apprentices for a minimum of one year and no longer than five years. The length of the program is contingent on the incoming skill, progression and experience. Participants have the opportunity to be promoted to full-time Software Develo after the program.

7. Lyft Engineering Apprenticeship

Location: Multiple, USA

Lyft offers several different apprenticeships in its US offices. This apprenticeship is ideal for people who have attended coding bootcamps. Other backgrounds are also welcome to apply.

Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with different engineering teams across the company and get mentored by senior developers. Your code could be shipped to production!

8. Spotify's Technology Fellowship

Location: New York City, USA & London, UK

Spotify's NYC Tech Fellowship has been running for around four years. After the success of the New York program, they have also expanded to running it in their London office.

The Spotify Tech Fellowship is aimed at entry-level developers from non-traditional backgrounds. You could be a bootcamp graduate, self-taught, or have a degree from a community college.

Participants are expected to operate as a team within Spotify for an 18-week period. All participants who meet the Spotify standard and expectations are offered full-time Associate Engineer positions.

9. Twitter's Engineering Apprenticeship Program

Location: Multiple, USA

Twitter's Engineering Apprenticeship Program wants to help fix the lack of diversity in tech. Apprentices are recruited from a variety of backgrounds such as coding bootcamps, self-taught coders, veterans and caregivers returning to the workforce). Underrepresented communities in tech like women, Black, Latinx and Indigenous People are also welcome to apply.

This is a one-year program with full-time employment benefits. To qualify, participants must bring at least two years of work experience (doesn’t need to be technical) and proficiency in at least one programming language.

10. JP Morgan

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

JP Morgan runs the Financial Services Apprenticeship program for early-career individuals. Apprentices work in a wide range of verticals like cash management, project management roles, trade support functions, accounting and many others.

In the UK, the program runs in JP Morgan's offices in London and Bournemouth. While in the program, participants get a weekly training day, where they get lectures towards the CISI Investment Operations Certificate and a Level 4 Investment Operations Specialist Apprenticeship. There is also an opportunity to progress to higher levels of these certifications.

Upon completion of a final piece of non-apprenticeship coursework, participants are also awarded a full honors degree in Applied Finance from the University of Exeter.

11. Shopify's Dev Degree

Location: Multiple, Canada | Open to International Applicants

The Dev Degree program is an extremely comprehensive practical experience-oriented degree program created by Shopify in collaboration with three universities in Canada.

If you get into the Dev Degree program, Shopify pays for your tuition at these Universities and also provides you with a competitive internship stipend to support your living expenses.

Over the course of the program, you will take University courses while getting hands-on experience as an intern at Shopify. The Dev Degree learning structure is outlined below.

YEAR 1YEAR 2+
Developer skills
training at Shopify
New development team
every 8/12 months
Ruby, Rails, JavaScript,
React, databases, and more
3,800+ hours of hands-on experience across different high-demand development disciplines and products
University studies in parallel to Shopify training and placements
Source: Shopify Dev Degree

12. Accenture

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

Accenture's Apprenticeship program has hosted over a thousand apprentices across 35 cities in the United States.

In 2017, Accenture and Aon cofounded the Chicago Apprenticeship Network and partnered with local employers like McDonald’s, Zurich Insurance and Walgreens to jumpstart their professional apprenticeship programs. Their mission is to expand this model to other cities around the US.

13. The BBC

Location: Multiple, UK

The BBC offers apprenticeships for school-leavers across four different verticals, Journalism, Engineering & Technology, Business and Production. Participants complete both off-the-job and on-the-job training and study for a bachelor's degree with tailored modules.

14. EY UK School Leaver Program

Location: Multiple, UK

EY's School Leaver programs range from apprenticeships to other forms of work experience.

The EY Business Academy is a one-week program for students who are already considering alternatives to traditional universities. It is a paid program where students get the opportunity to work and learn on the job in Assurance, Tax or Strategy and Transactions.

For longer programs, EY also offers apprenticeships in 9 different verticals like Technology and Business Consulting. Their Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology is a 4-year program at the end of which participants are awarded a BSc degree in Digital and Technology solutions with BPP University.

They also run a ten-month Smart Futures program for students of lower-income backgrounds.

15. Twilio's Hatch Apprenticeship Program

Location: San Francisco, California, USA

Twilio offers a 6-month software engineering apprenticeship program for people from underrepresented backgrounds. It is designed to promote diversity in tech and to make software developer roles more accessible for people from no traditional backgrounds.

The program runs in two parts. In the first phase, participants work together on projects and challenges. In the second phase, each participant is paired with an engineering manager. Participants also receive mentorship from technical specialists.

16. Adobe Digital Academy

Location: Multiple, USA

Adobe's Digital Academy is designed for career switchers who want to start working in tech-related fields such as UX design, data science and software engineering. Created in collaboration with General Assembly, the program aims to serve underrepresented groups in tech.

Participants get the opportunity to become remote technical interns at Adobe. After successful completion of the program, they are considered for full-time positions.

Participants get intensive technical training, followed by three to six months of real-world industry experience to test and improve their skills.

17. Thoughtbot

Location: Multiple, Worldwide

Thoughtbot is a consulting firm with designers and developers that help teams build successful digital products.

Thoughtbot offers paid apprenticeship programs for Web and iOS Developers, as well as UI Designers. These are 3 month paid programs that have the possibility of conversion to a full-time role.

The program was created in 2011, and so far they have worked with over 50 apprentices. Although it is based on performance, most people have ended their apprenticeships with a full-time position.


There are plenty of great apprenticeship programs to choose from. The cost of obtaining a degree has more than tripled over the past decades, and having a degree no longer affords the same benefits in the job market as it did in the past. It can be a better bet to earn while learning.

The big benefit of doing an apprenticeship is that not only are you debt-free at the start of your career, but also gain entry into some great organizations when the competition is not as severe.

Interested in more alternatives to college after high school? Read our handy guide for some solid ideas!

8 Solid Alternatives To Traditional College After High School
Going to college can seem like the only option after high school, but there are plenty of other alternatives to consider. Here are our top picks.

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