What’s the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship?
An intern is someone who:
- usually wants to explore many options for their next job, or career in general
- may be unpaid
- is probably in school
A company who hires interns:
- often has special project work that is a good fit for part-time employees
- knows it’s very likely the intern will work or study elsewhere after their internship
An apprentice is someone who:
- knows what type of job they want next, or what kind of career they want
- is almost always paid
- is probably not in school
A company who hires apprentices:
- has apprentices work side-by-side with expert employees on typical project work
- usually hires them for craft work, such as software development
- expects that the apprentice will probably work for them as a full-time employee after the apprenticeship
No value judgements
Neither an internship nor an apprenticeship is bad and the other good. I believe they’re intended for different people and companies.
Someone who isn’t sure they really want to be a web developer might feel overwhelmed in a rigorous apprenticeship. Someone who craves pair-programming with an expert may feel frustrated in an internship.
Similarly, not every company is able to provide the kind of one-on-one relationships that are necessary in an apprenticeship.
Well, I might be alone, but I do.
Setting expectations for everyone involved never hurts.