The Fellowship: how can I get professional experience in tech?

Almost half of the students completing the Apps for Good course say afterwards that they are interested in a technology focused career. Apps for Good students and teachers alike tell us that real-world experience is essential, and many employers feel the same. This blog is part of our latest project with Monster to provide high-quality content and support for Apps for Good Students and Fellows keen to find out more about careers in tech.

In 2012, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills cited “lack of experience” as the number one reason employers gave for turning young applicants away. At the same time, students and teaches tell tell us that formal work experience placements are increasingly difficult to find.

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There’s no reason to fear! Here are some helpful ways to get out there, get experience and get a taste of what the tech industry is really like.

Volunteer

Volunteering can help you get your foot in the door of an area you’re interested in. You can look for things you know you’ll like, but it’s also a great way to try something new. As a bonus, volunteering opportunities are often easier to find than jobs or formal work experience placements. Here are some great places to look:

Make Things

Your own digital projects can make a great addition to your CV. No matter the format, if you’re creating something digital you should feel proud to share it!

  • Don’t forget to add Apps for Good to your CV. Many of our Apps for Good Fellows say it makes a fantastic topic for job and university interviews.
  • If you’re looking for something near you,  Make Things Do Stuff is a great directory of clubs, workshops and events across the UK.
  • Want to learn on your own and gain recognition for your work? The Duke of York has rolled out the new Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award for young people across the UK. 

Meet People

Start where you can to meet professionals in the industries you’re interested in. Try to find out as much as possible about the work they do and the skills they use on a daily basis.

  • The Apps for Good Expert community exists to help mentor students through the course, but Experts are more than happy to tell you about careers. Talk to your Apps for Good teacher about requesting a session.
  • As an Apps for Good Fellow, you’ll also have opportunities to meet top industry professionals our Apps for Good Events our our monthly Hangouts. Find out what’s next on the Student Dashboard.
  • Check out the stories and articles from Plotr, offering insights into a variety of real-world roles. Young women aged 15+ can also get mentoring though Stemettes.

Reflect and Prepare

While you’re doing these things you’ll want to pay attention to what you do and do not like,  as well as think about what you want to do more of in the future. Check out the Student Dashboard for resources to help you uncover your strengths, plan for your dream career and prepare for interviews.

Formal Placements

If you’re looking for a formal work experience placement, you will have to put yourself out there. This article from Monster gives you tips for approaching potential employers.

To find out more about how you can meet professionals and get the real-world experience you want in tech join The Fellowship!