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An apprentice from the Office of Innovation and Technology joins a tech team within the Philadelphia government

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There are many paths to a career in technology.

Some study IT, computer science, or related fields in college programs, while others self-study, attend bootcamps, or find their way into the industry after a career change. But a lesser-known path is the apprenticeship. The type of professional development experience has long been known in hands-on areas such as construction, but has also made inroads into the technology industry.

last year, city ​​of philadelphia announced that it will establish a technical apprenticeship system. Office of Innovation and TechnologyThe aim was to find three people working in city hall who were interested in transitioning into technical positions. Launch Code Also general meetingdepending on whether they pursued engineering or UX design jobs.

After several briefings (attended by 600 city officials), OIT said it had seen over 300 applicants. Sarah Hall, Director of Digital Services at OIT. If selected, OIT will pay her $60,000 salary for her two years in the apprenticeship program. Preference was given to applicants whose previous City Hall earnings were less than her $50,000.This program is a new Operation transformation fund.

The three apprentices began their bootcamp experience earlier this year and graduated this spring. Two focused on engineering and one focused on her UX.The apprentice is from the city Waterworks BureauIT support, Public Property Office.

In this case, apprenticeship is a unique form of training, Hall said. Technical.lybecause they’re skipping the basics and going straight to technical skills.

“We’re trying to turn what they might have been doing before — problem-solving, looking at multiple solutions, etc. — into a more pragmatic way with a UX and software engineering lens. .”

Sarah Hall, OIT

“We don’t teach people how to write emails,” she said, referring to the so-called soft skills“We are using a UX and software engineering lens to turn things that might have been done before, like problem solving, running multiple solutions, into more practical ways. is really integrated into the team.”

Since graduating from bootcamp, apprentices have been assigned to technical projects related to the Operations Transformation Fund or working on city websites. Phila.govAccording to Hall, those selected not only showed potential to excel in technology careers, but also demonstrated a love of working for the City. This is a notable difference that the current director himself considered when switching to civil service in 2017.

“Working in tech in the private sector is clearly performance driven. You work for money,” says Hall. “We are here to make services available, to help people get what they need from the city government, and to be transparent.” (Online reports on average technician salaries are wide However, it is true that engineers working in the private sector are likely to have more room to move up. (Salary issue.)

Hall and Dan Lopez The city’s Director of Software Engineering spent time thinking about what future iterations of the program might look like, frequently using the phrase “What does responsible scaling look like?” to their work. Their main goal is to work on projects that are beneficial and efficient for the city and its residents. Think about what you can do with the tools you have. Hall said those thoughts will come to mind as they grow and work through the apprenticeship program.

“The question is not a silly question. “And that’s growth, fostering open conversation.”

In case you have any questions (or if the city’s tech job sounds pretty cool) yes, the city is still looking for a CTO, Deputy Chief Information Officer (CTO). Andrew Bass As an aside, he told

“At the moment, as with many public institutions, I believe it is becoming difficult to find qualified candidates for higher-level technical positions,” he said in an email.