MAXX Potential

Commit to Building Your GitHub Presence in the New Year

By MAXX Potential

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

“I’m delighted every time I discover a GitHub profile linked to a resume.” John Spauls, MAXX Potential Operations Director, said. “It’s a window into a technologist’s hard skills and interests.”

Whether you’re happy with your current role or you’re advancing your tech career, committing to building your GitHub presence throughout the new year ensures that you continue to grow and show your skills.

At MAXX Potential, we love to see projects linked to a resume or LinkedIn. The tech industry changes so much that seeing other technologists commit to their own growth through projects drives the passion of our team.

So what does it take to commit to building your GitHub presence?

We hoped you’d ask, and we’re ready to discuss ways to determine your project ideas, set a goal, create a task list, track your progress, and decide where to share the repositories.

Determine Programming Project Ideas

The projects you work on are entirely up to you. That can feel overwhelming, and if you feel that way, you’re not the first. How do you decide?

One of the best ways to figure out what to work on is to follow your curiosity.

Open up a new document or note and spend a few minutes considering the questions below. Type out your answers so you have them as a touchstone later on in your process.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What am I excited to work on?
  • What system would I like to figure out?
  • Do I have a specific area that I want to gain experience in?
  • What are my career goals and what project helps with those goals?
  • Are there any existing public GitHub repositories I’d like to build out?

Sometimes your project idea might present itself to you. For one of the MAXX Potential Apprentices, the project idea came from a social media connection. Let’s hear it in his own words.

“My favorite author posted on his Facebook page,” Robert Clemo, MAXX Potential Apprentice shared, “He had a project that had been on the back burner for years, and he wanted to know if anyone who followed him had any cloud, web, and database knowledge.”

Clemo and others responded to the post, listed their capabilities, and specified their time availability for the project. From there, Clemo explained, “Together, we collaborated on the project to bring it to reality.”

Your project ideas can come from anywhere, and some project ideas can become a collaborative project. Let’s explore project collaboration more!

Collaborate on a Software Development Project

One of the best ways to develop a larger project is to work on a team. While we all may have bad memories of school projects, your project alliance can skip some of those cringe moments.

GitHub makes it easy to partner on projects with their “git clone” and “git fork” commands, and you can even build off of someone else’s project, rather than do a strict collaboration.

Landing on an interesting project with great team members can take time, and MAXX Apprentices have different experiences of how to find project collaborators.

“I’ve done a few freelance projects for friends, and those conversations went like, ‘I saw these projects you made and I need something like it.’” Parker Benbow, MAXX Potential Apprentice discussed his collaboration on projects. He continued, “basically, they’d have an idea and then say, ‘could Parker build that?’”

Meanwhile, Heidi Jay, MAXX Potential Apprentice, has had a hand in gathering a team of people together to work on a project. She shared, “I find project success happens when you have a designated leader who helps organize the team and can guide the process a bit. Collaborative projects can be really rewarding and fun.”

Teamwork on projects can be exhilarating because you don’t face the project problems alone, but it can have its own set of additional problems because you’re working with other people you may not always agree with throughout the timeline. However, from an employer standpoint, project collaboration can demonstrate the hard and soft skills they seek in a future employee.

Set a Goal for Growing Your GitHub Presence

Since you balance life responsibilities alongside your goals, it’s important to come up with a plan for your GitHub presence. It might not make sense to have the goal of finishing a new project every month, but you may want to shoot for a total of six projects for the year. Set attainable goals and maybe some stretch goals too.

For example, a common new year resolution is setting extreme fitness goals such as losing 50 pounds or getting a 6-pack. Resolution-setters quickly discard the goal because they didn’t make a plan with steps. A more attainable, smarter goal is saying, “I will go on three 20-minute walks each week.”

When you’re deciding on your goals for growing your GitHub presence, consider what it takes to reach each goal.

Create a Detail-Oriented Task List

For growing your GitHub presence, consider outlining what it will take to finish a new repository every other month, and then from there, create an individualized task list for the project. The more detailed you can write your task list, the better you can stay on top of it.

Just as Heidi shared above, it’s important to have a designated leader who will guide the team, and even if you’re doing a project solo, you want to create that same level of guidance for yourself even when it’s self-directed.

Your task list gives you the overarching vision for each project so you can start and stop as you need when life gets in the way.


Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your task list completion becomes the next component. While GitHub provides a progress bar, it can’t keep track of the details of your project.

You need to stay plugged into your project vision.

Whether you opt for a notebook or you prefer other platforms, some good tools include Asana, ClickUp, MindMeister, Trello, or AirTable. Each platform allows you to customize your task list in as much detail as you want. You’ll know exactly where you’re headed, where you stopped, and what’s next.

“AirTable is my go-to tool for organization because it provides multiple views of the information I’m working with, and it’s highly customizable.” Tucker Mahan, MAXX Potential Talent Director, shared.

Tracking your progress throughout the project provides you with a roadmap to finish the project as well as the reward of seeing your project come together.

Set Project Time in Daily Life

What does it take for you to actually do the work for your project? Most of us have big ideas but implementing them is a whole other battle. If you struggle to focus on your project, even though you want to do the work, you’re not alone.

For example, a common problem many novel writers experience is bookmarking time for writing and then not writing a single word. This is where routine can help. Some writers swear by their routine of preparing a cup of tea, lighting a candle, and tuning into a music playlist. This routine smooths the way for an hour of productivity.

You may find that starting some type of routine before you work on a project can get you into the right headspace for the work ahead.

Publish Your GitHub Repository Publicly

To publish from the start or to publish upon project completion can be a point of discussion.

The answer goes back to your own goal: do you plan to use your GitHub as a portfolio or do you hope publishing will keep you accountable to finishing?

A finished GitHub repository becomes a part of your online portfolio, and an unfinished project that’s published will be viewable by all. So commit to completing your GitHub repositories!

At MAXX Potential, we seek individuals who create their own learning opportunities and dive into projects to expand their knowledge. Do you want to start or advance your tech career? Join our next Career Lab!

MORE POSTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

Commit to Building Your GitHub Presence in the New Year

By MAXX Potential

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

“I’m delighted every time I discover a GitHub profile linked to a resume.” John Spauls, MAXX Potential Operations Director, said. “It’s a window into a technologist’s hard skills and interests.”

Whether you’re happy with your current role or you’re advancing your tech career, committing to building your GitHub presence throughout the new year ensures that you continue to grow and show your skills.

At MAXX Potential, we love to see projects linked to a resume or LinkedIn. The tech industry changes so much that seeing other technologists commit to their own growth through projects drives the passion of our team.

So what does it take to commit to building your GitHub presence?

We hoped you’d ask, and we’re ready to discuss ways to determine your project ideas, set a goal, create a task list, track your progress, and decide where to share the repositories.

Determine Programming Project Ideas

The projects you work on are entirely up to you. That can feel overwhelming, and if you feel that way, you’re not the first. How do you decide?

One of the best ways to figure out what to work on is to follow your curiosity.

Open up a new document or note and spend a few minutes considering the questions below. Type out your answers so you have them as a touchstone later on in your process.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What am I excited to work on?
  • What system would I like to figure out?
  • Do I have a specific area that I want to gain experience in?
  • What are my career goals and what project helps with those goals?
  • Are there any existing public GitHub repositories I’d like to build out?

Sometimes your project idea might present itself to you. For one of the MAXX Potential Apprentices, the project idea came from a social media connection. Let’s hear it in his own words.

“My favorite author posted on his Facebook page,” Robert Clemo, MAXX Potential Apprentice shared, “He had a project that had been on the back burner for years, and he wanted to know if anyone who followed him had any cloud, web, and database knowledge.”

Clemo and others responded to the post, listed their capabilities, and specified their time availability for the project. From there, Clemo explained, “Together, we collaborated on the project to bring it to reality.”

Your project ideas can come from anywhere, and some project ideas can become a collaborative project. Let’s explore project collaboration more!

Collaborate on a Software Development Project

One of the best ways to develop a larger project is to work on a team. While we all may have bad memories of school projects, your project alliance can skip some of those cringe moments.

GitHub makes it easy to partner on projects with their “git clone” and “git fork” commands, and you can even build off of someone else’s project, rather than do a strict collaboration.

Landing on an interesting project with great team members can take time, and MAXX Apprentices have different experiences of how to find project collaborators.

“I’ve done a few freelance projects for friends, and those conversations went like, ‘I saw these projects you made and I need something like it.’” Parker Benbow, MAXX Potential Apprentice discussed his collaboration on projects. He continued, “basically, they’d have an idea and then say, ‘could Parker build that?’”

Meanwhile, Heidi Jay, MAXX Potential Apprentice, has had a hand in gathering a team of people together to work on a project. She shared, “I find project success happens when you have a designated leader who helps organize the team and can guide the process a bit. Collaborative projects can be really rewarding and fun.”

Teamwork on projects can be exhilarating because you don’t face the project problems alone, but it can have its own set of additional problems because you’re working with other people you may not always agree with throughout the timeline. However, from an employer standpoint, project collaboration can demonstrate the hard and soft skills they seek in a future employee.

Set a Goal for Growing Your GitHub Presence

Since you balance life responsibilities alongside your goals, it’s important to come up with a plan for your GitHub presence. It might not make sense to have the goal of finishing a new project every month, but you may want to shoot for a total of six projects for the year. Set attainable goals and maybe some stretch goals too.

For example, a common new year resolution is setting extreme fitness goals such as losing 50 pounds or getting a 6-pack. Resolution-setters quickly discard the goal because they didn’t make a plan with steps. A more attainable, smarter goal is saying, “I will go on three 20-minute walks each week.”

When you’re deciding on your goals for growing your GitHub presence, consider what it takes to reach each goal.

Create a Detail-Oriented Task List

For growing your GitHub presence, consider outlining what it will take to finish a new repository every other month, and then from there, create an individualized task list for the project. The more detailed you can write your task list, the better you can stay on top of it.

Just as Heidi shared above, it’s important to have a designated leader who will guide the team, and even if you’re doing a project solo, you want to create that same level of guidance for yourself even when it’s self-directed.

Your task list gives you the overarching vision for each project so you can start and stop as you need when life gets in the way.


Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your task list completion becomes the next component. While GitHub provides a progress bar, it can’t keep track of the details of your project.

You need to stay plugged into your project vision.

Whether you opt for a notebook or you prefer other platforms, some good tools include Asana, ClickUp, MindMeister, Trello, or AirTable. Each platform allows you to customize your task list in as much detail as you want. You’ll know exactly where you’re headed, where you stopped, and what’s next.

“AirTable is my go-to tool for organization because it provides multiple views of the information I’m working with, and it’s highly customizable.” Tucker Mahan, MAXX Potential Talent Director, shared.

Tracking your progress throughout the project provides you with a roadmap to finish the project as well as the reward of seeing your project come together.

Set Project Time in Daily Life

What does it take for you to actually do the work for your project? Most of us have big ideas but implementing them is a whole other battle. If you struggle to focus on your project, even though you want to do the work, you’re not alone.

For example, a common problem many novel writers experience is bookmarking time for writing and then not writing a single word. This is where routine can help. Some writers swear by their routine of preparing a cup of tea, lighting a candle, and tuning into a music playlist. This routine smooths the way for an hour of productivity.

You may find that starting some type of routine before you work on a project can get you into the right headspace for the work ahead.

Publish Your GitHub Repository Publicly

To publish from the start or to publish upon project completion can be a point of discussion.

The answer goes back to your own goal: do you plan to use your GitHub as a portfolio or do you hope publishing will keep you accountable to finishing?

A finished GitHub repository becomes a part of your online portfolio, and an unfinished project that’s published will be viewable by all. So commit to completing your GitHub repositories!

At MAXX Potential, we seek individuals who create their own learning opportunities and dive into projects to expand their knowledge. Do you want to start or advance your tech career? Join our next Career Lab!

MORE POSTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

AI Is Taking Over Resume Assessment. Is That A Good Thing?

By Barbara Brutt

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay, and it’s already automating many processes, including hiring. Charged with automation of repetitive tasks, AI frees humans for other creative problem-solving challenges—specifically, the ability to produce new ways to do things. When it comes to resume assessment, AI handles collection and resume analysis while managers run the interview process.

The purpose of the resume is to get a candidate’s foot in the door for the hiring process. When a hiring manager or an AI software program looks at a resume, they’re seeking specific skills and experience. So what does it take to assess a resume and the corresponding candidate?

What It Takes to Assess a Resume

Most industries require a resume for an initial job application, and these documents are basically a sparknotes version of a candidate’s work history and experience. When looking at a resume, it’s important to compare the job description to the work experience. If the role requires interpersonal skills or daily writing responsibilities, it’s ideal to look for customer service experience and clean writing throughout the resume.

A Human Assesses a Resume

When a Human Resources hiring manager handles job applications and assesses resumes, they compare job experience to the role description. They look at job history, projects, and results. Hit the right style points, and some managers will likely be swayed to interview. Hide your contact information in an excessive design, and you may never hear back.

The human element of resume assessment may include unconscious biases, gut instincts, and certain familiarities. This can make some resumes move to the top of the pile while other candidates who might be great for the role are overlooked.

While a resume presents job facts, it also shares a story of personal and professional growth. A hiring manager can see the candidate’s career passion, sense of authenticity, and personal pride. These clues converge to represent a candidate’s potential.

AI Assesses a Resume

AI replacing humans has made the resume assessment process more efficient. Collecting resumes through an automated application system allows for notifications of resume receipt to be sent to employer and candidate alike. These are welcome benefits.

When an AI program assesses a resume, its algorithms follow exact rules. AI searches for keywords from the job description in the resume, and it assesses whether or not the appropriate certifications, education levels, and work timelines are present. For AI, the process is a simple yes or no. If a resume meets the criteria, then the corresponding candidate moves forward in the hiring process.

As AI becomes more pervasive, many people fear being replaced by artificial intelligence. However, according to census data studies collected over the last 140 years, automation technology has actually created more jobs.

The Problem with AI Resume Assessment

Where AI falls short in recruiting is how it evaluates candidates based on historical data as opposed to their current potential. AI vetoes resumes of candidates who may have the necessary skills and aptitude for a role, but they lack the education levels or general certifications.

AI was not designed to increase the diversity in hiring. It was designed to make administrative processes more efficient for employers. It did one job, but it cannot do the other. There are many people capable of filling the positions that cause recruiting headaches for tech employers, but they won’t all shine in historical evaluation systems. 

In the United States, there are an estimated 27 million “hidden workers,” people who want to work but are failing the initial resume assessment because they’re lacking credentials. AI resume assessment misses the candidate’s potential and value beyond credentials.

According to the Harvard Business School, hidden workers cited the following criteria that disqualified them from securing work:

  • 36% – years of experience
  • 30% – employment gaps in resume
  • 29% – academic performance
  • 29% – professional credentials
  • 26% – career progression (previous job titles and employers)
  • 22% – skills

A large majority (88%) of employers agree that qualified high-skill candidates are vetted out of the process because they do not match the exact criteria established by the job description. That number rose to 94% in the case of middle-skill workers.

AI algorithms are designed to isolate criteria on an applicant’s resume and sort resumes by that information, but the algorithms may skip a creatively-skilled applicant’s resume who may become an impactful employee.

Knowing how to spot potential is crucial and it’s what MAXX Potential does.

Assessing Potential Beyond the Resume

Recognizing potential in a resume starts with reading between the lines of the project accomplishments, interpersonal achievements, and passion presentation. While AI checkmarks credentials, industry keywords, and education, hiring managers unearth a candidate’s attitude, drive, and eagerness.

At MAXX Potential, we look for the people who light up—who revel in the journey of solving a problem.

We find talented individuals because they are interested in joining the tech industry and sign up for the free multi-session Career Lab. Participants interact with hands-on activities, demonstrating problem-solving abilities alongside their tech experience. After Career Lab, some participants apply to the paid apprenticeship program where they gain on-the-job experience and professional development mentorship.

There is no shortage of high potential people—the key is finding them and equipping them to succeed in the tech industry.

Ready to learn more about the tech industry or ready to find a unique way to invest in future tech talent? Register for our next Career Lab as a participant or partner with MAXX Potential to access a diverse talent pipeline.

MORE POSTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

AI Is Taking Over Resume Assessment. Is That A Good Thing?

By Barbara Brutt

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay, and it’s already automating many processes, including hiring. Charged with automation of repetitive tasks, AI frees humans for other creative problem-solving challenges—specifically, the ability to produce new ways to do things. When it comes to resume assessment, AI handles collection and resume analysis while managers run the interview process.

The purpose of the resume is to get a candidate’s foot in the door for the hiring process. When a hiring manager or an AI software program looks at a resume, they’re seeking specific skills and experience. So what does it take to assess a resume and the corresponding candidate?

What It Takes to Assess a Resume

Most industries require a resume for an initial job application, and these documents are basically a sparknotes version of a candidate’s work history and experience. When looking at a resume, it’s important to compare the job description to the work experience. If the role requires interpersonal skills or daily writing responsibilities, it’s ideal to look for customer service experience and clean writing throughout the resume.

A Human Assesses a Resume

When a Human Resources hiring manager handles job applications and assesses resumes, they compare job experience to the role description. They look at job history, projects, and results. Hit the right style points, and some managers will likely be swayed to interview. Hide your contact information in an excessive design, and you may never hear back.

The human element of resume assessment may include unconscious biases, gut instincts, and certain familiarities. This can make some resumes move to the top of the pile while other candidates who might be great for the role are overlooked.

While a resume presents job facts, it also shares a story of personal and professional growth. A hiring manager can see the candidate’s career passion, sense of authenticity, and personal pride. These clues converge to represent a candidate’s potential.

AI Assesses a Resume

AI replacing humans has made the resume assessment process more efficient. Collecting resumes through an automated application system allows for notifications of resume receipt to be sent to employer and candidate alike. These are welcome benefits.

When an AI program assesses a resume, its algorithms follow exact rules. AI searches for keywords from the job description in the resume, and it assesses whether or not the appropriate certifications, education levels, and work timelines are present. For AI, the process is a simple yes or no. If a resume meets the criteria, then the corresponding candidate moves forward in the hiring process.

As AI becomes more pervasive, many people fear being replaced by artificial intelligence. However, according to census data studies collected over the last 140 years, automation technology has actually created more jobs.

The Problem with AI Resume Assessment

Where AI falls short in recruiting is how it evaluates candidates based on historical data as opposed to their current potential. AI vetoes resumes of candidates who may have the necessary skills and aptitude for a role, but they lack the education levels or general certifications.

AI was not designed to increase the diversity in hiring. It was designed to make administrative processes more efficient for employers. It did one job, but it cannot do the other. There are many people capable of filling the positions that cause recruiting headaches for tech employers, but they won’t all shine in historical evaluation systems. 

In the United States, there are an estimated 27 million “hidden workers,” people who want to work but are failing the initial resume assessment because they’re lacking credentials. AI resume assessment misses the candidate’s potential and value beyond credentials.

According to the Harvard Business School, hidden workers cited the following criteria that disqualified them from securing work:

  • 36% – years of experience
  • 30% – employment gaps in resume
  • 29% – academic performance
  • 29% – professional credentials
  • 26% – career progression (previous job titles and employers)
  • 22% – skills

A large majority (88%) of employers agree that qualified high-skill candidates are vetted out of the process because they do not match the exact criteria established by the job description. That number rose to 94% in the case of middle-skill workers.

AI algorithms are designed to isolate criteria on an applicant’s resume and sort resumes by that information, but the algorithms may skip a creatively-skilled applicant’s resume who may become an impactful employee.

Knowing how to spot potential is crucial and it’s what MAXX Potential does.

Assessing Potential Beyond the Resume

Recognizing potential in a resume starts with reading between the lines of the project accomplishments, interpersonal achievements, and passion presentation. While AI checkmarks credentials, industry keywords, and education, hiring managers unearth a candidate’s attitude, drive, and eagerness.

At MAXX Potential, we look for the people who light up—who revel in the journey of solving a problem.

We find talented individuals because they are interested in joining the tech industry and sign up for the free multi-session Career Lab. Participants interact with hands-on activities, demonstrating problem-solving abilities alongside their tech experience. After Career Lab, some participants apply to the paid apprenticeship program where they gain on-the-job experience and professional development mentorship.

There is no shortage of high potential people—the key is finding them and equipping them to succeed in the tech industry.

Ready to learn more about the tech industry or ready to find a unique way to invest in future tech talent? Register for our next Career Lab as a participant or partner with MAXX Potential to access a diverse talent pipeline.

MORE POSTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

Don’t Let A Credential Keep You From a Tech Career

By The Team at MAXX

As more hiring companies lean on AI screening tools to sort through resumes, the lack of a credential can become a barrier to landing that first interview. However, it’s not just the credential that gets you through the interview process. Most hiring managers look beyond credentials and want to see examples of applied experience.

According to Inc.com and Techrepublic.com, Google and many of the top companies are changing their hiring criteria, even going so far as to create their own certification programs. Google claims the programs “equip participants with the essential skills they need to get a job,” with “no degree or prior experience required to take the courses.”

TechRepublic points out that “while a company like Google doesn’t disregard academics, its strategy revolves more around creating paths for nontraditional candidates.”

At MAXX Potential, we go beyond the resume and help apprentices achieve their tech aspirations by providing the industry experience, training, and mentoring required to ace that second interview. We pair MAXX Apprentices with MAXX Mentors and customers who need smart and eager team members, meaning MAXX Apprentices work on projects that make a difference in the world and to our customers. 

A Few Things to Consider Before Seeking an Information Technology Credential

While IT credentials can strengthen your resume and knowledge base, they take time and money. Most certifications will require months of work on top of your daily life responsibilities. The benefits of credentials are many, and at the same time, experience is just as and maybe more crucial to developing a strong resume.

As career paths become more and more choose-your-own adventure when it comes to deciding on experience and credentials, employees have more options to choose a path that best fits their unique talents, interests, and abilities.

Specializations

When you know what tech role you want to fill, this can orient your decisions around possible certifications. Some fields require more specific knowledge, and specializations will outfit you with the appropriate information. While certifications are available for many areas of IT, some areas require specific certifications, and they are more relevant for security and infrastructure-related roles like: 

  • Cybersecurity
  • Networking
  • Cloud computing
  • Data

Job Relevance

Some jobs prioritize experience over credentials and certifications. Meanwhile, other jobs require that all job candidates are up to date and certified in specific standards. For example, a technology security position may require specific certifications to even qualify while a software engineering manager may be more interested in your repository than the list of courses you’ve completed.

Certification Reimbursement

Some jobs reimburse employees for meeting their education requirements by going through a certification program. This benefits the company and you. Certification reimbursement can remove the financial barrier. If your company offers a reimbursement program, go for it. 

Career Pivots

Not all certifications are created equal, and experience in the target tech area will give you a working understanding of the role you desire to fill. While it might make sense to gain a credential for a role you hope to occupy, on-the-job experience can often take you further. Choose your credentials wisely. 

Don’t Let A Credential Keep You From a Tech Career

Certifications can become a gatekeeper for some who desire to pursue a tech career, and that doesn’t have to be the case, especially with the option of on-the-job training. One of the best combinations is the ability to learn on the job while also receiving a certification.

At MAXX Potential, we issue a different type of credential: industry-recognized experience for your resume. Your resume gains a list of completed customer projects and experiential learning. When faced with the interview question, “Give me an example of when…,” you’ll have a unique set of tech industry experiences to pull from.

Ready to take the next step in your tech career? Contact MAXX Potential today!

Beyond the Resume: Assessing Potential of Entry-Level Tech Talent

By The Team at MAXX

Two technologists discuss what it takes to go beyond the resume for the technical interview

A good hire is more than a checklist of technical skills, and most tech companies turn to the technical interview process to assess a candidate’s abilities. While a technical interview provides powerful information about a job recruit’s skill set, it offers another, maybe more important, data point: a look at a candidate’s character traits.

When assessing a candidate, a hiring manager seeks the ideal combination of experience and skill set. The entry-level space is often a catch-22 for everyone–hiring managers look for experience and entry-level applicants are looking for experience that just isn’t available. This is when a candidate’s underlying motivation can be the true barometer of their technical career potential. 

At MAXX Potential, our interview process is designed to spot tech talent potential with an eye to longevity in the field. MAXX Apprentices often arrive to us, exhibiting an interest in technology, but with a lack of experience. Candidates are often missed because their resumes don’t pass the screening process.  

“Resume assessment can create barriers for people seeking employment. At MAXX Potential, we want to remove those barriers.” Tricia Micheux, MAXX Potential Talent Acquisition Specialist, shares, “I am less interested in what level of education you have and more interested in how you’re achieving your tech goals on your own.”

These tech-savvy individuals have the potential to become great IT employees, but they never get the chance. 

A Harvard Business Review article asked readers to Imagine A Hiring Process Without Resumes, and the authors shared stories of businesses that implemented open hiring, on-the-job development, standardized accountability, and overall employee care. Hires were made based on willingness, and these businesses benefited by quick hiring and less overhead hiring costs. 

What if more companies applied these ideas in their own hiring practices? What if more businesses hired based on aptitude, perseverance, or passion for the industry?

3 Characteristics to Seek During a Technical Interview

Technical interviewers have a difficult challenge of determining whether or not a candidate has the necessary technical requirements for the job opening. A great technical interview takes into consideration the day-to-day responsibilities of the particular role and creates opportunities for discussion around problem solving skills, practices, and processes. They observe how candidates interact with the problems, demonstrating their character traits.

At MAXX Potential, our team looks for aptitude, perseverance, and passion. We listen to what candidates say and what they don’t say. While they explain their technical skills, we listen closer to hear the resiliency and excitement behind their work.

1. Hunger for Technical Problem Solving

A key statute of the information technology field is problem solving, and a technical interview analyzes a job candidate’s ability to evaluate, determine a problem-solving process, and implement that solution. It’s inevitable that those within a tech role will face problems that they don’t know how to solve. How does the candidate interact with the problem? Are they hungry to solve the problem? Does a problem ignite interest or drain them?

At MAXX Potential, we start with a scenario-driven hypothetical question. Once the candidate answers, our team asks more questions, pressing the candidate to flex his or her analytical skills and consider edge cases. How far is the candidate willing to go to think outside of the box?

While it’s important to listen to what the candidates share about themselves, it’s just as important to observe what their body language and attitudes say about their motivation for the technical problem. The technical field attracts many individuals because of the promise of an impressive paycheck. Yet, not every individual is cut out to spend their days in the trenches of problem solving.

2. A Learning Mindset and Perseverance

When a candidate says “I don’t know” or seems to have gotten to the end of their first take at a solution, the next question to ask is the following: what is your process to find a solution to a problem when you don’t know? 

The character traits that MAXX Potential hopes to see the candidate demonstrate are perseverance and curiosity. Is the candidate willing to struggle with the problem? Is the candidate ready to analyze the problem from different angles?

During this part of the interview, the hiring panel observes the job recruit’s soft skills in action. When faced with a difficult problem, is the candidate comfortable asking clarifying questions? While some roles are behind the scenes, many tech roles require the ability to interact with clients and teams of people to complete the project, so it’s important to see strong communication and interpersonal skills. 

This conversation allows us to see how candidates communicate and think through a challenge, meet surprise issues, and persevere to find a solution. This reveals who has the initiative to pursue a task, interact with a team, ask strategic questions, and learn the skills required to reach a solution. 

Curious people can’t help but persevere to find answers, and these traits are a great foundation for technologists. While a resume outlines hard skills, a great technical interview uncovers character traits and soft skills.

3. The Light-Up Moments

As we meet and talk with each job recruit, we’re looking for their aptitude and perseverance to highlight a true passion for technical problem solving.

To bring that characteristic to the forefront, candidates are invited to present a project they’ve worked on that demonstrates their technical skills and their joy. The candidate has an opportunity to show off their skills in an area where they’re familiar, and the interviewing panel observes the candidate in their sweet spot and asks relevant questions to unearth more potential.

At MAXX Potential, we root for each candidate’s success and want to provide that moment for the candidate to stand out and present a technical project they’re proud of as well as discuss their future projects. Micheux points out, “Sometimes it is easy to forget that those involved in the interview process are humans. Being able to connect on a person-to-person level is something that feels unique to MAXX Potential and can often get lost in the technical interview process.”

“Sometimes it is easy to forget that those involved in the interview process are humans. Being able to connect on a person-to-person level is something that feels unique to MAXX Potential and can often get lost in the technical interview process.”

Tricia Micheux, MAXX Potential Talent Acquisition Specialist

A resume offers the story of education and job experience, but it doesn’t always account for a person’s passion. When we see job recruits light up, we see individuals with the motivation to pursue a technical career.

Going Beyond the Resume with MAXX Potential

Discovering the best tech talent starts with evaluating potential, and MAXX Potential built our apprenticeship program on these talent assessment techniques. We look for the people who have been filtered out through traditional recruiting methods.

Partner with MAXX Potential and discover entry-level talent to build out your team with a strong bench on the sidelines. For our clients, we serve as a go-to partner for the entry-level tech roles, and for candidates, we provide an avenue for hungry and flexible learners to excel in an IT career.

Let us handle the technical interview so you can stay focused on your business. Get in touch with MAXX Potential today.

 

5 Remote Mentoring Tips To Develop The Best Tech Talent

By The Team at MAXX

Remote work environments and hybrid options are here to stay, and that means the way companies train and mentor employees and new hires must change. Over the last few years, MAXX Potential moved to a fully remote mentorship and apprenticeship model, meaning we can share some of our best tips for remote mentoring to develop great tech talent. 

Many employers now offer remote work environments as a way to attract and retain their IT talent. While this option has seen success for established employees, a challenge remains: how can companies succeed at onboarding and mentoring remote hires and entry-level employees?

The answer is both simple and not so simple. Great mentorship and talent development starts at the heart of the company’s culture, and from there, it becomes an integrated structure of clear expectations, one-on-one coaching, exploratory collaboration, and personalized discussion.

According to dictionary.com, mentorship is “the position or services of a wise and trusted counselor or senior sponsor, often in a particular field.” 

While apprenticeship connotes more tactile learning, mentorship carries the added responsibility of developing character and soft skills. 

Rahim Islam, MAXX Potential Solution Delivery Manager, shares it best. “In my opinion, helping someone get to the answer on their own is better than just handing them the answer. If I can share that problem-solving mindset and way of thinking with an apprentice, it will pay dividends in their career.”

Developed by technologists for technologists, MAXX Potential recognizes that companies not only need qualified individuals to fill tech roles but also candidates with perseverance and heart. Since 2010, we have optimized our in-person and remote mentoring techniques to inspire our apprentices and deliver the results we know our clients need in entry-level IT positions. 

Adding a full-time mentoring program to everyday operations is no small task. Strong entry-level talent development starts with a solid structure, whether you’re remote or in-person.

1. Setting up the First Remote Meeting

While your entry-level recruit may have experienced video calls, it’s possible that some have not experienced a virtual workplace meeting. You can provide a tip sheet in advance for some virtual meeting etiquette on how to access the meeting and how to prepare (i.e. background, dress, prohibited activities).

As the host, you also have some advance work with preparing your screen-sharing materials, writing a list of questions to guide conversation, and doing a test run before you start.

2. Developing the Meeting Cadence and Structure

Mentorship comes in all shapes and styles. Creating the cadence and structure is a two-way conversation where both the mentor and mentee decide what meeting style works best for their ongoing mentorship relationship. While some may prefer a structured meeting style, others may prefer a more conversational approach. 

One conversational style of coaching uses the GROW Model, which looks at Goals, Reality, Options, and Will. This model is repeatable with or without a mentor, allowing the mentee to reuse this framework throughout their career.

3. Targeting Technical and Soft Skills

Unlike a traditional meeting, which is often a relay of information, mentoring prioritizes the two-way conversation where the mentee and mentor share technical problems, career concerns, and professional communication. Conversations can focus on preparing for behavioral interview questions, drafting a professional email, or picking apart a piece of code that didn’t work. It’s easy to assume that a mentorship looks like the mentor only imparting knowledge, but we believe that great mentorship is where we learn from each other.

MAXX Apprentices discover early on that they can speak with their mentors about any scenario from their apprenticeship. With this level of support, apprentices are empowered to navigate tricky professional situations or solve challenging technical problems. 

4. Learning by Doing

Apprenticeship is about doing, and mentorship supports that development. With the remote mentorship format, apprentices take on more responsibility for their growth and learning than in a more traditional in-person training atmosphere. We encourage apprentices to share their screens and walk their mentor through their problem-solving process.

“Much like apprentices back in the day learned by swinging a hammer or “doing the work”, MAXX Potential Apprentices learn through performing value-adding production tasks for our enterprise customers.” Islam says.

Remote mentorship allows apprentices to learn while on the job with the support of a mentor. From day one, the apprentice’s work delivers value to their team project and personal skill development. 

5. Building Confidence and Failing Forward

Often entry-level technologists are reluctant to indicate to their employer that they are not grasping the full requirements of the work because they risk appearing unqualified. It is important to establish a safe space for learning and conversation.

From the start at MAXX Potential, mentors are transparent with mentees about their own experiences, even sharing their mistakes and missteps. This breaks the ice and creates a precedent for discussing successes and failures. Every situation offers the opportunity for growth. We act as a confidence buffer for entry-level IT professionals, which leads to more effective learning and improved job skills. 

Partnering with MAXX Potential for Mentorship

Smart companies understand how crucial talent development is and design a plan for mentorship at every position level. Entry-level IT recruits will carry the future, and a mentoring program that meets their weaknesses and strengths equips them to harness their potential and increase the value they can add for their future employers. 

Mentorship and apprenticeship are what MAXX Potential does every day as we help companies fill entry-level openings in their team.

Ready to discover tech talent with MAXX Potential? Contact us for more information.

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Can You Get An IT Job With No Experience?

By The Team at MAXX

If you are looking to start a career in Information Technology, you might find it challenging to get your foot in the door. IT is an ever-changing industry, and your experience and education may not meet the stated requirements of job openings. Don’t be discouraged! There are changes happening in IT recruiting that can work in your favor if you know about them.

A third of in-demand skills are non-technical

While it’s promising to see soft skills being introduced into IT education, the curriculum has not advanced as quickly as the industry requires. Today, as reported by Indeed, soft skills make up one-third of the 20 skills in demand for IT careers. Here are some of the less technical but sought-after skills IT hiring managers are hiring for:

Analysis

Analytical skills refer to your ability to evaluate a situation and decide what actions to take next. Companies look for employees who are great at investigating a problem and finding the ideal solution in a timely manner. Analytical skills include brainstorming, finding patterns, interpreting data, observing, integrating new information, and making decisions based on multiple factors.

People Management

This starts with the ability to manage yourself. Even in an entry-level position, basic people management skills that build and strengthen relationships, such as understanding the needs of another person on your team, and helping others achieve their goals, are assets.

Creativity

There is plenty of creativity in IT around devising new ways to perform tasks, meet challenges and solve problems. Creative employees take risks, bring new ideas, and are valuable to a company. You can develop creative thinking skills through recreation, awareness of your assumptions, and solving riddles.

Collaboration

Collaboration refers to working with others to produce or create something, and most positions require teamwork, regardless of how technical they are. People who are effective at building trust know how to understand a variety of viewpoints, manage priorities, and deliver results. Successful collaboration requires mutual respect and a cooperative spirit.

Adaptability 

As technology advances, companies must embrace new processes to stay competitive. Adaptability means growing and changing to achieve success, even without explicit instructions. Fast learners who know how to adapt are well-positioned for successful careers.

Time Management

Time management skills—such as prioritizing, scheduling, task management, and delegation—are in high demand. Companies in every industry look for employees who can make the most of their time on the job.

Closing the Experience Gap

You display these skills daily, but how can they transfer to your IT career when you lack the minimum experience on most job postings? First, be sure to highlight your soft skills on your resumé and in your cover letter, which should be customized for each job application you submit.

With IT talent being in short supply, many employers are more willing to invest in less-experienced individuals if they see evidence of the soft skills above. Internships and apprenticeships are two ways to get your foot in the door so that your soft skills can shine while you gain the experience and technical depth required to be successful in the longer term.

Internship or apprenticeship: What’s the difference?

Internships and apprenticeships provide different workplace experiences to grow your skills.

Internships are usually shorter-term or part-time commitments. You will get valuable experience to add to your resume. Most interns are focused on knowledge-building activities (e.g., school or study) and view the internship as a way to enhance their learning experience.

Apprenticeships are hands-on, full-time, skill-building roles. You are working on longer-term projects with direct one-on-one coaching by a more experienced professional. Apprentices are focused on gaining industry experience, along with part-time study to enhance their work experience.  

This is why MAXX Potential offers both internship/pre-apprenticeship curricula to educational providers and full-time paid apprenticeships to connect aspiring technologists with employers looking for long-term hires. In both cases, we offer the supplemental coaching and mentoring required for successful outcomes.

Get started in your IT career today

We walk the talk when it comes to putting people first. Our team has decades of experience with entry-level programs that are proven to identify and quickly prepare developers and engineers.

See more about what we are looking for in prospective apprentices, and then sign up for our Career Lab. You have nothing to lose and an awesome IT career to gain.

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Building vs. Buying Talent: Which is right for you?

By The Team at MAXX

Many IT executives are routinely faced with decisions on whether to build vs. buy when it comes to critical business applications (There’s a great post on that topic here), but how can you apply this framework to your talent strategy? Should you build or buy the necessary talent to grow your team? Our take: as with enterprise software, a winning approach involves applying a strategic framework and the capacity to do both.

Is there anything more strategic than your culture and talent strategy?

It makes sense to buy talent, and by that, we mean paying market premiums for experienced professionals, when the role requires advanced skills such as prior leadership experience, industry knowledge, and a deep technical track record. When a candidate has amassed a resume of skills and experience, your investment decision is based on how they can integrate into your organization, and the immediate value they can add in terms of increased revenue or implementing cost-savings strategies.

For entry-level positions, however, turnover should be higher if you are finding capable and driven employees, and the selection process is less straightforward. You are looking for motivated individuals with the ability to become that senior professional one day. Integrating a build approach into your talent strategy is a long-term investment that will set your organization up for success and pay off well into the future.

The Unique Challenges of Entry-level Roles

Buying talent for entry-level roles can seem like a faster option initially, but it becomes more costly when you have to do it over and over again (as you should). On the surface these roles may seem less strategic, and can also consume a disproportionate amount of training time and recruiting expense to keep them staffed. Downtime for even the most junior roles is costly and presents an operational risk.

  1. Hiring
    Entry-level candidates are lacking the years of experience that are sought after for more senior roles. This makes a traditional resumé the least valuable tool in making a selection. At this stage you are looking for two things: value-alignment and aptitude. These are hard to measure, and the cost of a mistake at this stage is high.
  2. Developing
    Mentoring entry-level talent takes time and attention away from experienced employees who are already at capacity. Many organizations also lack the capacity and budget to build a custom training program that includes dedicated full-time staff who are skilled, not only in their technical craft, but in the art of mentoring.
  3. Retaining
    High-potential employees are seekers of continuous growth and learning opportunities. Building a structured process for upskilling requires far more than purchasing a library of self-study training material (Don’t we have the Internet for that?). Most savvy leaders know that investing in their team creates a culture of continuous learning and growth that people will stick around for.

MAXX Potential was built by industry leaders who experienced these challenges first-hand and created a solution. Organizations have a need to invest in entry-level recruiting in order to grow their teams without taking away from other strategic imperatives. MAXX has cultivated a strong pipeline along with a supporting infrastructure specific to entry-level enterprise technology roles. We seek out people who have the potential and desire to break into the technology industry, and work with them to develop the skills needed to thrive in your organization. Our goal is to fill entry-level technology roles with people who are worth investing in and have the capability to contribute to your organization in a way that is meaningful starting day one.

Let Us Take these Entry-level Challenges Off Your Plate

While we aren’t a fit for ALL of your talent needs, what we do at MAXX Potential, we do really well. As a partner, we offer effective solutions for filling entry-level technology roles with the least amount of risk and disruption.

With guaranteed backfill of vacated roles, customized on-the-job training, ongoing mentor support and zero conversion fees to hire at any time, MAXX Potential would be an impactful addition to your overall talent strategy. Contact us today.

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Building a Diverse Tech Talent Pipeline

By The Team at MAXX

The Importance of Building A Diverse and Sustainable Tech Talent Pipeline

For many tech employers, attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest challenges they face today. It has become clear that the traditional way of recruiting — an evaluation based on verifiable resumé experience alone — isn’t producing the results to meet the demand. Attracting talented individuals from non-traditional sources has gone from being a competitive advantage to a strategic imperative.

Compounding the problem is pure supply and demand economics. Employee expectations for remote work options, and the fact that prospective candidates have more opportunities globally has taken the “war for talent” to a whole new level. With the largest multinational corporations now having the capacity and resources to be a force at every virtual career fair and therefore having the first picks from the talent pool, how is a mid-size firm to compete? To address the shortage, there are also a growing number of alternative pathways such as bootcamps and specialty programs, but with varying degrees of caliber and success rates. The “tech talent creation” landscape has become difficult to navigate and could easily consume an entire team just to evaluate the effectiveness of all these programs

The unique challenges with entry-level roles

Beyond the complexities in finding experienced talent, filling entry-level IT roles presents additional challenges for both IT and HR leaders. The first issue is that most high-potential learners will not want to stay in an entry-level position for long. Once they’ve picked up the skills a junior role has to offer, they will (and should) be looking for a next challenge to keep advancing their skills. This leads to a recurring problem of having to find and retrain new hires in less-strategic, but critical front-line positions. Those positions are often the best place for a high-potential future technologist to start.

The other challenge with entry level roles is that, already at capacity and understaffed, most IT leaders can’t afford to allocate their most capable staff to mentoring inexperienced hires who will have a lot of questions and require more coaching than an experienced hire.

To tackle these challenges, most leaders are looking for innovative solutions. A common quote we hear from customers is, “in order to survive and compete in the future, we have to get creative and it’s time for us to build our own pipeline.”

Diversity matters now more than ever.

Struggling to find the best people? Cast a wider net! Diversity is often used to describe gender, race, and other observable characteristics. Many forward-thinkers are recognizing that this definition is no longer sufficient. At MAXX Potential, we have a much broader definition of diversity that also includes aspects that make individuals unique, such as skillsets, personality types, and individual life experiences. We attract a diverse spectrum of people from all walks of life who are creative thinkers, problem-solvers, and share a passion for technology. 

MAXX Potential recognized all of these shifting dynamics long ago and has spent the last decade building a successful and sustainable solution.

What makes MAXX Potential apprenticeship approach effective?

By working with MAXX Potential, our partners have access to a continuous supply of capable talent. We always have a motivated Apprentice on-deck, which eliminates downtime. Our results-driven approach incentivizes successful outcomes and was designed to remove the unintentional bias that is often prevalent in traditional recruiting. No candidate is ruled out based on their resume or past experience. We welcome new grads as equally as career-changers who love technology and are looking for a career trajectory-changing opportunity.

How we spot talent

At the foundation of our approach is the MAXX Potential Career Lab, which was designed to give aspiring technology professionals a taste of what the industry is like. In this immersive learning opportunity, we present candidates with hands-on individual and group activities as we evaluate their desire and aptitude. Many people are working in jobs where they are not able to realize their full potential, and when they are presented with an opportunity to show what they can do, they seize it!  As people move through Career Lab, we use behavior-based methodologies to determine whether they would be a good fit for a paid apprenticeship. Whether or not they move forward, candidates learn valuable life skills and develop a better understanding of the tech industry. Those selected as Apprentices are hired as full-time employees at MAXX Potential where they work directly with industry professionals on real projects to acquire the experience they need to move into higher paying industry roles. To reach folks who might otherwise be overlooked, we are continuously cultivating relationships with community colleges, workforce development programs, bootcamps and other alternative training providers. This extends our customers’ reach while saving them time and they can rest assured that our selection process is thorough and our standards are high.  prevalent in traditional recruiting. No candidate is ruled out based on their resume or past experience. We welcome new grads as equally as career-changers who love technology and are looking for a career trajectory-changing opportunity.

Finding the Win-Win-Win

We think hard about incentives and believe means matter. We meet our Apprentices where they are and provide the individualized mentorship and experience they need to be successful in a tech career. Apprentices progress at their own pace and our customers are able to hire at any time, removing progress-limiting obstacles such as income share agreements, time-bound employment contracts and expensive hiring fees. 

Having successfully mentored thousands of aspiring technologists, we know that still today, checklists and personality tests are not enough to discover the audience of talented people who are well-suited to enter a tech career. Even Myers Briggs agrees that personality tests are valuable for their intended use, but not for hiring and selection processes. In their most recent Trends Report, they note that “organizations need to recognize that individuals can contribute at any age or life stage and focusing on the individual, rather than the mass, is going to make the difference.” We get to know both our apprentices and customers well, and adapt to their unique needs. This leads to long-term relationships built on trust and confidence that we will be there when they need us.

We can help you

Looking to upgrade your talent strategy? Contact us to learn how MAXX Potential can work for you.

OUR THOUGHTS

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Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

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The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

High Peaks Partnership 

High Peaks Solutions Launches Innovative Technology Apprenticeship Program in Partnership with MAXX Potential

By Elizabeth Papile

High Peaks Solutions provides clients with innovative approaches to meeting their security objectives through the delivery of consulting services and a unique Software-as-a-Service product offering. Their SaaS product is a purpose-built, innovative, automated platform that redefines and simplifies the management of complex security programs. 

“Hiring and retaining key talent is critical to the success of any business and this is especially true of High Peaks Solutions as we manage our growth and ensure best-in-class service to our clients.  The partnership with MAXX Potential and the Apprenticeship program plays a crucial role in our ability to expand and grow the business by allowing us to find and develop talented resources in this challenging recruiting environment.” Rob Rice – Chief Technology Officer

Early Career Professionals Experience Cybersecurity Careers

Individuals who show a passion for problem solving and are interested in a career in information technology are hired by MAXX Potential where mentorship through an Apprenticeship model is provided. The Apprenticeship phase allows individuals to gain hands-on experience by working directly with customers, while also receiving coaching from experienced professionals.

Apprentices receive a valuable career opportunity in a high-growth field, and High Peaks Solutions can grow their team and build upon their culture of continuous learning. This more effective hiring process allows High Peaks Solutions to increase their profile as a compelling option for early career talent in the IT industry. Included in the partnership is the joint commitment to guide Apprentices while their role is customized to suit the specific needs of High Peaks Solutions and serve their customers in a more efficient and effective manner.

About High Peaks Solutions

High Peaks Solutions is committed to inspiring clients through the development of enhanced security programs so they are better prepared to handle the cybersecurity risks faced by all companies today. They offer management and technical consulting in areas such as security policy development, third-party cybersecurity risk, vulnerability, and business continuity management. The SummIT Security SaaS Platform provides a solution to an automated security program.

About MAXX Potential

MAXX Potential helps businesses transform their talent strategy and individuals kickstart their careers in technology. Their proven Apprenticeship approach delivers high-quality managed services and staff augmentation, while also helping customers build a stronger, more effective entry-level talent pipeline.

Reach out to MAXX Potential to inquire about their Businesses Solutions today.

OUR THOUGHTS

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Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

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The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.

Apprenticeships & Internships

Is there a difference?

By Kim Mahan

While most educators and workforce development professionals are very familiar with these terms, working in the entry-level talent development space, we often hear them used interchangeably by industry professionals, parents, and students. So what exactly is the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship? The more relevant follow-up question is, “If I’m trying to break into the industry, which should I choose?”

First, the difference:

The easiest way to think about it is that internships are typically short-term work engagements designed to enhance an academic learning experience. They can be paid or unpaid, and are often structured as a full-time summer job, or part-time semester-long experience. The student’s primary focus is on their education, which is enhanced by supplemental exposure to actual work environments and industry professionals. Basically, school comes first, supplemented by work experience to apply their classroom knowledge learned in a professional environment.

Apprenticeships, on the other hand, are a very different approach toward embarking upon a new career and are often the preferred pathway for skilled trades. In an apprenticeship, the focus is on gaining work experience first, with close supervision and guidance by a more experienced professional in addition to supplemental coursework on the side.

Even though IT Professionals spend a good portion of their time at a keyboard, most skilled technologists view themselves as craftspeople and the progression of skill development more closely resembles that of a skilled trade than other traditional “knowledge workers.” Based on our experience, skills are best developed by working on actual problems where there isn’t an answer key in the back of the book, or “Time in code.” By starting off in a support role, for example, an Apprentice is exposed to multiple applications written by more experienced developers. They get to see how a more experienced developer thought about the problem, and how systems fit together.

Challenges:

The challenges with internships are that there just aren’t enough to go around. Every student would benefit from gaining hands-on work experience to help their resumé stand out and further their career. Unfortunately, given the talent shortage, there are not enough employers with readily available professionals to help mentor and guide beginners.

As far as apprenticeships go, they are not all created equal, and you should shop around. The apprenticeship model has existed for centuries, and in some cases has gotten a bad reputation. Even today there are apprenticeship programs that require extensive time commitments or income share agreements that affect the short-term earning potential of an Apprentice.

So which approach is best for me?

The short answer is, it depends. It depends on where you are at in life, your financial situation, and your learning style. These past two years have made it clear that it’s essential to take control of your journey to maximize your potential both professionally and personally. At the end of the day, success in any field requires both knowledge AND skill. It really boils down to the order in which you acquire them, and what you can afford. If you are eligible for grants, or the ability to pay, a higher education experience can add valuable credentials to your resumé. If you’re thinking about signing loan papers, however, an apprenticeship is likely to produce far greater long-term economic outcomes. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs should you decide to pursue a degree later. Most hiring managers in the technology field are looking for examples of your work more than anything.

Take The Next Step With MAXX Potential!

At MAXX we have invested in building out equitable pathways for both seeking a technology internship experience, and a proven paid apprenticeship program for full-time career-seekers.

If IT is your passion and you are ready to jumpstart your career, MAXX Potential is ready to give you that boost. Our growing alumni network has given us the opportunity to mentor some of the nation’s best technologists, who are working at some of the world’s best companies.

For those looking to learn more about the real-world experience that can be gained from a MAXX Potential Apprenticeship, join our next Career Lab!

OUR THOUGHTS

git commit -m 'growing and showing your skills'

Apprentices learning by doing

NAW HIGHLIGHTS HOW APPRENTICESHIPS CAN BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN CAREER.

Men At Interview With AI Robot Machine

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are here to stay.