Life at Wizeline

Wizeline Apprenticeship Program: On-the-Job Training for the Next Generation of Engineers

With an estimated one million jobs going unfilled in the tech sector annually, the talent shortage is well documented not only for tech companies, but all companies looking to thrive in the world of digital business. At Wizeline, we believe that while talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not. With this in mind, we are tackling the tech talent shortage and expanding opportunity simultaneously.  

In a recent blog post, we outlined how Wizeline Academy provides the “last mile” of tech education to help fill the talent gap and increase opportunity for folks interested in a career in software development, UX design, technical writing, and other disciplines. To date, more than 23,000 students have graduated from Wizeline Academy’s 194 learning programs. 

Now, we are taking the mission of Academy to the next level with the Wizeline Apprenticeship Program while helping our customers — some of the world’s most well-known brands — fill critical roles and solve their challenges in the process. Read on to learn more about the program, explore a success story, and discover how to get involved. 

Wizeline Apprenticeship Program Goals

Launched in late 2020, the Wizeline Apprenticeship Program is an ongoing initiative designed to meet three main goals: 

  1. Help customers solve their unique technology challenges
  2. Train and upskill the next generation of engineers for the industry
  3. Increase diversity & inclusion in the tech industry

First, let’s cover goals two and three. Regarding goal two, like any apprenticeship program, ours is focused on helping recent college grads and emerging engineers improve their skills, gain practical experience, and advance in their careers. Currently, the program is focused on creating opportunities across different disciplines: Data, SRE, and Mobile. While we are exploring other disciplines for the program, we have developed the most training around these specializations, bringing many clients and partners into the fold to ensure the training is relevant and comprehensive. 

By the end of 2020, we had initiated the following apprenticeship programs: 

  • Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Apprenticeship
    21 apprentices
  • Data Apprenticeship
    12 apprentices
  • Mobile Apprenticeship
    16 apprentices

Regarding the third goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in our industry, it’s worth noting that 35% of apprentices enrolled in the program are women — a big improvement on the estimated 13% of engineers who are women today. We have also focused on expanding the program across geographies and universities that may not be as privileged or well-known. 

Now, let’s take a look at how the Wizeline Apprenticeship Program is fulfilling goal one: helping our customers solve their challenges.

Success Story: Apprentices Rise to Become Full-time Data Engineers

In early 2021, the first cohort of data engineering apprentices completed the three-month program. 10 of the 12 participants were staffed full-time on client projects, and three of them joined the team working with a leading media company. 

After three months of full-time work on the media customer’s account, these three data engineers have demonstrated the various benefits of the program: from the business value generated for the customer to the personal growth and professional development of the apprentice. Specifically, we uncovered the following benefits:

  • The media company has its specific tech stack with various quirks and a significant learning curve, which means they also need engineers with a particular skill set. By learning and practicing many new skills working on the tech stack, the apprentices became domain experts organically, making them indispensable assets who could meet the client’s high standards.
  • The apprentices were able to significantly improve the technical depth of the products they worked on, clearing all the nice-to-have backlog aspects of projects training exercises and getting to the skill level where they could also work on enhancements. 
  • By shifting requirements to take on engineers from the apprenticeship program, the client could increase hiring agility and fill critical roles/scale faster. 

Of course, the apprentices also benefited greatly from the program, accelerating their careers.

Thanks to their training and practical experience with the client’s tech stack, the apprentices excelled in their full-time roles. They were quickly able to function as established mid-level engineers and increase the development velocity. Then, they became experts on the tech stack and could be relied upon without ongoing training. Finally, at the end of the six months, they were highly functional and even innovative thanks to their fresh eyes and diverse ideas."

Alexis Lopez

Client Partner at Wizeline

Here are some testimonials from the successful program graduates about how they grew throughout the process:

 

“When I started the program, I was uncertain about my future career. Initially, I was scared I wasn’t good enough, but through the program, I was able to gain much more confidence in my abilities thanks to the given time to study all the resources and the support of my data teammates.

Before joining Wizeline, I spent a year trying to upgrade my data skills with every resource I could find (books, courses, tutorials, etc.). As an apprentice, I learned so much more, and the knowledge I gained in the real world with Wizeline and the client catapulted my professional growth to the point that in only six months, I’m considered a data engineer.”

Ivan Piña, Data Engineer

 

 

“It was difficult being exposed to several new technologies in a short amount of time. In the beginning, it felt like it was too much to connect all the dots. Getting familiar with the architecture and the team’s best practices was a big challenge too.  I felt like I was not going to understand everything fast enough to add value to the project. Being part of such a big team was also exciting, as everyone was willing to collaborate and share their expertise with us. 

Now, I feel like a completely different engineer. Not only have my technical skills dramatically improved, but my understanding of the way project decisions are also connected to business goals has increased as well. I feel more confident about my abilities and find myself volunteering for more complex tasks and new initiatives. It indeed feels like it has been way longer than six months.”

Rodrigo Soto, Data Engineer

 

“Before the program, I had lots of theoretical knowledge but little practical experience with the technologies and tools related to data engineering. I was a little scared initially because I did not know anything about the client’s organization, but the team was always willing to help with doubts or questions, so this made the onboarding a lot easier. Plus, using the technologies and tools in a real project reinforced what I knew and helped to improve my skills and confidence when using them. 

If I compare the engineer I was six months ago and the engineer I am today, I can find many differences. My experience and familiarity with technologies and tools have increased, and I have improved my skills in many areas. I have learned a lot of things during these six months, including all the processes that go into a project, how the client’s business works, and how our work as data engineers impacts the organization.”

Evelyn Zuvirie, Data Engineer

 

Conclusion: What’s Next?

So there you have it: The story of how apprenticeships are changing the lives of engineers at Wizeline and making a big difference for our clients.

For prospective and existing customers, the Wizeline Apprenticeship Program is a proven way to increase access to the specialized roles you need on your teams and bring diverse perspectives to your projects. The challenge around securing tech talent isn’t going anywhere, and programs like this will surely help you solve your hiring needs in less time. Please contact me at ricardo.tapia@wizeline.com to learn more about this program. 

For Wizeliners and those thinking about joining Wizeline, the program is an excellent opportunity for emerging engineers with strong foundational skills who are ready for the next level. If you’re already beyond entry-level in your career, we invite you to apply for an open role today. You can also contact careers@wizeline.com to learn more about opportunities at Wizeline. 

By Ricardo Tapia, Public Affairs Manager, D&I Office
By Ricardo Tapia, Public Affairs Manager, D&I Office

Aisha Owolabi

Posted by Aisha Owolabi on April 22, 2021