Apprenticeship

Techtonica's software engineering apprenticeship program is six months of free, intensive, hands-on tech learning for local women and non-binary adults with low incomes.

The Program

Techtonica's apprenticeship program is a free, full-time, six-month program that provides the opportunity for local women and non-binary, femme adults with low incomes to learn technical skills and start their first job in tech. We select apprentices who are independent but good at collaborating, motivated to succeed, dedicated to the commitment of learning to code, flexible, curious, open-minded, and excited for long-term careers in the field, have a good attitude and a growth mindset, can calmly manage extended periods of frustration (troubleshooting is something you'll face forever in tech!), and want to pay it forward. We aim to empower those most underrepresented in tech and to help tech become more diverse and inclusive.

92% of our participants so far have been people of color, 25% have a disability, 10% identify outside the gender binary, and 8% are veterans.

The program runs Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM for six months in San Francisco, starting in January and July. After the first trial month of full-time training, participants who work the hardest and meet and exceed expectations will be invited to continue for the last five months with stipends based upon need and funding available. (We still recommend you save up as much as possible as stipends may not cover all your costs.)

Techtonica apprentices will learn to do full-stack web development using JavaScript. Upon successful completion of the program, as many apprentices as possible are placed with partner companies via a two-way interview and rating system.

What bootcamps and Techtonica have in common is the fact that they are intensive training. However, bootcamps can be pretty passive classroom learning with students and they cost between $15,000 and $30,000. Techtonica aims to be more like the workplace to make the transition into the industry better—instead of having an instructor constantly guiding you (which you won't have in any software engineering job), you are given a general schedule of topics and assignments (see [our curriculum repo](https://github.com/techtonica/curriculum) for an idea of the resources provided) and you're expected to figure out what to do on your own or in collaboration with volunteers, mentors, tech groups, and other apprentices. Because our resources are open-source, they are continuously being improved and you can even make improvements as you work through them. In the best jobs, there are regular check-ins with very understanding managers and mentors provide regular support, but that is not always the case. Techtonica’s program is as hands-on and project-based as possible to best prepare you for work in tech. You'll also be expected to speak and present in front of people often—a very useful skill to have for a successful career.

The schedule includes assessments to give you a reason to review what you've learned, to provide you with feedback on where you need to improve, and to prepare you for successful placement. As we consider your progress, we take everything you do in the program into account (not just assessments)—if you're on time and present, if you're meeting deadlines, if you're completing assignments, if you're following process, if you're communicating about your needs, if you're consistently meeting with your mentors, if you're building your network, if you're collaborating well, if you're solving problems, if you're dealing with the stress of an intensive program well, if you're lifting others with you, if you're reading instructions, how your mentor feels you're doing, how you indicate you're doing in surveys and one-on-ones, etc. If we see any indications you’re struggling in one area, we look more closely at everything else and we seek a plan for improvement. Consistent problems and lack of improvement could indicate someone’s not ready to continue the program. The board discusses such cases to decide what should be done.

Intensive programs, career transitions, and learning and working with technical concepts—these are all stressful, difficult things. If we accept you to our program, we believe in your ability to step up to the challenge, and you should believe in that ability and look at every new step as something preparing you for tech. In many ways, tech will be much harder than this program and this is your chance to work out how you’re going to react when faced with bigger challenges. Are you able to train yourselves to calmly accept challenges, to open your minds to growth, and to learn whatever’s needed to succeed?

Three women talk technical interviewing at Symantec. Two people from a company interviewing an apprentice. Black woman coding on a whiteboard. Four women sitting at laptops and smiling.
Two Asian women practicing technical interviewing. Two people practicing technical whiteboarding. Black woman presenting her software project.

Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for Techtonica’s full-time program if you:

  • are a woman (cis OR trans) or non-binary adult
  • are digitally literate, meaning you are very familiar and good with computers and the internet, can type 40+ WPM with accuracy, and you know how to use a mouse/trackpad, browsers, and email
  • at the very least graduated from high school or received your GED
  • can commit to always being present and on time and prepared
  • are dedicated to building a long-term career in tech
  • have less than $50,000 in annual income and net worth
  • have lived in the Bay Area for at least one year
  • have housing that will be stable for the entirety of the six months of the program and six months of placement
  • are legally employable in the United States
  • agree to work at whichever partner company we match you with upon successful completion of the program
  • are willing to appear in Techtonica's media and pitch yourself to Techtonica's partners
  • have not attended a full-time coding bootcamp or completed a C.S. degree in the last six years
  • have not already worked as a software engineer or web developer in the last six years
  • agree to abide by Techtonica's Code of Conduct, Participant Handbook, and Apprenticeship Agreement

You are probably not a good fit if you:

  • would rather be passively trained than learn through discovery
  • prefer always being told exactly what to do
  • don't like when plans change
  • can't advocate for yourself
  • don't like details
  • don't get along with everyone
  • are quickly frustrated every time you get stuck on a problem
  • don't feel comfortable asking questions until you understand complicated concepts
  • can't lay aside learning everything about something in place of just learning enough to make progress on your work
  • take longer than most people to learn and apply new concepts

Application Process

1. Interest and long application forms

Thoroughly fill out and submit the interest form (which will open for a few weeks every fall and spring) and the long application form (linked to upon submitting the first form—the long form will take some time, so don't start too late!) by the deadline.

2. Two invite-only digital literacy testing and JavaScript events

Participate in two of the events offered (details will be sent upon submission of the long form).

3. Code challenges

Complete a take-home code challenge.

4. Staff interviews

Participate in staff interviews.

5. Board interviews

Participate in board interviews.

Accepted applicants will be required to submit some more information to confirm participation and to join onboarding on Saturday, December 7th. You'll also be given some pre-work to complete before the start of the full-time training.

What We Look For

This program is very competitive; we select participants who continuously prove that they are:

  • self-motivated
  • resilient
  • logical
  • humble
  • respectful
  • independent
  • curious
  • open-minded
  • flexible
  • persistent
  • optimistic
  • punctual
  • committed
  • communicative
  • collaborative
  • responsive to feedback
  • willing to ask questions
  • long-term goal setters
  • able to deal with stress well
  • able and willing to work with anyone
  • take pride in owning their learning
  • always curious and ready to learn and improve
  • transparent and compassionate communicators
  • hard-working and ready to make sacrifices
  • dedicated to seeing things through to the end
  • willing to meet the Apprenticeship Expectations, including abiding by Techtonica's Code of Conduct

Person giving a talk at an event Latina woman coding at a desk with monitor and laptop.

How to Prepare

1. Learn as much JavaScript ahead of time as possible—Free Code Camp and Codecademy are great for this.

2. Attend coding meetups, like the Women Who Code JavaScript study group to practice getting to know people.

3. Develop your typing and Mac keyboard shortcut skills.

4. Learn about different Bay Area companies and long-term pathways in tech to start getting an idea of your career goals.

5. Practice learning and applying concepts quickly.

6. Practice talking out loud about your thought process and collaborating with others.

Techtonica Careers

All content © Techtonica, a fiscally-sponsored project of SocialGood (Nonprofit EIN: 46-1323531)