Internship Or Apprenticeship?

What’s the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship?


An intern is someone who:

  • usually wants to explore many options for their next job, or career in general
  • may be unpaid
  • is probably in school

A company who hires interns:

  • often has special project work that is a good fit for part-time employees
  • knows it’s very likely the intern will work or study elsewhere after their internship


An apprentice is someone who:

  • knows what type of job they want next, or what kind of career they want
  • is almost always paid
  • is probably not in school

A company who hires apprentices:

  • has apprentices work side-by-side with expert employees on typical project work
  • usually hires them for craft work, such as software development
  • expects that the apprentice will probably work for them as a full-time employee after the apprenticeship

No value judgements

Neither an internship nor an apprenticeship is bad and the other good. I believe they’re intended for different people and companies.

Someone who isn’t sure they really want to be a web developer might feel overwhelmed in a rigorous apprenticeship. Someone who craves pair-programming with an expert may feel frustrated in an internship.

Similarly, not every company is able to provide the kind of one-on-one relationships that are necessary in an apprenticeship.

Who cares

Well, I might be alone, but I do.

Lately, I’ve seen many many many interesting variations on the themes of internship and apprenticeship in web design and web development, probably driven by demand.

Setting expectations for everyone involved never hurts.