How to Choose the Right Digital Apprenticeship

12 mins

So, you’re looking into kick-starting your career by looking at digital apprenticeships. Fir...

By Pareto Team


So, you’re looking into kick-starting your career by looking at digital apprenticeships. First of all, good choice. Working with technology can be incredibly exciting and offer a unique opportunity to be innovative and be part of a sector which is driving the advancement of people and the societies in which we live.  Now comes the challenging part: which digital apprenticeship should I choose? 

Our guide will explore a selection of digital apprenticeships from which you can choose. We will highlight how these roles impact businesses and society as a whole. We will also explore the technical and soft skills you need for each role. This will enable you to make a confident and informed decision about the apprenticeship you want to pursue.

Data Analytics 

For businesses across virtually all industries, making strategic decisions based on data is essential. Whether a company wants to better understand its customers, improve processes, or find new business opportunities, knowing how to use data effectively can bring significant benefits. Data analytics involves data, techniques, and tools to identify patterns and trends and then provide useful insights for making informed decisions. Data analytics aims to address specific questions or challenges relevant to an organisation, ultimately leading to better business results. 

Outside of business, data analytics plays a crucial role in our daily lives and shaping our health, entertainment, and how we live. Here are just some of the ways it impacts us:

  • Streamlining Platforms - Streamlining services such as Spotify or Netflix use data analytics to recommend music, films, and shows based on your viewing and listening habits and preferences. 

  • Fitness Devices - Fitness devices are able to track your activity levels, such as heart rate, steps, and calories burned, using data analytics. 

  • Online shopping - Similar to streaming services, eCommerce platforms use data analytics to personalise product and service recommendations, target advertising, and even adjust search results based on browsing history.

  • Traffic Apps - Traffic navigation GPS apps analyse real-time traffic data to suggest the fastest routes to your destination. 

In essence, data analytics is integrated into a wide range of apps, services, and platforms that we use every day. It tailors our experiences, impacts our choices, and helps to improve our lives. As we enter the digital age and technology develops, more data analytics will continue to be used, making it an exciting sector to be a part of.  

What Skills Do Those Working in Data Analytics Need?

Technical Skills 

  • Structured Query Language - SQL serves as a formal language for querying structured data, such as databases. Querying entailed providing instructions to the computer to manipulate data in various ways. 

  • Excel - A simple but highly useful tool that serves as a tool for handling raw data and creating various simple visualisations, including pie charts and bar graphs. 

  • Data Visualisation - Tools such as PowerBi, Plotly, and Tableau are essential for communicating insights derived from data analysis. These tools allow users to present complex datasets more intuitively through visually appealing charts and graphs, enabling stakeholders to interpret them more easily. 

  • Statistical Programming - While there are several statistical programming languages, the majority of data analytics is achieved using Python or R. Both languages are used to run complex statistical functions, such as regression analysis, statistical tests, linear and nonlinear modelling, test-series analytics, and statistical tests. 

Soft Skills 

  • Communication - Data analysts must clearly communicate findings across various mediums, including written, verbal, and visual tools. Strong public speaking and presentation skills are also essential for team reporting and decision-making support.

  • Research - Data analysts conduct research to contextualise data and extract meaningful insights. This includes staying updated on industry trends and enhancing data interpretation skills.

  • Attention to detail - Keen attention to detail is critical for accurately analysing complex data and minimising errors in reporting and processing workflows.

  • Teamwork - Data analysts collaborate with colleagues across disciplines to address analytical questions, optimise data processes, and align insights with organisational objectives.

  • Problem-solving - Troubleshooting technical issues and collaborating on strategic problem-solving. They ensure efficient data capture and address challenges to maintain workflow productivity.

With a solid grounding in both soft and technical skills, data analysts can efficiently extract valuable insights from data, making significant contributions to organisational decision-making.

Software Development

Next on our list of digital apprenticeships is software development. This encompasses the comprehensive process of designing, creating, testing, and maintaining applications. This detailed process includes not only writing and managing source code but also covers the design, deployment, and ongoing support of software solutions.

Software developers use a variety of tools and programming languages, such as JavaScript, Python, HTML, CSS, and C++, to develop and build solutions tailored to the needs of businesses or end-users.

Importantly, software development plays a crucial role in our daily lives, supporting businesses globally and enabling the functionality of smartphone applications. Given its significant role, the field of software development is continually evolving. Those involved in this industry must consistently strive to remain innovative and keep pace with technological advancements to effectively meet the demands of a constantly changing environment.

Here is a selection of the industries that require software development: 

  • Government 

  • Retail

  • Healthcare 

  • Media and Entertainment 

  • Information Technology 

  • Finance and Insurance 

  • Research and Development 

Remember, software development isn't restricted to these industries. As we enter the digital age, sectors across the board are increasingly using technology. Those who have the skills in this crucial field will find a whole host of career opportunities. 

What Skills Do Those Working in Software Development Need?

Technical Skills 

  • Proficiency in Programming Languages - A strong command of languages such as Java, C++, Python, and C# is vital. Developers must be proficient in these languages to create robust and effective solutions. 

  • Understanding of Data Structures and Algorithms - A deep understanding of data structures and algorithms allows developers to design elegant and scalable solutions, optimising resource utilisation and performance. 

  • Database Management - Proficiency in working with database systems like NoSQL and SQL, combined with a strong knowledge of management tools such as MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, is vital for effective data storage and manipulation. 

  • Web Development - Skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for front-end development and proficiency in server-side technologies for back-end development are essential for creating dynamic and responsive web applications.

  • Security Awareness -  Understanding security best practices, including authentication, encryption, and authorisation methods, is crucial to safeguard software systems against potential vulnerabilities and breaches.

Soft Skills 

  • Problem-solving - Software development involves constant problem-solving, requiring developers to analyse situations, think critically, and find and create solutions. 

  • Communication - Clearly and concisely communicating technical concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences is crucial.

  • Adaptability - Adapting to new and evolving technologies and project needs is essential in fast-paced software development. 

  • Time Management - Strong time management skills are vital for managing multiple projects simultaneously and meeting deadlines. 

  • Teamwork - Collaboration is king in software development, as developers are often required to work in teams to design, develop, test, and maintain software. 

  • Creativity - The ability to think creatively helps design innovative solutions and overcome challenges for clients. 

By refining a balanced set of technical and soft skills, software developers can enhance their employability and achieve career success.

To support you further in your decision around digital apprenticeships, check out our guide on in-demand digital skills, Five Digital Skills Sought-After by Businesses Worldwide.  

Technical Sales 

Technical sales professionals focus on selling and promoting technological products and services, developing strategies to engage potential customers, generating leads, and maintaining a comprehensive database. They build relationships with key decision-makers and high-value prospects, ensuring they are well informed about the products through collaboration with developers, marketing, and internal teams to deliver compelling and targeted sales pitches.

Here’s how technical sales impacts and benefits businesses: 

  • Meeting Customer Needs - By comprehending customer requirements and challenges, technical sales representatives can recommend tailored solutions that address specific business needs. This personalised approach enhances customer satisfaction and fosters long-term relationships.

  • Competitive Positioning - Technical sales help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors by highlighting unique features and advantages of their products or services. This competitive edge is essential in a crowded market to attract and retain customers.

  • Revenue Generation - Effective technical sales strategies increase sales and revenue for businesses. Technical sales professionals drive growth and profitability by connecting customers with the right solutions.

  • Customer Support - Beyond the initial sale, technical sales professionals provide ongoing support to clients, ensuring they are satisfied with the products or services purchased. This post-sales assistance enhances customer loyalty and encourages repeat business.

Here are a selection of the industries that require technical sales professionals:

  • Healthcare

  • Retail

  • Professional Services 

  • Energy

  • Manufacturing 

  • Telecommunications 

  • Automotive

  • Agriculture 

  • Aeronautical

The diverse and innovative industries you can work in are not limited to this list. Many sectors and markets offer significant opportunities for technical sales professionals to apply their skills and expertise in selling complex technological products and services.

What Skills Do Those Working in Technical Sales Need?

Technical Skills 

  • Product Knowledge - Technical sales engineers must thoroughly understand a business’s products. This includes knowing how the products work, their benefits, and where they can be applied.

  • Data Analysis - Technical sales engineers need to analyse sales trends, market data, and customer preferences to make informed decisions and sales strategies.

  • Technology Proficiency - In today's digital era, technical sales engineers must be proficient with technology. This involves understanding relevant software and tools in their field and staying updated on the latest technological advancements and trends.

  • Technical Writing - Technical sales engineers frequently handle documentation tasks, such as product specifications and proposals. Proficiency in technical writing is necessary for effectively communicating complex information in these documents.

  • Sales Process Management - Understanding and effectively managing the various stages of the sales process, from prospecting and qualifying leads to closing deals and providing post-sales support. 

  • Business Development - Identifying new business opportunities, building relationships with potential clients, and expanding the customer base.

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) - Using CRM tools to manage customer interactions, track sales activities, analyse data, and improve customer relationships.

Soft Skills 

  • Communication - Clear and concise communication is essential in technical sales to effectively explain complex technical concepts to non-technical clients. Good communication skills ensure that information is conveyed clearly and understood by the audience.

  • Problem-solving - Must be capable of identifying and addressing technical queries and issues that arise during sales processes. Strong problem-solving skills enable them to navigate challenges and provide suitable solutions to clients.

  • Teamwork - Effective collaboration with colleagues, from product development to customer service, ensures a smooth pipeline from product to client. Strong teamwork contributes to consistency and efficiency in delivering solutions to clients.

  • Adaptability -  Due to the constant evolution of technology, adaptability is crucial. Being able to respond effectively to rapid changes positions professionals as reliable partners to their clients and allows them to address evolving needs efficiently.

  • Empathy - Understanding clients' needs and perspectives demonstrates empathy, facilitating better connections and enabling the proposal of solutions that address their challenges appropriately.

  • Negotiation - You'll need to negotiate effectively with customers to find solutions that meet both your and their goals. This involves addressing price concerns, offering discounts when necessary, and finalising deals.

If you are still deciding between university and a digital apprenticeship, discover our informative guide, Comparing the Benefits of Apprenticeships vs University. It could help you make that important decision. 

Digital Support

Digital support refers to customer service offered through digital platforms like email, chat, mobile apps, and social media. It enables consumers to engage with businesses using smartphones, tablets, and computers, providing convenience and flexibility that align with their digital preferences. This support method encompasses a range of technologies necessary for delivering customer service digitally, catering to diverse support scenarios influenced by factors like customer demographics and channel maturity.

Digital support is used across diverse industries to ensure seamless digital experiences, improve efficiency, and enhance operations. Here are a selection of industries where it is utilised: 

  • Healthcare

  • Finance 

  • Manufacturing

  • Retail

  • Education 

Remember, this list of industries isn't finite. There are a huge number of exciting and cutting-edge sectors in which those with the skills can build rewarding careers. Speaking of skills, next, look at the technical and soft skills you need to work in digital support. 

What Skills Do Those Working in Digital Support Need?

Technical Skills 

  • Utilisation of Office Technologies and Collaboration Tools - Digital support technicians must excel at utilising various office technologies and collaboration tools to facilitate seamless communication and enhance productivity in organisational settings.

  • Proficiency in Modern Digital Infrastructure - This includes hardware, software, virtualisation technologies, and cloud computing. Technicians need to address technical issues and effectively support organisational digital transformation.

  • Understanding Data Concepts and Fundamentals - A solid understanding of data concepts and fundamentals enables technicians to manage and leverage data effectively, contributing to data-driven strategies and organisational success.

  • Security Management Principles - Upholding information security management principles is crucial for technicians to mitigate risks, protect organisational assets, and maintain trust and credibility with stakeholders.

  • Digital Communication Skills - Effective digital communication skills are essential for technicians to interact professionally and efficiently across diverse digital channels, fostering collaboration and delivering exceptional customer service.

  • Internet Usage and Security Principles - Proficiency in internet usage and security principles is necessary for technicians to navigate online environments safely, mitigate cybersecurity threats, and protect organisational data and systems.

  • Staying Abreast of Current and Emerging Technologies - Staying abreast of current and emerging technologies empowers technicians to anticipate trends, harness opportunities, and drive digital transformation within the business, positioning them as strategic assets for organisational growth and success.

Soft Skills

  • Time Management - Technicians must be able to prioritise tasks, optimise productivity, and meet deadlines effectively in fast-paced work environments.

  • A Mindset of Continuous Improvement -  Striving for continuous improvement enables technicians to stay relevant and competitive in the digital space, driving personal and organisational success through innovation and adaptation.

  • Collaboration - Digital support sometimes involves resolving complex issues requiring collaboration with colleagues or other IT professionals. 

  • Problem-solving - Good problem-solving skills help analyse the situation and identify the root cause. By asking the right questions and understanding the user's experience, valuable information can be gathered to solve the problem effectively.

  • Communication - People calling for support often have limited or no technical knowledge. Strong communication skills are needed to explain complex issues clearly and understandably. 

  • Customer Service - Technical problems can be stressful for users, and thai needs strong customer service skills. Those who are empathetic, courteous, and professional can help de-escalate frustration and build trust with the user.

Those working in digital support rely on a combination of technical expertise for troubleshooting and utilising digital tools, along with interpersonal skills for effective communication, collaborative problem-solving, and ensuring user satisfaction, thus facilitating a seamless user experience. 

The Final Word on Choosing the Right Digital Apprenticeship 

Selecting the right digital apprenticeship may feel daunting, but it's a crucial decision that can significantly influence your career path. By carefully considering various options and understanding their impact on businesses and society, as well as the required technical and soft skills, you can make a well-informed choice that suits your interests and aspirations. 

Whether you're leaning towards technical sales, data analytics, software development, or digital support, each path offers unique opportunities for professional growth. By focusing on acquiring essential skills and maintaining a proactive approach, you can establish a fulfilling career in the constantly evolving digital space, where adaptability and collaboration are key.

Looking for More Information on Digital Apprenticeships?

We hope our guide has been informative. However, if you require more information on digital apprenticeships or are ready to apply, contact our friendly and expert team, who are ready to support you on your journey. As a leading digital apprenticeship provider, we are best placed to ensure you choose the right career for you and one that will unlock your potential. 

Contact the team today and take that first step into a new career. 

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