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National Apprenticeship Featured Hero

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is Here

Apprenticeship Highlight: Shawn Nunoo

This week marks the 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week, when the nation celebrates humans who successfully navigated an apprenticeship opportunity and are helping to rebuild the Nation’s economy, advance racial and gender equity, and support underserved communities. As a Registered Apprenticeship Program–through the Department of Labor–Bitwise Industries provides individuals with paid opportunities in the technology industry with job training that includes a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of instruction. Taking it one step further, Bitwise provides apprentices with a full-time salary that includes medical benefits. Bitwise Industries’ Apprentices earn a living wage, work on real-world projects, and bridge the gap between learning and working. In fact, 97 percent of former students are still in technology jobs, earning an average yearly salary between $60-80k. 
Our registered apprenticeships provide a critical pipeline that addresses the nation’s workforce challenges with a focus on rebuilding our country’s infrastructure through a sustainable process that uplifts individuals in underserved communities. Along with our partners–like the Tiger Woods Foundation: who empower students to pursue their passions through innovative STEM coursework, college-access programs, digital platforms, and educator professional development–we will celebrate individuals each day this week from different backgrounds, upbringings, and lifestyles to experience what it means to champion our apprentices. We hope you’re just as excited to relive the journey of each individual who found the courage to “put themselves out there” and make a difference in their life by applying for an apprenticeship. Continue reading to learn more about today’s apprentice highlight.

Today we celebrate:

  • Human: Shawn Nunoo
  • Role: Software Engineer
  • Focus: React Native Software
  • Apprenticeship: 2020

Shawn’s life before his Apprenticeship

After a difficult layoff in 2019–and six months of job hunting during the COVID-19 pandemic–Shawn didn’t have a lot of direction on where his career could go, however he did find his way to a coding boot camp during that time. Excited about the tech-industry experience, he decided this was a line of work worth pursuing. Even though Shawn didn’t feel like he had the knowledge or experience to be a software engineer, he heard about Bitwise Industries and decided to apply for the apprenticeship program. Shawn immediately felt the love and support that Bitwise had to offer after his first intake conversation, and he knew that this opportunity was worth pursuing.

I didn’t get that vibe from anyone else so I decided to reach out and see what would happen at Bitwise. it seemed too good to be true. And then it ended up being true. That was surprising.

The  Bitwise Apprenticeship experience in Shawn’s eyes

To get started; Shawn was asked to complete a coding challenge to establish his working knowledge in the tech field. Even though he juggled his excitement and nervousness, Shawn’s connection with his apprentice lead helped him overcome his imposter syndrome, and he quickly found the confidence to continue pushing forward. After a few weeks of learning the tech basics, this new apprentice quickly jumped into actual client work. Nervous to be in the deep end so soon, Shawn rallied behind the realization that Bitwise Industries trusted his talent and knew his contributions for this project would be well received by all of the people who would benefit on the backend of their user experience. During his apprenticeship, Shawn found everything he needed to be successful on that project–the support, the skills, and the success.

Bitwise trusted us to contribute to a big project that would be used by a lot of people. It felt very surreal, but humbling because they believed in us. It was up to my team to put in the work. It was a really great experience.

Shawn Nunoo

Shawn’s greatest takeaway from the apprenticeship?

Shawn’s greatest takeaways included his contributions to the client work and the sense of being heard. Early on he understood the trust and support that was provided to him allowed him to contribute a significant amount of his talent to his projects–even though he was so early in his career path. That support paired with a complete sense that his voice was being heard affirmed that he was not a small piece in a bigger puzzle. His voice was heard and his opinions mattered.

If you have the right mindset and the right support system around you, you can really do anything that you want. And Bitwise really provided that for me.

What changed after the apprenticeship journey for Shawn?

Shawn always had an interest in the technology industry. He just didn’t see the path there. After his apprenticeship experience with Bitwise, Shawn has a newfound belief in himself, his abilities, and his potential. He is a part of the greater tech world and appreciates the process. With so many in similar situations, Shawn is working to use his influence to encourage people in his community to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. His experience is a reflection of what can happen for those who “get out there to give it a shot.” Shawn has mentored some and taught multiple classes himself to encourage people to try something they never thought possible.

My experience led me to be more vocal about what worked well and what people should try to do. It really feels like my apprenticeship helped my community.

What does Shawn’s future look like?

According to Shawn, his future looks incredible. He maintains a surreal sense of how quickly everything happened for him. From zero experience in the tech field to now having a few years of actual experience under his belt, Shawn has the confidence to keep learning and using his growth for himself, and his community. Stoically, he recounts never considering that he could be in his current position of employment, but he is thankful to Bitwise Industries and his apprenticeship that helped get him to where he wants to be as a person and professionally.

I look around at other tech companies and I don’t see a lot of diversity. I want to encourage more people who don’t normally have a seat at the table to realize that they do. And I can use everything that I’ve learned here to encourage that going forward.

The Finish Line?

National Apprenticeship Week isn’t the end of the road. It is just the beginning for those who lean into their courage to pursue an attainable dream. We hope highlighting Shawn Nunoo provides a sense of the significance of creating opportunities like this for people in underestimated situations so they can access valuable skills that will launch them into amazing careers.