Why Fellowship Programs are the New Rave in Tech

Fellowship programs have existed for a long time, particularly in academia. However, they have recently gained prominence in tech, but what is driving this?

Photo by Mars on Unsplash

The world as we know it is constantly evolving and has reached a point where it is being driven by technological innovations. Today, technology plays a significant role in our day-to-day lives, and this is true even for developing countries like Nigeria.

Hence, it is no surprise that tech skills have become so high in demand that a talent shortage now exists across the globe. Consequently, this has led to the rise of fellowship programs to cater to the increasing demand for tech talents in Africa and beyond.

What are Fellowship Programs?

Fellowships are intensive training professional development programs that equip fellows with in-demand skills in specific fields and grant them experience by providing an opportunity to work on real projects.

Fellowships span across different fields, but in tech, they have gained substantial popularity over the last decade as the need for quality tech talent has continued to rise.

While similar to and sometimes often confused with coding boot camps, the average fellowship program takes it a step further. Coding boot camps are technical programs that offer training in programming languages. As the name implies, they help participants hone, build and grow their skills in coding.

Fellowship programs, however, offer training in careers that require coding and non-coding skills. From Javascript to product management and product design, fellowships are a more robust and immersive program that provides training in several aspects of tech.

Additionally, some fellowships, such as Fellowship @ The Bulb, provide internship opportunities with partner companies, giving fellows a chance to get their foot in the door immediately they graduate.

Why are Fellowship Programs Important?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, technology drives our world and has become a significant part of our lives. Innovations and revolutionary ideas are constantly being explored, creating opportunities and birthing multiple startups.

Statistics show that worldwide, about 305 million startups are created in a year, and 1.35 million businesses out of those startups are tech-related. This has translated to an increase in the demand for software engineers, product designers, product managers, quality assurance testers, and more. Globally, the number of full-time employees in the ICT sector is projected to reach 62 million by 2023 as the demand continues to grow.

However, the number of existing tech talents is not enough to fill in the demand for quality employees in tech. Coupled with the pandemic, there is currently a massive tech talent pool, and that is what fellowships are trying to bridge.

Additionally, since the gap in the tech talent pool needs to be filled expeditiously, employers do not have the luxury of waiting for college/university computer science students who will take about 4 years to become job-ready. Hence, fellowships are turned to as a more viable option thanks to their speed and intense training.

Fellowship vs. College degree

Attending a college or university to earn a degree in computer science or a related field has major pros. For one, you get to learn a whole range of courses from networking to operations. This provides a better understanding of computing and may help students decide on their area of specialization.

It gives you access to professors who may be performing research that you can learn from, peers at different levels, and endless resources through libraries and computer labs. However, these degrees take a long time, about 3–4 years, and can be pretty expensive.

Photo by Mars on Unsplash

On the other hand, Fellowship programs train and mold their fellows from tech newbies to people ready to take on an entry-level position in 4–6 months! Rather than learning multiple topics related to computing, fellows can choose a specific course and receive immersive training. Fellowships are ideal for people looking to switch careers or for younger people starting their careers. It is more affordable and is now recognized by recruiters as well.

Should you Join a Fellowship Program?

Fellowship programs offer immense benefits and are playing a huge role in fixing the talent gap in the tech industry. They are fast, provide high-quality intense training, get you job-ready, and in some cases, offer access to internship opportunities like our Fellowship Program.

Ultimately, whether you should choose a fellowship program, a coding boot camp, or a college degree depends on your overall goals and, of course, your resources. Thus, the need for extensive research cannot be overemphasized, as this will help you make the best choice. If you do settle on a fellowship program, thoroughly look through their benefits and track record, and only apply if it’s right for you!

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The Bulb Africa is a platform for Africans leveraging technology. We provide training and incubation programs that help turn tech ideas into business realities.

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The Bulb Africa

The Bulb Africa

The Bulb Africa is a platform for Africans leveraging technology. We provide training and incubation programs that help turn tech ideas into business realities.

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