Computer Science degree, Liberal Arts degree, or no degree at all? In Part One of this series, we explained there’s no one “magic degree” that will land you your dream job in tech. Some experts say not every programmer or developer needs to hold an engineering degree.
What do those who do the real-world hiring really think? In Part 2 of this series, we asked hiring managers, CEO’s and project managers for their on-the-job insight, to find out if a computer science degree is needed for a job in tech. Here’s what we found.
That being said, technology skills are very measurable. Either you can do the job, or you can’t, and it’s easy to test that. Therefore, if you can teach yourself and you’re capable of doing good work, the degree isn’t necessary. At the end of the day, the way I see it playing out today, being employable in technology isn’t the problem; checking all the right boxes to land the interview is the problem.”
James Green, Partner at ActualTech Media ("I’m a Comp Science dropout. I’ve always loved technology, but I was a horrible student. I’ve spent more than a decade working in IT and now own a successful IT marketing firm.")
“It depends on the person. Looking back over the past 20 years, the best coders I had the pleasure of working with were largely self-taught, versus being classroom-taught; Many of them had no formal education in programming at all, but simply had a natural ability to think logically and were excellent problem solvers. By the same token, I've known other developers, who even after having the benefit of a formal education in programming, are still nonetheless terrible coders.”
Bowie Poag, 20+ year IT veteran, Senior Systems Engineer / SAN Engineer / Programmer for a large healthcare company.
We've had great success hiring developers out of local bootcamps who are looking to make a career change after previous work experience in another field. We help them continue their education through mentorship and access to tools like Treehouse, programming books, and workshops.”
Robby Russell, founder of Planet Argon a self-taught coder who has run a web development agency for 13 years.
Given the choice between a developer with superior technical skills but who lacks soft skills, and one who has only adequate technical skills but who excels at the soft skills—we'll choose the latter every time."
Brett Derricott, founder and CEO of Objective
Daniel Ali, Vice President, My Quick Startup
I believe storytelling brings a sense of authenticity to your personal brand and the human connection is such a strong selling component…in my millennial opinion. The ability to market yourself surpasses the listing on your degree. My liberal arts degree has opened up MANY interesting conversations and can be a focal point in any interview, because it is unique compared to a lot of others.”
Brandon Forrest, Managed IT Specialist at the Gordon Flesch Company with specialization in cloud storage, vCIO services, business continuity, and the Internet of Things for B2B.
Cody Swann, CEO of Gunner Technology ("I have a BS in Journalism, an MA in Mass Communication and an MBA, and made my career in web and app development.”)