No College Degree? No Problem

While scrolling through the latest job postings for computer programming on the largest job posting site (currently holding approximately 70% of market share in that arena), one might get the idea that you need a college degree to get a job as a computer programmer. A traditional college education absolutely has value and its place in the world, just not necessarily in the world of tech.

You may be surprised to learn that tech giants like Google and Apple are not necessarily looking for that piece of paper - rather the employee traits that are now desirable are the life skills one can often learn in the process of a college education. Independence, multitasking, prioritizing, working with others, resourcefulness - all life skills that that are highly valued, needed and desired in the tech space. According to Google’s former SVP of People Operations Laszlo Block, “When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.”

Google, Apple, and IBM are among a growing list of companies that do NOT require a college diploma for some of their top positions. Strong work ethic, grit and talent are the hallmarks of the ‘new collar’ revolution of tech. A solid foundation of acquired skills (whether through a traditional education or through bootcamp) and a heart to learn and serve will get you in the door you are knocking on.

There is a turn of phrase oft used in the marketplace “hire for culture (or attitude), train for skill”. Most managers are looking for how you present yourself as a key indicator of whether or not you are a good fit for the position and the company. The way you prepare yourself for your first contact with those hiring managers will make all the difference in the world and the university that you did or didn’t come from won’t matter. Set yourself up well and trust in the skills and experience and knowledge you do have. Be excited by what you have to offer and what you bring, beyond the piece of paper your diploma is printed on.

Fear is a lie. It is never a good starting place and it will always back you into a corner. Don’t let the fear of what you don’t have stop you from trying. Failure is not “I didn’t achieve”. Failure is “I didn’t try”. Want to know the most valuable trait that a developer can carry? A positive attitude.


Siri Bergquist is a graduate from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, has a BA in Psychology and is Senior Investigator for the Summit Research Institute. She is passionate about good communication being restored to humanity, particularly in the Tech Space. Healthy, effective and complete communication is the key to healthy relationships, which in turn, allow us to apprehend our future.

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