A new generation of tech experts are using hands-on experience to make their mark.
Over the last 30 years, degrees have shifted from a niche qualification in key professions to a standard entry requirement for many careers. Although a highly educated workforce can only be a good thing, there are some sectors that are beginning to fight back against academic gatekeeping. Valuing skills and experience over formal qualifications. One of the most influential industries embracing this trend is tech. With big names like Google, Apple, and Netflix opening up entry requirements and sending waves across the industry. As leading technology recruiters our 2020 Salary Survey found that the tech industry is booming, with entry level salaries for developers starting at £27,000. It’s little wonder, then, that graduates and non-graduates alike are keen to make their mark in this exciting sector.
We take a closer look at the removal of the degree barrier in tech, below.
Research Does Not Support Degrees
Google, who previously only sourced elite talent from top universities, conducted a study to find out what impact these skills and qualifications had on future success. The results were astounding - they had very little bearing on performance. This learning experience revolutionised their hiring process and other key names have followed suit.
It’s Opening Up The Talent Pool
Great talent is not defined by degrees. While it is true that some roles still require specialist study, many of the fast-moving jobs in tech do not. By opening the door for a wider pool of talented people, companies like IBM and Google increase their chances of finding talent that can make an impact. This does not mean that many people within their workforce are not graduates; many are, and a degree remains an important qualification. Simply, by removing it as a barrier, they are able to tap into a growing pool of tech experts. A degree is part of a bigger picture of who a candidate is, it no longer defines who is successful and who is not.
Non-Traditional Learning Is Growing
The rise of online boot camps and vocational tech courses along with increasing numbers of self-taught experts is transforming the tech landscape. Learning, especially when it comes to coding, is becoming more democratic. Many of the people who are part of this self-taught community have the skills needed to succeed in tech – despite a lack of university degree. More and more companies are recognising this, and this attitude shift is rewriting industry rules.
Opening Doors Promotes Diversity
A degree is not just an educational barrier, it is also a financial one. The cost of achieving a degree makes it difficult for many young people to access meaningful careers. This leads to workforces that lack in diversity. This lack of diversity in gender, ethnicity, and experience has always been a problem in tech, but changes in entry requirements have the potential to lead to real and lasting change. Promoting truly diverse and creative teams - something that is essential for an industry built on innovation.
The tech industry is transforming, as a new wave of traditionally-excluded talent begins to make their mark. We cannot be certain what the future will bring for this talent pool (or for the industry as a whole) but expanding the range of experience and diversity within the sector can only be a positive step. The UK has the 3rd largest tech industry in the world and the future certainly looks exciting for tech talent. Want to find out more about the tech trends that are shaping the industry? Explore the latest Xcede Salary Survey to discover how the tech industry is evolving as we enter a new decade of work.