CNBC’s Courtney Connley reported recently that Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree, spurring some consideration of the implication on jobs and education.
The amateur economist in me read the headline on the surface of it and thought, “great! More affirmation that $100,000 in debt to get a piece of paper that says you’re academically capable of consuming and regurgitating information isn’t the right bar to set for tech jobs!”[photo credit: James Forrester; Creative Commons attribution]
And then I pondered…
- Will this domino other companies to do the same?
- Will this encourage Universities to be more flexible or affordable?
- Wait… college degrees aren’t really REQUIRED in any job, are they? They may have said it’s required but that’s never actually the case. Is this just a PR stunt to get more attention and candidates?
- For what jobs?
News, economics, politics, and education mix up a funny set of correlations in the U.S. No, not a funny set, a disconcerting set.
Connley noted in her article, “In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daley told CNBC Make It that about 15 percent of her company’s U.S. hires don’t have a four-year degree. She said that instead of looking exclusively at candidates who went to college, IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience via a coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class.”
We all know a few facts:
- The cost of education, particularly in the U.S., is spiraling out of control
- The culture shifting our beliefs to “needing a college degree,” has pushed too many into a system from which we just don’t have jobs/demand. Trade schools died, and again are flourishing as we realize this
- Certain skills that are highly educated (such as coding) don’t require such formal education
I’ve touched on education a few times in my career; personally passionate about it though not working specifically therein (well, that is until MediaTech Ventures developed Collective). Years ago I was a bit of a study of Jeff Selingo and the value of education. More recently, passionate about the pace of innovation and implication of technology in education.
What bothers me is a notion pertaining to my primary work with startups and entrepreneurs; how we’re all born to be creative builders, entrepreneurial, and that institutionalized schooling seemingly beats that out of us. We grow up aspiring to be astronauts and artists but find our way into expensive 4 year plans that make us worker bees. Why do we perpetuate that??
College has been sold to us.
In 100 years, I hope college Marketing professors are teaching of the golden age of Selling University. It’s a brilliant case study really, not unlike how DeBeers made us all believe diamonds are invaluable…
- Create prestigious brands to which we aspire and from which people find themselves in lofty, celebrity, and valued positions
- Make that education more accessible to others
- Legislate how education is funded, public from private schools, and work with the government to help pay for the costs of those who struggle to afford it
- Offer courses and degrees that previously needed no extensive education, broadening the market further so that it serves everyone
- Ramp up the consumer appeal… “Party Schools,” Spring Break, free Macs (today, Free Alexa’s from Amazon), Back To School shopping season, Animal House movies… who doesn’t want to go to college???
- Develop the market, from/through elementary schools, such that it perceives that one must get the college diploma. Your future depends on it.
- Lastly, constrain supply even further. Tenure professors. Aggressively compete with online education (see ASU). Legislate away For Profit secondary education.
Someone should write a book in the brilliance of how University went from Cambridge, so that people could learn to be Academics, Doctors, and Lawyers, to a trillion-dollar industry so people can learn to be coffee baristas.
Perhaps this article is a start to that.
What are the implications on the job market of Apple, Google, and IBM are not requiring a college degree anymore?
Probably not much. Smart companies hire the right people, regardless of their papers. Hopefully though, this is the start of a return to some sanity in education.
Well said. However education and age discrimination is still the primary factor in landing a meaningful job. It’s sickening to be looking for the same job and someone shows up with a PhD. When has a PhD ever needed in computers other than for teaching and advanced education? Ironically even the richest person in the world doesn’t even have a PhD but his company is looking for highly educated professionals! No wonder why the company did not make it on this list.
Yes, as the cost of a post-secondary education continues to rise at alarming rates, the industry is ripe for continued disruption and innovation. MOOCs are a start! With two attending college at UT Austin, I am thankful that I purchased the Original Texas Tomorrow Fund in 2003 as well as additional funds in other 529s. However, companies need to step up as well. As digital innovation continues at a rapid pace and new technologies perform tasks previously done by workers, LIFELONG LEARNING & Training Accounts are sorely needed.
Haven’t met a doctor that practices medicine in this century. First they are brainwashed in medical school by the pharmaceutical companies then when they begin their careers – they are like mice in a maze… what they can and cannot do is dictated by their computer that is run by insurance companies.
A patient goes into talk to a doctor, the doctor looks for buzz words as they look directly into computer half listen and then say and so why are you here today… you get 15 minutes…but they aren’t listening – too busy typing – if you were every misdiagnosed or have a complicated history you’d better learn to self medicate.
I’d be dead if I didn’t have access to antibiotics. Had a severe infection in skin and connective tissue, they wanted me on humira for auto immune disease.
The more education someone has the more they are brainswashed! My BA is in marketing – everyone should have to learn what I know in grade school! If I had it my way, world religion, health and wellness, manners, marketing, sports, games and fun is all you’d learn until you become a teenager!
Great teams need people who are smart and useful. If you went to Princeton, you are probably smart, but there is no evidence that you are useful. If, on the other hand, you made it this far without a prestigious college degree, changes are you are both smart and useful. Someones college degree is a lousy heuristic for judging their talent … but if you have to use that heuristic, hire the person who has gotten here with guts and hustle, not an impressive piece of paper.
The smartest, most educated people I have ever encountered never spent a single day in college… and the dumbest, most clueless ones have advanced degrees.
absolutely excellent. left out legislation that requires a college prep curriculum in HS & punishes those who don’t do well in it. college has almost become an entitlement but it should not be a requirement for every job. business should go back to doing more of their own job training & we should encourage noncollege hiring.
we got started on college for everyone as a way to avoid the draft. that helped create today’s college ‘system’ for good or ill. it has resulted in underemployment & high debt & generally worse levels of education across the board. don’t demand too much or kids won’t get into a prestige college, etc. maybe it’s time for another look.
This makes me happy. The majority of Americans go to college simply because that’s what they are told to do. It makes so much more sense to take on the burden of educational debt only if you NEED it for your chosen profession. Leveraging boot camps, courses, focused classes, etc to build specialty skill sets is more efficient, financially responsible, and better for businesses awaiting qualified candidates. So much can be learned without cumbersome institutions and for FREE, no less, in today’s world. We should be spending more time helping our children find their path and educating them about financial responsibility and less time spouting off platitudes about college and jobs.
I once heard that in Philly it matters what your last name is; in New York City, it’s where you work; in Boston, it’s where did you get your degree from. In the Midwest, it seems to be who are you related to.
Honestly, if you get your Identify from something extraneous then you are missing out on doing the best for yourself. Why don’t we stop with the drive for the corner office (note… no one should want to be in the corner) and do something you love to impact your local community?
If your talents are to teach, heal or create something which requires cutting edge technologies and processes, then yes – go to the best school with the professors you want to learn from. But if you love building, supporting, and caring for your community – then do that and take the classes you need along the way as a life long pursuit.
Unless, of course, you are going to college to gain independence from your parents or dare I say this, in light it will offend all my feminist colleagues …. find a spouse. Then going to college will be the most expensive class you will ever take.
My son is dyslexic, which sent me down a path of deconstructing the value of a 4-year college degree. It allowed me to begin constructing a complementary at-home learning environment to address the obvious gaps. In the end, he’ll be more prepared for the future. Good piece here.