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Skills Becoming More Important Than a Degree For IT Jobs

October 11th, 2018

With more jobs than traditionally qualified professionals, recruiters and hiring managers in tech fields say they are willing to hire candidates who have the IT skills, but not a technical degree.

A survey by the HR technology firm iCIMS found 96% of the 400 respondents said it has become more acceptable to hire candidates who have alternative qualifications -- coding boot camps and certification courses. In fact, 61% of tech hiring professionals said a four year college degree in a technology-related field alone does not prepare job seekers to be successful.

So while recruiters and hiring managers may still desire computer science graduates, 20% said work samples are the most important factor in evaluating a candidate. 15% said they looked at the results of skills testing and assessments.

Of course it's easy to say on a survey that a 4-year tech degree isn't necessary, but who are they hiring? The iCIMS survey asked them that discovering 44% reported that fewer than 25% of their tech hires in the last year had a college degree in a related field. And the younger the company, the less likely it is to have tech workers with a degree.

Focusing on skills rather than degrees has become so much a trend that IBM's CEO Ginni Rometty gave it a name a couple years ago - "new collar jobs" -- which has become a common topic on the company blog.

New collar jobs are not limited to the tech industry. A few months ago the jobs site ZipRecruiter came up with a list of the 15 best paying of these jobs that require some skills training, but not a bachelor's degree. Seven of them were IT positions including Ruby on Rails engineer and developer and UI software engineer all paying an average between $100,080-$110,590. But also on the list were nurses, mortgage and lending professionals and financial advisors.

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