Posted on August 25th, 2020 in Eleven Fifty Academy

What do Twitter, Whole Foods, Uber, and Apple have in common? They were all founded by individuals who didn’t finish college and whose skills speak louder than degrees.

Traditional college educations don’t define success, and in many cases skills matter more than degrees. They are the primary building blocks of a career, and with sweeping changes taking place in both the corporate world and government sector, degrees are no longer the determinant of those skills. 

More companies prioritize skills over degree

After years of “degree inflation” in which jobs largely required college degrees across the board, the culture is starting to shift.

In 2019, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that approximately half their workforce didn’t have college degrees. But Apple isn’t the only company to reconsider their job descriptions. Numerous big-name companies are starting to get rid of degree requirements and champion skills, especially for jobs in sales and tech. The Federal government has also begun overhauling its hiring practices following an Executive Order to place importance on skills over degree.

You can find roles at top companies in tech, finance, retail, and beyond that no longer require traditional education and embrace non-traditional programs like coding bootcamps. And this doesn’t include the countless smaller companies across the country that are opening their doors to those without a four-year degree, especially in software development, web development, and UX/UI design.

Companies that now prioritize skills over degrees:

  • Tech: Apple, Airbnb, Google, Netflix, IBM, Oracle, Tesla
  • Finance: Bank of America, Ernst & Young
  • Food: Chipotle, Publix, Starbucks, Whole Foods
  • Retail: Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Nordstrom
  • Misc.: Hilton, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Random House

You can get into a well-paying career faster

Non-traditional programs like coding bootcamp get you high-value skills in less time than a 2-year or 4-year college degree program. 

Eleven Fifty’s 90-day coding programs, for example, are 16 times faster than traditional college. While intense, a coding bootcamp specializes in skills-driven education to make sure you have both the hard AND soft skills to thrive in a career once you complete the program. This means you can be employable in approximately three months, depending on the length of program you choose. 

This fast transformation translates into more earning power and a faster way to change your life—all while saving money. 

Shortage of skilled professionals

Another key factor in the “are skills more important than education?” debate: There’s a shortage of skilled professionals in the job market. 

As companies have rapidly transformed to keep up with today’s tech landscape and consumer needs, traditional college programs have struggled to keep the pace. This disconnect between degrees and required skills for jobs has created continued skills gaps between applicants and open jobs. Alternative programs are one of the best routes to get those skills. 

Coding bootcamps make sure their curriculum is regularly evolving to meet new market demands. At Eleven Fifty we work to build thoughtful relationships with companies across the state to not only help meet their talent needs, but to help people land stable, rewarding careers while building up our state’s communities.

At the end of the day, no matter what path you choose, skills are going to be an important part of your career journey. Stay curious, stay driven, and focus on making sure you have the skill sets that help you thrive. 

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Explore our free intro courses to explore careers in web development, software development, or UX/UI design, and schedule a discovery session with one of our team members to learn more about your options, including scholarship and financial aid opportunities at Eleven Fifty.



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