Apple and Google sent shockwaves through the University and college sector recently by announcing that they are no longer looking to recruit graduates with 4-year degrees. This post is inspired by the the video College Degrees are Done by Patrick Bet-David.
And they are just 2 out of 14 big tech companies that have effectively said that college degrees are a waste of time if you want to work for them.
Well – not really.
I’ve been saying this for quite some time – college degrees are pointless if you want a tech job these days. Looks like the tech companies are waking up to this too.
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why Apple and Google are turning their noses up at college graduates.
1. Pace of change
Things change quickly these days. Very quickly. In fact, if you complete a computer science today, most of the stuff you learn will be obsolete within 3 years or less!
Also, consider this. Dell predict that 85% of the jobs that will be around in 2030 don’t exist yet!
So you go to university now, finish in 4 years time. A few years later there will be jobs that didn’t exist when you started your degree course.
How can universities keep up with that rate of change?
The simple answer is:
They can’t. And they don’t.
Universities are falling behind – and they realize it. That’s why tuition fees are skyrocketing – they are trying to offset future losses. Why are they falling so far behind?
Universities are slow to change.
When you think about it, it’s the tech companies themselves that are driving the change. They have research and development departments that are constantly innovating and pivoting. They are at the cutting edge, while universities lag behind.
The companies get frustrated with the fact that new graduate recruits don’t have the required skills, so they go to the professors and ask them to update their syllabuses. This takes time. The new curriculum has to get approved. It can take years. By which time, it’s out of date again!
In other words, University teacher’s knowledge is outdated, the curriculum is outdated, and pretty much the whole college system is outdated – certainly when it comes to tech jobs.
Online learning and ecourses however are up-to-date, relevant and cutting edge. Just what employers are looking for.
If 2 people apply for a job as a developer at Google, one with a 4-year computer science degree, one with several specialist online coding course certificates in Java, JS, React and Node, which one do you think they are more likely to choose?
They’ll want the person with up-to-date skills, not obsolete college-taught ones.
2. Knowledge is not important as practical skills
The university model of learning is mainly based on the retention and regurgitation of facts and knowledge through exams.
This is so backward-looking.
With Siri, Alexa and Google close at hand, who needs to recall facts these days?
You don’t need a good memory to be a good developer. You need to have highly-focused specialist skills, not lots of general knowledge on a subject.
A company like Apple or Google will train you on a specialized skill in 3 to 4 months, not years!
Also, the companies can control what is taught and what skills are developed by creating their own training programmes rather than relying on universities.
In other words – many of the big companies are creating their own fast-track universities. And online courses and e-learning is playing a big part in delivering content for these specially-tailored courses.
3. Control the narrative
By training their own employees, the big companies can set the direction they want to go in. They become the trend-setters, the pioneers, the innovators in their sector. They also gain status and credibility by offering specialist training and research, often in areas of technology that other companies and universities can’t offer.
All of this leads to an increased market share, and after all – that’s what tech companies are all about.
Speed is of the essence.
The digital world changes very quickly. A typical IT degree will be obsolete within 3 years of completing it.
That’s why employers these days prefer people with specialist skills developed through up-to-date online courses.
In other words, unless you want to become a teacher yourself, avoid college degrees – they’re a waste of time.