More and more the value of a college degree is dwindling. And this is a good thing. Recently, Apple announced that it will join 14 other major employers in dropping the college degree requirement for job applicants.
This might seem like a small gesture but this has huge implications when it comes to employment opportunities. Over the last several years there has been a rise in the popularity of coding boot camps and other alternatives to the traditional college model. Since Apple is a giant in the tech world, it would make perfect sense for it to drop this requirement in order to broaden the talent pool from which it will find its new hires. Already, big companies like Google and IBM have dropped this requirement and it has helped to diversify the field.
In 2017, as the market for tech workers was suffering from a shortage of qualified applicants, IBM made the decision to think outside of the box. Instead of focusing solely on credentials, like a college degree, when looking for new hires, the company decided to extend the opportunity to candidates who had hands-on experience. This presented a huge opportunity for those who had participated in coding camps or had experience with other vocational training outside the traditional college setting.
More than 15 percent of IBM’s new hires are individuals who took alternative routes to higher education. And shortly after IBM adopted this practice, Google instituted a similar hiring policy. Now, these companies, in addition to Apple and 12 others, are helping to change the way we prepare young adults for their careers.
A Different Path to Education
It might not be making headline news, but there is a revolution going on when it comes to the future of education. Traditionally, we have sent children, each uniquely skilled and wonderfully different, off to school to sit in desks all day long and learn in a uniform manner. This tradition continues when they graduate high school and compete to get into colleges and universities that may or may not prepare them for their careers, though more often than not the latter is true.
Over the last several decades, it has become apparent that college does not always properly prepare you for the real job market. Not to mention, in addition to being ill-prepared to compete in the job market, these students are graduating with massive amounts of student loan debt.
True, there are certainly many occupations where a strong case can be made in favor attending a traditional four-year college. It might make complete sense, for example, for a future doctor to attend medical school or a for a future lawyer to attend law school. But in the world of tech, which is so decentralized and entrepreneurial by nature, there is a real opportunity to demonstrate the positive benefits of alternatives like coding boot camps.
Every single individual is born with special strengths unique to them. And it is this diversification of specialties that make our economy robust with choice. By holding every single individual to the same set of educational standards, like we do in our higher education system, we devalue just how special they really are.
It is extremely exciting to see large companies like Apple understanding this concept and changing its hiring practices in order to better suit the needs of the individual employee. And by doing so, Apple and other tech companies are helping to change the way we view higher education.