Do Job Candidates Really Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Work in Tech?

It has long been assumed that tech professionals need extensive education and experience in the field to be considered for jobs within the sector. However, with the combination of talent shortages and the gap in digital skills candidates possess, companies must reevaluate what makes for a good fit in the tech sector.

According to a McKinsey study, 87% of global senior executives say they are unprepared to address the gap in digital skills; is it realistic to wait for months (or even years) to find the perfect candidate, or is there another way? Instead of setting high expectations for a dream candidate with all of the desired skills for a position, companies must consider candidates with more unconventional backgrounds to fill these roles.

It’s not unheard of to hire candidates with more potential than experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that nearly 26% of IT workers currently employed in the U.S. do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher – proving that when companies hire for potential, they can break free from the talent shortage.

If there is long-term potential with a candidate, companies can upskill them to meet today’s digital demands while filling a role that may otherwise have sat open. Furthermore, workers really want to receive more training on the job. Upskilling helps companies to fill roles faster, improve productivity, boost morale, and build loyalty – all while helping to get around the talent shortage. 

Sharp Decisions recognizes one population of workers still largely untapped to tackle the challenge of today’s talent shortage and digital skills gap: The United States Military Veteran. Our Vets are highly educated, resilient, and willing to learn. Sharp Decisions’ V.E.T.S.­TM Program is proof that people can translate skills learned in the military to new jobs in the tech sector.

We proudly work with veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce, translating their skills learned in the military to tackle critical digital transformation projects around the country. Companies can follow our lead and hire veterans with tech backgrounds. They may not have the exact experience or education desired, but their spirit and determination outshine their non-veteran peers, making them a great pool of candidates to choose from.

Is a bachelor’s degree essential for a candidate to be valuable to a company in the tech sector? In our experience, the answer is not always. There are plenty of candidates with unconventional experience just waiting for a chance to show what they can do.

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