Titles matter less and less. At least if you want to go far in the big tech

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College degrees seem important to get a good job at a big tech company, but not necessarily to work in what you studied. Many of the professionals who are part of these templates attended university degrees, but, when comparing the numbers of graduates by careers with those of the professional categories in which they work, a significant decoupling is observed, according to data obtained from the profile of the companies in LinkedIn.

Google. At Google, for example, the majority are workers with studies in Computer Engineering or Computer Science, with just over 100,000 employees with these careers, followed far behind by graduates in Business Administration and Management (12,000) or Marketing ( 11,000).

However, the largest department of the Californian giant is the media department, with almost 90,000 professionals on staff, followed closely by the engineering area (70,000) and somewhat further behind by business development (27,000). They also have 21,000 employees in the information technology area.

Manzana. At Apple, the number of workers with studies in different types of engineering or Computer Science also varies considerably with respect to the number of employees in these fields. In total, the Computer, Electronic and Mechanical engineering add up to some 38,500 graduates in the Cupertino company; however, in the engineering area there are almost 44,000 professionals on staff. And the same decoupling is observed, although with much more modest figures, in other disciplines such as business management or marketing.

IBM. At IBM the decoupling is even greater. International Business Machines has about 155,000 employees in jobs related to information technology and about 119,000 in engineering of various kinds. But only 57,500 of these professionals have a computer engineering degree, around 61,000 with studies in Computer Science or Information Technology and barely 26,000 electronic engineers.

And similar differences, although not as pronounced, we find in companies such as Amazon, Meta, Samsung Electronics or Microsoft, among others. Those of Redmond, for example, have 89,000 graduates in Computer and Electronic Engineering and some 77,000 engineering positions of different types, 32,000 graduates in Information Technology and 40,000 employees in that area and 42,000 graduates in Information Sciences.

What happen? The differences between titles and jobs can have various explanations. In those companies in which we find more people with careers than jobs in a certain technical area, the answer may be that, being technology companies, the workers who stand out the most are those who have studied related disciplines, such as Engineering or Sciences of the Computing, and when promoted to management positions in the company, they leave their area to take on management tasks.

It is also possible that there are employees with basic technical training who later specialized in other areas related to technology but not directly in engineering, information technology or computer science. And there is also the possibility that the data reflected by LinkedIn is not entirely accurate.

Titles don’t matter that much. Although the main reason for this decoupling is that the titles do not matter too much to the big technology companies when it comes to hiring. These companies value, above all, the experience and the ability to learn and adapt of the candidates, as their managers have said on several occasions. In fact, in 2018 Glassdoor revealed that up to 15 large US companies had stopped asking for titles to hire qualified employees, including Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Apple or IBM.

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Already in 2014, the former head of human resources at Alphabet, Laszlo Bock, told the New York Times that neither grades nor academic results have value as criteria for hiring: “They don’t predict anything. What we are looking for is general cognitive ability, not IQ. It is the ability to learn, to process on the fly. The ability to put together disparate pieces of information.”

This is the case of IBM, its former vice president of Talent, Joanna Daley, revealed in 2018 that 15% of the company’s employees in the United States do not have a university degree and explained that the reason is that the company does not focus on universities and also seeks many candidates with practical experience in bootcamps, by vocation or self-study.

Statements similar to those made a year later by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who reported that approximately half of his company’s employees in the United States did not have a college degree because they believe that many universities do not teach the skills that business leaders need in their workforce.

And the same is the opinion of Elon Musk, who assured in 2020 that the university is not a place to learn, but to have fun, and that having a university degree does not guarantee exceptional skills, which is why he does not ask for it for applicants to work in his Business.

The experience above the titles. Thus, the main cause of the decoupling would come from the greater importance that technology gives to experience, something that works both ways: you can have self-taught technical knowledge and work as a software developer or a degree in Computer Engineering, having acquired experience in the area of ​​digital advertising and end up working in the media department of Google.

Image | Jeswin Thomas

College degrees seem important to get a good job at a big tech company, but not necessarily to work in…

College degrees seem important to get a good job at a big tech company, but not necessarily to work in…

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