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Is a degree a pre-requisite for IT jobs?

In the past, SA companies have often required candidates to have a tertiary qualification in order to be considered for IT vacancies. International trends (from the USA mostly) are driving a change in hiring requirements. After all we all know the gifted techie that doesn't have a 3 year qualification.

Apple, Google, Netflix and Amazon are just a few of the top tech companies that are leading this change by dropping the degree requirement as a barrier to entry. Universities often don't teach some of the key skills that companies require, such as coding. The market demand is for people to have problem solving skills, while being technical and possessing the ability to learn by trial and error. They need a person who will have the tenacity to keep trying till the job gets done, as opposed to the traditional view that a degree is indicative of ability.

Apple and Microsoft were both founded by university dropouts. Apple CEO, Tim Cook points out that there is a mismatch between skills learned at university and the skills businesses require. The most cited missing skill is coding.

That being said, don't drop out of university or dismiss the value of a degree, People with degrees do, on average, earn more than those without (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). South Africa is following and catching up with global trends. However, the best qualification is still demonstrable tech experience. If you have shown you have what it takes before, it means you can do it again. Besides learning new things is the reason we are all in IT after all.

If you would like to chat about your career and opportunities please don't hesitate to contact us. We are always glad to help.

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