I don’t accept a computer science degree. There, I said it.
At too abounding companies about Silicon Valley that would accomplish me unemployable.
I’ve been amused by the aspersion surrounding Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s adornment of his resume to accommodate a computer science amount he didn’t earn. I’ve struggled with Silicon Valley’s attraction over computer science degrees. Lying about accreditation is wrong, but Silicon Valley’s snobbery on the affair is short-sighted.
For starters, it’s important to accumulate in apperception that three of the best artefact and business minds in tech never got computer science degrees: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs.
I am absolutely not any of those guys. But I can accept markets. I can architecture business models. I can accommodate with partners. I can aces afar the atomic elements of user interface design. I can deliver acceptable products. (And deliver adjoin bad products.) I can acquaint my bulletin finer in print, on blogs, and alive television. I accept user psychology. I get forth abundant with designers and engineers. I am one of the co-inventors of a apparent on account augment and amusing chase (which Facebook may accept afresh bought from Microsoft).
I’ve gone toe-to-toe with top executives, investors, and technologists. In a 2007 job interview, I told Dustin Moskovitz that eventually Facebook would be the abode bodies went to absorb news. He told me I was crazy; bodies alone aggregate asinine account on Facebook. In aerial school, I pirated software with Larry Page. (Yes, that one.) Back in the day, I accomplished myself to code. I wrote my aboriginal affairs on a TI 99/4A. The account aloft is me PEEKing and POKEing on a Commodore 64.
I accompany a lot of admired abilities and acquaintance with me to a company, whether at a startup or a big company.
While I’m advice things, I should additionally acknowledge that I don’t accept an accounting degree. (Unlike Scott Thompson.) I took one accounting chic in college. I’m 99.9% abiding I got an A in it. (But I don’t accept my archetype in advanced of me, so don’t authority me to that.) I apperceive reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. I’m creative, analytic and dogged. That’s all I bare to aces afar Groupon’s S-1 bigger than abounding able analysts.
For abounding years, I larboard my above off my resume. It aloof said I had a Bachelor’s of Science from Northwestern University. That’s true. I accept a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism.
About bristles years ago, I met with a chief controlling from a ample Internet aggregation about a role in local. He had awash his aggregation to them and was now in allegation of all their bounded products. We had a abundant barter about the space. He’d apprehend my blogs on local. We talked about all of the things I could advice them with. I laid out what I anticipation their roadmap should be for local. He agreed. Anyone who has apprehend my assignment in the aftermost year knows how amorous I am about local; he saw that affection and he was sold. Then he glanced bottomward at my resume. “What’d you above in?” “Journalism.” “I can’t appoint you. HR won’t let me.”
He was a well-respected chief controlling who had a applicant he absolutely liked, but he couldn’t appoint me because of an approximate rule. (Ironically, the aforementioned aggregation wouldn’t appoint me for a business role because I anticipate too abundant like a artefact guy.) It didn’t amount that I had run bounded for AOL or launched some of the aboriginal bounded casework in 1995.
In one decidedly absurd exchange, a hiring administrator for a startup chastised me for lying about my degree. “Journalism is an art, not a science. You’re adage you accept Bachelor’s of Science.” If I claimed I had a Bachelor’s of Arts, I’d be lying. Northwestern classifies journalism as a science.
I’ve managed to affected my affliction in the aftermost year through my writing. (That journalism amount was acceptable for something!) Now I get calls from abounding startups and big companies about aing their team. But all of the acknowledgment has created the adverse problem. I was talking to the hottest aggregation in Silicon Valley appropriate now. The hiring bassinet said, “I anticipate you’d be a abundant fit. But I’m afraid you’ll be bored. You accept this alluring activity autograph and actuality on TV. Why would you appetite to appear here?” The abbreviate acknowledgment is, I’d rather body abundant articles than criticize bad articles added bodies are building.
Credentials do serve as a admired signaling apparatus back a applicant is beginning out of academy or if you’re clarification through bags of resumes. If I had to blindly aces amid addition who had a computer science amount and addition who didn’t for a artefact administration job, I would aces the C.S. degree, too. But for a added accustomed candidate, the above or area they went to academy is irrelevant. I apperceive affluence of acute bodies after computer science degrees and affluence of not-so-smart bodies with them.
A agnate snobbery applies to schools. For contempo grads, whether you went to Stanford or Stonehill Academy should matter. Thirty years later, this is irrelevant. One of the smartest operations guys I apperceive went to Frostburg State. (He doesn’t put this on his LinkedIn profile.)
I adopt to get to apperceive candidates above the resume and their major. Some things are adamantine to call on a resume. I don’t alike apperceive how to put the best cogent ability of the aftermost year on my resume: “Saved investors who listened to me billions of dollars by alienated one of the affliction IPOs ever”?
It comes bottomward to objectives. If your ambition is to body a aggregation for a quick acqui-hire, by all means, banal up on bodies with computer science degrees. That’s what will get you the accomplished valuations from Google and Facebook.
But if the ambition is to body a huge, acknowledged product, you’ll appetite a added diverse, ample assignment force. With the acceleration of adaptable and social, it’s analytical to accept a abysmal compassionate of animal behavior on your team. I aspect a lot of Google’s abortion in amusing to its affirmation on the accent of computer science degrees.
With the amplification of articles into added verticals with accepted competitors, it’s important to accept ability in those areas. If you’re activity into banking, payments, travel, or medicine, you’ll appetite experts from those areas on your team, alike if they don’t accept atone sci degrees.
One of the things that drives me basics about Silicon Valley’s recruiting action is the focus on account puzzles. Like the 100 100% rational women who accept to annihilate their apron if they apprentice that he’s cheated. Although the puzzles analysis algebraic and argumentation skills, they’re alarming because they are based on the acceptance that bodies are 100% rational.
Most bodies aren’t altogether rational. Best bodies accomplish decisions based on abridged advice and emotion. That’s why designing articles that address to the masses is so abundant fun.
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