Gone are the days when your college major dictated what you do for the rest of your career. In recognition of the value of differing perspectives, many employers now look beyond the specifics of what an applicant studied, focusing instead on the skills they sharpened while doing so. Curious about how the tech scene stacks up to this trend, we checked in with four actively hiring companies about what they like to see on a transcript. Here's what they had to say.
Founded in 2000, Codifyd delivers end-to-end e-commerce solutions through designing, implementing and maintaining product content strategies. The company provides product content services both in the B2B and the B2C space in order to improve customer experiences and increase sales and conversions.
The team at Codifyd likes applicants with a bit of humanities flair.
“At Codifyd, we value bringing together a diverse set of skills to solve our clients’ problems. We are data geeks but we're also e-commerce experts,” said Joanna Niezgoda, director of HR and operations. “So beside the standard majors such as computer sciences and engineering, we also look for candidates with backgrounds in library sciences, linguistics and academia. This is especially true for our analyst positions, as their work requires a lot of research and attention to detail.”
Jellyvision creates interactive HR software that combines humor and behavioral science to talk people through important yet snooze-inducing life decisions like retirement savings, picking health insurance and managing finances. The company’s ALEX platform is used by more than 800 companies, including 88 members of the Fortune 500.
According to SVP of People Mary Beth Wynn, Jellyvision makes a point not to get caught up on majors in making additions to the team.
“We tend not to focus specifically on majors, degrees, where you went to school or what your GPA was,” she said. “We look instead at what people show us in the cover letter they write and the work they do on the audition for the role. This helps us understand the whole person, and recruiting becomes more about the skills and characteristics candidates demonstrate in our process and less about their background.”
No matter their backgrounds, Wynn said, what her company likes to see is applicants eager to continue learning and growing as people, and who want to approach work from new and different perspectives.
Trading Technologies has been building software for professional traders for more than 22 years, counting international banks, brokers, hedge funds and proprietary traders among its customers. Human resources generalist Becca Garber said TT likes to see candidates whose transcripts reveal an interest in the industry they operate in.
“While many of our employees and interns come from a computer science background, we are always looking for candidates who have knowledge or interest in the financial industry as well, since we produce a trading platform,” said Garber. “Many candidates either have a double major or minor in business, finance or economics, and occasionally students from financial engineering programs end up at TT.”
“Another interesting degree we’ve come across has been a double major in computer science and visual arts, which is especially helpful with our design team and front-end developers,” she added.
Sprout Social builds cloud-based social media management, analytics and advocacy software for agencies and brands including Hyatt, Grubhub, Microsoft and Uber. The company was founded in Chicago in 2010, and its fast-growing team has been working relentlessly to build out its software suite ever since.
In Director of Talent Jim Conti’s view, what an applicant majored in is not the be-all and end-all.
"Experience and potential are the two things we care about the most when hiring at Sprout. A specific major is a great way to launch a career, but it isn't the only way,” Conti said. “For example, we've had some fantastic software engineers who were music majors. What's important to us is how you think and how you solve problems. That can be just as important as the coursework in which you're applying those skills."
Images via participating companies.