Obama on TechHire Initiative: If you can do the job, you should get the job

By Shawn Knight
Mar 10, 2015
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  1. obama president obama technology barack obama initiative jobs president tech hiring

    President Obama recently introduced an initiative designed to help fill the 500,000 vacant jobs In America that require tech skills. Known as the TechHire Initiative, it aims to convince corporate America that a traditional four-year degree in computer science shouldn’t be a prerequisite to hiring individuals with IT expertise.

    Obama said that it turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing it. If you can do the job, you should get the job.

    It’s a common sense concept but for anyone that has ever tried to get a job in a field that doesn’t match their degree, it can certainly be an uphill battle. Much like using a simple credit score to determine loan worthiness, looking only at a college degree (or lack of one) is a stubborn and lazy way to go about hiring.

    Part of the initiative is to develop a standard tech aptitude test that’ll be free for employers and non-traditional training centers with the hopes of making it easier for companies – especially those that aren’t necessarily related to IT like healthcare or financial services – to hire IT professionals. After all, two-third of the open tech jobs are in non-IT fields.

    It’s a group effort that involves local governments as well as private companies in more than 20 communities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Albuquerque and Memphis.

    The president also set aside $100 million that the Department of Labor can use to fund programs that help underrepresented groups such as minorities and veterans attain tech jobs.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    When is Obama's term up? It's about time for his vacation to be over with.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    "Much like using a simple credit score to determine loan worthiness, looking only at a college degree (or lack of one) is a stubborn and lazy way to go about hiring."

    No, actually, they aren't. Pouring over the minute details of every application for loans/high value jobs is horribly inefficient. Credit scores and degrees are used as filters to reduce time wasted evaluating applicants that are unlikely to be fit.
    MilwaukeeMike likes this.
  4. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 59   +38

    For real.... 2016 can't come any sooner. Talks about if you can do the job you should get the job.

    He clearly CAN'T DO the job and still got the job some how...
    nickc, stewi0001 and davislane1 like this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    It's interesting you say that. He gave a speech at Georgia Tech earlier today. I heard the open on the radio. Specifically, a bit where he mentioned in relation to the student who introduced him, "[...] I slack off sometimes, too." I immediately thought about a putting green.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,527   +688

    Now, now, now ..... it's not nice to be nasty to the president .... no matter how much of an empty headed numb skull he is!
  7. Is this really an issue? I know a decent number of people, and have 2nd hand knowledge of (someones friend) who have gotten IT jobs with no degree. Thing is, they knew what they were doing and had an active interest in learning the subject matter on their own. This just seems like pressuring companies to hire people who don't know the first thing about the job they would start. Sounds like it would drive down entry level salaries for tech jobs. Which is the only reason they are pushing to get people into tech jobs, because they pay very well compared to other entry level work.
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,114   +1,379

    Well, he obviously didn't mean it for himself, did he?
  9. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 633   +163

    On what is this BS everyone above me said based on exactly?

    I went to college, got my 4Y diploma just when IT started to boom, by the time I finished school all the positions were filled by people that learned to code at home and because the industry needed workers NOW.
    Not just that but when I stepped out of college I knew nothing, the stuff we were taught was based on 1980's technology by 40-50 year old lecturers and 80% of what we were taught was being phased out and useless.

    Jump forward to now, how is things any different?
    When was the last Pwn2Own contest won by some university degree holder? Last I checked every exploit and hack was done by some 16-20 year old "kid" with a hunger for knowledge and the needed drive to teach him/herself.

    +1 Obama, only close minded fools will make pathetic arguments that IT diplomas mean anything.
    Obama sets aside money to actually educate and help stimulate job growth and you complain about it? for real?!
    Jamesbrah likes this.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    Not a single person above you knocked the program. Nor did anyone state that an IT degree meant anything.

    What thread are you reading?
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 939   +244

    Actually, you certainly implied that -
    I don't have a degree, but I've got 20 years of programming experience. I also have a reputation in my area such that I could walk out of where I am currently employed, and have a job in a matter of hours, and at one company, I can only work contract because I do not have a degree. And that was part of why they lost me in the first place. They could more than happily put me on contract, but, even though I was one of their top programmers, could not hire me because I lack a four-year degree. The policy is a bunch of crap. What counted on my resume? Experience!
    Jamesbrah and lipe123 like this.
  12. Jamesbrah

    Jamesbrah TS Enthusiast Posts: 59   +11

    10/10 response.

    I had the option of going to University and taking on a 4 year course - or the option of studying for 1.5 years at a different institute.

    The outcome? I'm 24 just shy of 6 figures. If employers were anal about checking for Uni degrees - I'd have never gotten the chance I deserved.

    Plus in my experience, everything I learned and was taught probably made up 10% of my IT knowledge. The rest? Gained from experience while working.
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    Actually, I did no such thing. The author stated that degrees and credit scores are used as a lazy way to qualify loan and job applicants. This is a false statement. The implication is that he used a poor analogy and misunderstands the business purpose of the proxies.

    Providing people with skills rather than a piece of paper with an institutional seal on it is something I fully endorse. Degrees, IMHO, are not worth the price of admission, nor are they consistent in properly identifying talent. But the truthfulness of that no more warrants letting a careless statement go unnoted than a perfectly cooked burger warrants letting go the inappropriate use of custard on the bun.
  14. Adam1

    Adam1 TS Rookie Posts: 28

    You learn much more than coding for a cs degree. How will somebody without a degree get a job that requires knowledge of physics and or high level math in the programming, or how the software development lifecycle works.
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    The exact same way someone with a degree knows them: studying the relevant material.

    A degree is proof of having taken and passed a battery of classes. It is not a requisite for knowledge.
  16. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,937   +157

    Left vs Right! Damn if you do and damned if you don't politics! Yeah your all so clever parroting your local tv stations.

    Say the right or left politicians name is X, here is the response from the opposing party. No matter his decision the other side complains.

    X bombed them, warmonger! X didn't bomb them, hes weak!

    Forever divided by ignorance.
  17. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,144   +486

    Mr Presidantae doesn't seem to understand that the real issue is the interview process. Of course I believe in that if someone can do the job then they should get the job. But how are you suppose to determine if someone can do the job in a short time span.

    Of course the next issue is that you may have multiple people that can "do the job" but if you are a hiring manager, you are going to pick the people that you feel will do the best and fit the best into your company's business environment.

    Ultimately, it comes down to how well people sell themselves and that is what he should be helping with, if he would use uncommon sense (formally know as common sense.)
  18. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,349   +1,945

    You guys live in the wrong country. If you want a degree, why put in the hard yards? You can buy one from the vendor at the traffic lights for $150. Looks genuine, guaranteed to get you a good position or your money back. :p
    OK maybe that was a bit far fetched but not entirely false. Take our president for example, a grade 8 education and a prison sentence of 25 years got him the job... The CEO of our national broadcaster (Yes, I know, stop snickering) was caught out with a false masters degree, and only a grade 8 education as well. And you have the cheek to complain about your president... You just don't know when you've got it good.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  19. A degree does not dictate how intelligent you are. It does not dictate how driven you are.

    Learning the rules of the english language does not dictate how well you can write code.

    A degree in some cases is just a test. nothing more than a test.
    davislane1 likes this.
  20. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    Like Obama, it sounds like you have no real experience with hiring and/or managing. As DavisLane pointed out, you need degrees to filter people out and make the process efficient. But even more than that, you need something to cover your backside. When you hire someone you are vouching for them. When that person succeeds you look smart, when they fail you look bad for choosing them. Imagine if someone with a 'real hunger for knowledge' and no degree is chosen over someone who looks great on paper AND can code well. How will that manager justify that decision later if either of them fail?

    Hiring someone is a risk, and a degree helps hedge that a little. Obama wouldn't know this, he's never so much as run a lemonade stand before becoming pres. College is as much about proving you can actually get a degree as it is about learning on the job skills. I completely understand why employers are leery of applicants without degrees in fields that normally require them.

    Good for you, honestly. But you're one person, and if they did a commercial about you they'd put the same disclaimer at the bottom the screen they use for wait loss drugs. 'Results not typical.' A sample size of 1 does not make a trend and it definitely shouldn't drive decision making.
    davislane1 likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 908   +245

    Well none of it is fool proof... I've seen techies come in with big university degrees only to find out they don't know squat an have no real world experience. I've seen them come in with no degree but just have a knack for it and move up in the company. As many have said the interview can reveal the truth if the process is thorough enough.

    Honestly this sounds like a waste of money to me, which is typical of government spending.
  22. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 939   +244

    Even more than that, I live near and have attended a school that is frequently in the top 20 in the us. I also know people who have attended and gotten a degree from that same school in the recent past. That school grades on a curve. So, if the top score in a class on an exam is 25/100, the person who got that score gets an A on that exam, and the others who scored less than that, get the appropriate grade according to their score. In my opinion, that method of grading has little meaning other than the fact that the students are going to get a degree for their money.

    OK, so my example is perhaps an extreme example, however, there are other top institutions out there that do exactly the same thing.

    How did I get my jobs? By the questions I asked in interviews and I got my first "break" by telling my supervisor while working in a data entry job of pertinent experience in electronics that I had gained in my hobbies and by him taking a chance on me.
    I stand corrected.
  23. liamwbently

    liamwbently TS Rookie

    Couldn't agree more. Up until recently our company had the same kind of hiring criteria. The problem is that in spite of the degrees, college graduates don't bring anything extra to the table and new graduates mostly can't tie their shoes without help. Companies are about money, and money can't be made without people who know their ****. Self thought programmers tend to have better critical thinking skills and they are better at problem solving and are more creative in general. The problem is that while more and more companies realize this, they are doing it for other reasons. Programmers without a computer science degree can be hired for far less then their counterparts. That's what it always boils down to. Money! Use, abuse, and exploit! The way of American capitalism that eats itself from the inside out. Either way, jobs are about qualifications not useless degrees. If college degrees really mattered in America, 47-52% of the population wouldn't believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Most people only go to college because they have been told that it will help them lend a cushy job. In our current economy however that is no longer the case.

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