Study: Schooling Is an Enormous Predictor in the Technical Interview


When you apply for an information technology job, sometimes you might feel at a disadvantage right from the start. The school’s name on your college diploma might not be as impressive as other job candidates. Unfair or not, some companies will look at candidates from those top schools first.

As fun as it would be, you can’t go back to college for four years and get a new diploma – at least not without a significant financial burden. However, as an IT job seeker, you don’t have to give in to the fact your diploma will keep you from the jobs you want.

What do you do now?

What Happens If You Didn’t Go to a Top University?’s CEO Aline Lerner used the company’s data from its practice interviews and success rate to find trends in the data that better predicted a candidate’s success rate. Candidates with degrees from top schools and greater than average experience had a higher success rate than those without that in their wheelhouse.

Surprisingly, however, the data demonstrated that candidates who had experienced coursework in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) had higher rates of success than their similarly experienced and educated compatriots. Courses with Udacity and Coursea might not help candidates with degrees from top schools, but for those who have degrees from other institutions, the courses made a huge difference in success.

These resources help you learn new programming skills. They can help you learn soft skills on a wider scale that allow you to become an impressive and attractive IT candidate. What company doesn’t want to hire an IT job candidate who has technical skills and the soft skills to relate to people inside and outside the organization?

From the study, the job seekers who enrolled in MOOCs exhibited such a large difference in performance that Lerner cited it as the single largest predictor of success. When looking at how to solve issues, job candidates with MOOC experience were more successful than job candidates who had more experience from the top schools.

What Does This Mean For You?

Get started with an MOOC! Find the technical skills you want to brush up on. Refresh your management or leadership skills. Show you care about your career and want to take initiative. As quickly as the field morphs, you’ll be staying on pace with changes as they come.

MOOCs can be a great advantage in helping your career and preparing for a job interview that features tough questions or a high-pressure whiteboard test.

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