Microsoft doesn’t require a college degree for entry-level jobs — here’s what the company looks for instead, according to execs


Microsoft doesn’t require a college degree for entry-level jobs — here’s what the company looks for instead, according to execs

Landing a job at Microsoft without a college degree is within reach — even if your name isn’t Bill Gates.

That’s because, for many entry-level positions, Microsoft doesn’t require that candidates hold a college degree, instead encouraging anyone who believes they’re a good fit to apply.

Microsoft executives spoke to Business Insider about the reasons for that practice. They said the decision not to require certain credentials for entry-level jobs allows Microsoft to recruit from a broader talent base, and ultimately builds a more diverse workforce at the company.

“If you have the same people who have the same STEM degree and same background and everything, they’re not going to be able to solve all our problems,” CVP of cybersecurity solutions Ann Johnson told Business Insider. “If you have people that come in with a lot of different backgrounds, they can actually think differently.”

Microsoft isn’t the only major tech company eschewing traditional expectations for job requirements. Google and Apple have broadcasted a similar policy of accepting job applications from anyone regardless of their educational background, as the broader tech industry grapples with combatting its chronic lack of diversity.

Here’s what executives had to say about Microsoft’s policy of accepting applications from anyone for entry-level jobs, regardless of degree.

Most entry-level jobs at Microsoft can pay anywhere from $60,000 to over $130,000, according to listings on Glassdoor.

FILE PHOTO: A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
FILE PHOTO: A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles 

Source: Glassdoor

Microsoft’s Ann Johnson, who has spoken at length about the need for a more diverse workforce, said college degrees aren’t a perfect indicator of whether a candidate will perform well in a role — instead, she encourages a focus on soft skills like teamwork and curiosity, as well as a candidate’s willingness to self-train and learn quickly.

Microsoft Campus

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Ping Look, who leads Microsoft’s cybersecurity Detection and Response Team, added that candidates who apply to jobs without a college degree already signal a level of determination that she respects.

K5 Microsoft knightscope security robot


“There are some companies like, you don’t have a degree so we’re not going to interview you for an entry-level job,” Look told Business Insider. “We give them a chance because they clearly have some tenacity or desire to be working here. It’s worth having a conversation with them.”


Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

Employees echo that sentiment — Ram Shankar Siva Kumar, a “data cowboy” working on security for Microsoft Azure, told Business Insider that workers without college degrees have strengthened his team.

Microsoft Azure


“Some people have PhDs, some people have traditional engineering degrees, some people actually have not even been to college,” he said. “This might sound very Oprah-ish, but being ‘you’ really does help.”

Source: Business Insider

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