"I don't think in the past five-plus years I've hired someone based on their education," said Jim O'Neill, CIO of inbound marketing software company HubSpot in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"It's not a direct correlation to their success here."
A person's attitude and aptitude stand out more than where they went to school, O'Neill
While academia hasn't kept pace with the rapidly changing technology industry, the entry barriers to learning hands-on, practical IT skills have been "eradicated," he
"With a credit card and 10 dollars you can buy a server at Amazon's
cloud or Google's
cloud or Rackspace's cloud," O'Neill
"There's no excuse anymore.
That's why I'm a little cynical on institutional education."
"College students shouldn't feel intimidated about going," O'Neill
Of course, having an online presence can help a graduate get noticed since "the world is digital now," O'Neill
Companies use social-media platforms, open-source code repositories and other public data sources to identify applicants and review their credentials.
"We do look at Github and actively look at people," O'Neill
recruits from hackathons and other less traditional technology events, which tend to be held in the fall or winter, O'Neill
Skilled college students who attend those events may receive an offer for a position that starts the following spring or summer.
Recent graduates should have an "awareness of the different paths you can follow within technology, none of which will paint you into a corner," Lowery said.
, whose company develops software that runs in the cloud, said the advent of SaaS has turned IT career development into choosing your own adventure.
"Companies are becoming more and more flexible in the light of the fact that managing servers is going away," he
For example, learning SaaS maintenance in a help-desk position could lead to an integration developer role combining different cloud services.
A person could then start building products internally that combine workflows across SaaS platforms.
Ultimately, a company may decide to sell some of those products, said O'Neill