How to Find Tech Job Openings Without Degree Requirements

By Ludo Fourrage

Last Updated: January 13th 2023

Nucamp partners with Opportunity@Work the provider of Stellarworx, a platform to find tech jobs without traditional degree requirements

Nucamp’s newest partner brings a great resource to our graduates.

On episode #35 of Campfire, I met with Opportunity@Work Customer Sales Associate, Lio Vega, to speak about the new partnership.

Who is Opportunity@Work and what is the Stellarworx platform exactly?

Opportunity@Work’s mission is to rewire the labor market.

Their primary focus is on individuals they have coined as STARs (those Skilled Through Alternative Routes, do not have a 4-year degree, and are typically over the age of 25*).
*those younger are considered a rising STAR

STARs, such as Nucamp’s graduates, are historically overlooked when it comes to a lot of traditional job opportunities since most do not have 4-year degrees.

Opportunity@Work works with various employers across the country to remove degree requirements from job postings to give an equal playing field to STARs that are applying.

They do not want a degree to be the one disqualifier for applicants when they have the knowledge and transferable skills from previous roles to knock a job out of the park.

Opportunity@Work believes there is no reason why qualified STARs shouldn’t be entitled to the same role and pay as someone with a degree.

Opportunity@Work was co-founded by Byron Auguste in 2015.

Byron has a strong foundation in politics, specifically with the desire to change policies that should be trickling down to create the level of change needed in organizations toward overlooked communities.

The driving factor for Byron creating the organization was seeing there was a systematic difference in those affected by degree requirements.

How do I use Stellarworx?

You can log into Stellarworx as a Nucamp graduate after receiving an official invite; currently, it is invite-only.

Every job posting on Stellarworx’s is focused on your experience and skills.

Each skill you add to your profile gets attributed to you and varied from the courses you've taken.

Also, when you're applying for roles on Stellaworx you'll see a match score that compares the skills that you have in your profile with the skills that the employers are asking for in the roles they post.

Give us a little background on yourself Lio, and why are you passionate about your work?

Lio has been giving back and helping others since the start of his career.

On paper, Lio is a college dropout but completed a work-intensive program at Year Up and became a STAR himself.

“I am extremely passionate about the notion of giving folks a fair shot for the work they put into something.
I'm far from the individual that's going to sit there and be anti-college. If you have a four-year degree, Stellarworx is not for you, but good on you. You have an opportunity that a lot of individuals may not necessarily have so implicitly. I am here to help the people who college isn't for. Not everybody wants to go through four years of college. Not everybody has an industry that they're interested in where a four-year degree may even be particularly useful.
A big reason for my passion and finding my role at Opportunity@Work is because I myself am a STAR. I want to make sure people aren't going through the same thing that I went through for 10 years trying to get roles that they have absolutely no business being denied for, simply because they don’t have a 4-year degree.”

Where are we on the journey of transforming how people look at college dropouts or look at those who have chosen a different educational path?

“We’ve made a lot more headway compared to 20 years ago. I think we are in such a better place because even the term STARs is something that has been catching on. It's a phrase I hadn’t heard before working here but now, I've seen it used casually on LinkedIn with people connected with our organization.”

Opportunity@Work has impactful partners looking to hire talent: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cognizant Foundation, Comcast, Google, the Center for Inclusive Growth, Microsoft, Walmart, and WorkRise.

These heavy-hitting partners are paving the way for all other organizations in the US to remove degree requirements as well.

What about those who have 4-year degrees in a non-related field?

You may not qualify as a STAR, but you have many transferable skills from earning a 4-year degree, even if you studied a field unrelated to tech.

A lot of job openings ask for a 4-year degree and are not degree specific.

Having a 4-year degree can show your dedication and discipline to sit through a rigorous program.

Don’t view having a 4-year degree in an unrelated field as a handicap.

Being ineligible for STAR-type programs or not having a degree in your desired field, you can still present yourself as having desirable value.

Should I apply to jobs that require 2 years of experience even if I don’t have experience?

Aspiring developers and people who just graduated can be intimidated by the experience requirements for junior positions.

How do you handle all the job postings that fit you perfectly besides asking for experience you don’t have?

APPLY! Always apply.

Apply for roles you can execute even if it asks for a four-year degree or experience you don’t have.

The key to overcoming the barrier to entry is networking.

If you are applying for a job, knowing something on paper can disqualify you, find out how you can reach out to the hiring team.

Whether it’s messaging HR, the recruiter, or the hiring manager—connect with somebody.

You can reach out on LinkedIn and say, “I just applied for this role and I want to set up some time to talk about it a little.”

Make your name known enough so the chances are in your favor.

Being top of mind and showing your initiative can get you into the interview process even though you may not have the core requirements if you made a point of reaching out.

If a role asks for two years of software development experience that you don’t have, think about your transferable skills.

Do you have two years of experience on a team?

How about having experience building another type of product (even if it isn't software)?

Speaking to transferable skills that are applicable to the job opening is key.

You may not have been using a coding language like JavaScript, but you may have still been building something, working on a team, or developing valuable skills.

Increase your chances of bypassing a disqualifying requirement by having a social approach and reaching out and getting in front of hiring managers.

Also, don’t limit yourself to just big or popular companies.

Look for smaller organizations or startups that are growing and hungry for talent.

“You are in a better position than you were before you started Nucamp. You're in a better position than you were 10 years ago. You are doing what you need to do for your own success. Do not forget the reason you started attending. Do not forget the drive that you have, if that's purely for money or if it's to make a better life for you and your family. Keep that driving factor in when you will reach those job placement obstacles or when it comes to the interview process, but also speak to those things when you're in those positions as well.
Make sure when you get into these positions you're also lifting while you climb: Take a look back at individuals that are also going to be graduating and give advice. Maintain an alumni network and touch base with individuals that are still in the program and mentor them. We all needed that person at some point and we're where we are today because we didn't have that person, so become the person that you needed 10 years ago.”

Watch the full Campfire episode:

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Ludo Fourrage

Founder and CEO

Ludovic (Ludo) Fourrage is an education industry veteran, named in 2017 as a Learning Technology Leader by Training Magazine. Before founding Nucamp, Ludo spent 18 years at Microsoft where he led innovation in the learning space. As the Senior Director of Digital Learning at this same company, Ludo led the development of the first of its kind 'YouTube for the Enterprise'. More recently, he delivered one of the most successful Corporate MOOC programs in partnership with top business schools and consulting organizations, i.e. INSEAD, Wharton, London Business School, and Accenture, to name a few. ​With the belief that the right education for everyone is an achievable goal, Ludo leads the nucamp team in the quest to make quality education accessible