The elimination of four-year college degree requirements for thousands of state government jobs in three states opens technology employment opportunities for people previously shut out of this workforce, according to CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro recently signed an executive order abolishing a college degree requirement for most state government positions. Governors in Maryland and Utah had previously taken similar actions, as have a growing number of private sector employers.

“We believe there exist no entry level jobs in the economy which require four years of college study. The tech sector is no exception,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA. “We can put people to work based on the talents they have, the potential they demonstrate and the on-the-job skills they develop."

“CompTIA applauds the positive steps to expand and diversify their workforces taken by Governor Shapiro, Governor Spencer Cox of Utah and former Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland,” Thibodeaux continued. “It’s a step that we strongly encourage other states to take.”

The over reliance on academic degrees by employers is a significant factor in the “over-spec’ing” of job requirements for technology positions. CompTIA research has found that a notable segment of HR professionals is unaware of the concept of overspec’ing when creating job postings. 

In 2022, 61% of all employer job postings for tech positions nationally listed a four-year degree or higher as a requirement. In Pennsylvania, a degree was required in 62% of postings for tech jobs, in Utah, 59%; and in Maryland, 69%.

While HR professionals and hiring managers may see little downside in asking for extensive skills, experience and qualifications, this practice has a clear negative impact on potential candidates for technology jobs, especially at a time when the national tech unemployment rate is at 1.5%. Among recent job seekers considering a career change into a technology role, 56% reported a “confidence gap” about their ability to work in tech. 

CompTIA (The Computing Technology Industry Association) advocates for the global technology ecosystem. The IT trade association non-profit has an ongoing commitment to building a robust and diverse tech workforce around the world. CompTIA offers education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research.

Headquartered in the Chicago area, CompTIA acquired Pleasant Grove, Utah-based TestOut in January 2023.

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