How Non-Technical College Majors Can Land Meaningful Jobs in Tech

One of the top questions I get from students is how they can get an entry level job or internship in tech despite not having a computer science degree. My answer? Data doesn’t lie and WayUp’s hiring stats conclusively show that 88% of students looking for startup and tech jobs on WayUp come from non-technical majors. This doesn’t surprise me, and I’m betting it doesn’t surprise you either. Having worked as a recruiter at RBC and again at Venmo (a startup acquired by PayPal), I’ve learned that these coveted jobs are often snatched up by students who embrace their inexperience, and hiring managers use students’ aptitude and attitude more than their major to determine fit.

As career services professionals, we can help our students prepare for jobs that are seemingly out of reach in several ways.

Get involved with student organizations
There are thousands of campus-based technology and entrepreneurial clubs across the country. In fact, most employers connect directly with these clubs as part of their campus recruitment approach. So, it’s imperative that you encourage your students to get involved. Not only will they learn about the hundreds of different roles at various technology companies, they will have exclusive access to network with peers, alumni and employers throughout the industry. Make sure students don’t forget to highlight this experience on their resumes as well. It is one of the key factors recruiters will be looking for when evaluating genuine curiosity about the tech industry.

Display that startup mentality
One of the many exciting things about working at a startup is that you’re often responsible for a large set of varied tasks at an early point in your career. To thrive in this environment, having a positive attitude and being a team player are key. Recruiters love to see ways in which students previously excelled while working with a team and also showed humility by volunteering to pitch in on tasks both big and small. Students should be prepared to talk through real examples of times they’ve displayed these skills – in group projects, on sports teams, in clubs, at work; whatever makes sense for them.

Supplement class and work experience with personal projects
While it’s great for a student to highlight relevant coursework or mandatory class projects on their resume, recruiters like to dig deeper to see what interests and projects a student’s pursued on his or her own time. For example, did he or she help build an app for their student organization? Did he or she work with a team at a hackathon? Be sure to encourage your students not only to participate in these activities, but also to include detailed descriptions in their resumes and online profiles. These experiences are tremendously important to startup recruiters, as they show curiosity and often illustrate teamwork skills in a lean, startup-like environment.

Research the company and don’t be afraid to show that knowledge off
I’ve seen students time and time again lose out on an opportunity because they did not spend time researching the company, understanding the role and learning about the culture. Each hire at a startup is vital to the organization’s overall success, and as such, recruiters take product passion and culture fit extremely seriously. Students shouldn’t be afraid to show off their passion for a company, and the interesting things they’ve learned during their research – recruiters love to hear and share personal accounts of why their company is great! Make sure your students know that this research is good for them too – interviews are a two way street, and they should be sure they’re joining a company they feel passionately about as well.

At WayUp, we’re working with thousands of tech companies and startups across the nation to hire amazing students of all backgrounds for both full-time roles and internships right nowSales Development Rep at Grovo, Press/Communications Intern at Genius and Content Marketing Intern at NexTravel are just some of the jobs we have on WayUp. With your help, students across all majors will be landing their dream jobs at awesome startups in no time!

Liane Hajduch, Head of University Partnerships

Liane has over 5 years of campus recruitment management experience - she hired, trained, mentored and developed hundreds of top candidates in both technology (Venmo/PayPal) and financial services (RBC Capital Markets, Moelis & Company). At WayUp, she partners with career services professionals across the nation to work together to help students find meaningful jobs and internships.