Half of new Apple's US hires in 2018 lacked 4-year college degrees, Cook says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 6
During Wednesday's American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed some 50 percent of the tech giant's U.S. hires lacked a formal four-year college degree, using the figure as a plinth for smart education reform.

Cook education


The statistic was divulged as part of Cook's introductory remarks, which were aired live on CNBC. Cook, who sat next to President Donald Trump at the meeting, opened the gathering with a brief synopsis of Apple's views on education.

"For our company, as you know, was founded by [a] college dropout, so we never really thought that [a] college degree was the thing you had to have to do well, we always tried to expand our horizons," Cook said. "To that degree, about half of our U.S. employment last year were people that did not have a four-year degree. And we're very proud of that."

Cook did not elaborate on whether the 50 percent figure encompasses both corporate and retail sector hires, but it can be assumed U.S. Apple Store staff are included in the number. Apple owns and operates more than 270 first-party outlets across the country, with employees ranging from sales specialists to managers and Genius Bar staff.

The Apple chief went on to tout the company's educational initiative, saying he believes computer coding skills will be a highly desired asset for future job seekers. In particular, Apple and other tech companies will see an increasing need for talented coders in the coming years, Cook said.

"So to that end, as we've looked at the mismatch between the skills that are coming out of colleges, and what the skills are that we believe we need in the future -- many businesses do -- we've identified coding as a very key one," he said. "We believe very strongly that it should be a requirement in the United States for every kid to have coding before the graduate K-12, and be somewhat proficient at it."

That refrain has been heard many times before, mostly from Cook, as Apple jockeys for a slice of the education market.

Cook detailed Apple's own coding curriculum, Everyone Can Code, which is offered to schools across the U.S. The program has been accepted by 4,000 schools and 80 community colleges, Cook said.

Apple's push into the classroom leans heavily on its proprietary Swift coding language, used to develop apps and software for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Students are offered specialized learning tools like Swift Playgrounds, as well as dedicated hardware like iPad, Apple Pencil and Apple TV. While Apple's previous educational efforts revolved around Mac, the company over the past few years has concentrated on an iPad-based curriculum, rolling out tools like class management apps Classroom, Schoolwork and the ClassKit API.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    netroxnetrox Posts: 745member
    I don't have college education and I work as a software engineer for the past 20 years. I am not sure college would make any meaningful difference for me. College makes sense for certain fields but for occupations where college is not required, college is not necessarily the best path.
    MisterKitfastbaggerdysamoriaSpamSandwichshamino
  • Reply 2 of 27
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,153member
    So Apple Retail is hiring!
  • Reply 3 of 27
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 375member
    College's purpose is not job training, and it shouldn't be. On the other hand, I'm not sure colleges are meeting Jefferson's ideal but it's questionable if the lack of such education is not ultimately harmful. 

    1818 August 4. "The objects of this primary eduction [university education] determine its character and limits. These objects are To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgement; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether privet or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration...and the outlines of geography and history." Thomas Jefferson. 

    CurtisHight
  • Reply 4 of 27
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 263member
    There are many areas where being good at what you do is more important than a diploma.
    fastbaggerdysamoriashamino
  • Reply 5 of 27
    danoxdanox Posts: 387member
    I work as a designer of fire sprinkler systems for commercial buildings pays very well, four degree no, the four year schools doesn't deem it worthwhile to teach it all on the job training, all you need is Autocad, Revit, Navis, and Bluebeam ability to get in. The same is true for hvac, Plumbing, and electrical detailers (note the jobs aren't exactly the same knowledge wise but are similar in the fact that four schools can't be bothered to teach it). Many other jobs are the same. In programing if you start early jr. high school by time you get out of high school (if you get good at it) you can get work almost anywhere where there is a niche (shortage of talent). Fire Sprinkler Design is such a field.
    edited March 6 lostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 27
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,282member
    danox said:
    I work as a designer of fire sprinkler systems for commercial buildings pays very well, four degree no, the four year schools doesn't deem it worthwhile to teach it all on the job training, all you need is Autocad, Revit, Navis, and Bluebeam ability to get in. The same is true for hvac, Plumbing, and electrical detailers (note the jobs aren't exactly the same knowledge wise but are similar in the fact that four schools can't be bothered to teach it). Many other jobs are the same. In programing if you start early jr. high school by time you get out of high school (if you get good at it) you can get work almost anywhere where there is a niche (shortage of talent). Fire Sprinkler Design is such a field.

    Of course Universities don't teach trades. Everything you listed is a trade skill. Learning programming is a trade skill. Getting educated in Engineering say Mechanical or Computer Science you go way beyond ``Autocad and assembly designing an HVAC system,'' to writing data structures, etc. You want to do more than a trade or a service skill coder you most certainly need an applied sciences field degree.

    There is a reason the creator of Clang has a Ph.D., in Computer Science, the designer of a Boeing 787 dreamliner [not the CAD tech] but the engineers who stress test the designs with FEA/CFD, etc., all have B.S. or greater in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

    Tim Cook is dead wrong on this ``everyone in K-12 needs some programming background.''

    A K-12 student is far better off being fluent in 3 or more Human Written/Spoken Languages.
    gatorguytoysandmelmac
  • Reply 7 of 27
    1st1st Posts: 374member
    it is a new trend - IBM last year posted jobs for high school grad. I guess the true north brain chip software just too new... It is a problem of high education system, fall far behind than the future tech needs. However, I have to give stanford for their excellent course on swift (check youtube if you wish). Although I agree 4 years college would be a benefit IF IT provide the good solid basic training, but currently, it is far from it - prof attention are in search for research funding (japan program is much better), rather than teaching - many courses are taught by TAs (if not 2nd language speaking TAs - you consider yourself very lucky), not like 30-40 years ago, courses were taught by famous profs. In addition, some of the hands on experiement were replaced by media or simulation, resulted generation of many "hands free" engineers that afraid of mixing chemicals, fail to repair equipement, etc. post great danger to co-workers when those chaps join the workforce... Good for Tim Apple ;-). disclosure, I do benefit from the degree system that help me great deal on my career... but that is way back in the "dragon teeth" years. I consider myself lucky.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 215member
    Nowadays, education outside the STEM fields is often not an asset but a handicap:
    Modern Educayshun education

    https://youtu.be/iKcWu0tsiZM


  • Reply 9 of 27
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    netrox said:
    I don't have college education and I work as a software engineer for the past 20 years. I am not sure college would make any meaningful difference for me. College makes sense for certain fields but for occupations where college is not required, college is not necessarily the best path.
    Degree is used to measure your capabilities. If you continue to do the same thing job after job, no degree is needed especially in computer fields where you can learn most stuffs online. However, when you go into science field , without a degree, you’re spending your entire life as a technician doing shit works for others. In other words, you’re their bitch!
    Carnage
  • Reply 10 of 27
    clexmanclexman Posts: 148member
    I heard the largest retailer in the world, Walmart, mostly hires people without a degree. They are a a plinth for smart education reform too.
    Carnagelmac
  • Reply 11 of 27
    mp2000mp2000 Posts: 2member
    i call bs ...

    steve didn’t code ...

    i suspect tim can’t either ...

    former apple and newton employee ... who can code (if not particularly well) ... 

    noticing you can’t appear to even get an epm job at apple any longer without being a coder ...

    coding is only a part of what apple does ... 

    some of the best employees i know coded not at all ... 

    tim is wrong on this one and i suspect reflects some deeper insight flaw and insecurity ... 
    edited March 7
  • Reply 12 of 27
    mp2000 said:
    i call bs ...

    steve didn’t code ...

    i suspect tim can’t either ...

    former apple and newton employee ... who can code (if not particularly well) ... 

    noticing you can’t appear to even get an epm job at apple any longer without being a coder ...

    coding is only a part of what apple does ... 

    some of the best employees i know coded not at all ... 

    tim is wrong on this one and i suspect reflects some deeper insight flaw and insecurity ... 
    Tim can code.

    Sure, not everyone at Apple needs to code, but Apple anticipates a future shortage, and they think it’s important to address that by having the appropriate education programs. 

    btw I hope your degree isn’t in psychology, your insight about a “deeper insight flaw and insecurity” seems to be flawed. 

    edited March 7 Hi.Jack
  • Reply 13 of 27
    I was given an aptitude test when going through a hiring process for a Software Engineer around 1998. It came out that I was totally unsuited to be a programmer. By then I'd been writing software for more than 25 years and recently retired after 45 years in the game.
    I didn't get the job so I started my own business writing software and when that company wanted to license the product I said 'Yeah but to you, the price is double'. They still bought but the purchasing manager responded with a wry smile when I told him why.

    Getting a Degree (I now have one. Graduated in 2008) is just putting a label on people. For many that is a good thing but for others, the last thing they want is to be labelled a failure because they don't want to follow the corporate treadmill. I never hired people solely on their paper qualifications. It was how their mind worked that was more important to me. Could the think outside the box? Come up with creating solutions to problems? etc etc.
    If they could, then they were hired.
    When I sold my company my staff were a real buch of misfits or that's how they seemed to outsiders. But they were a great team who worked really well together and all got a good share of the sale proceeds. Several stayed working together and do even today and are their own bosses.
    Hire the people who can do the job the best even if they have no degree. Labels don't mean much. It is what is underneath that matters.
    Carnagedysamoria
  • Reply 14 of 27
    CarnageCarnage Posts: 62member
    I was given an aptitude test when going through a hiring process for a Software Engineer around 1998. It came out that I was totally unsuited to be a programmer. By then I'd been writing software for more than 25 years and recently retired after 45 years in the game.
    I didn't get the job so I started my own business writing software and when that company wanted to license the product I said 'Yeah but to you, the price is double'. They still bought but the purchasing manager responded with a wry smile when I told him why.

    Getting a Degree (I now have one. Graduated in 2008) is just putting a label on people. For many that is a good thing but for others, the last thing they want is to be labelled a failure because they don't want to follow the corporate treadmill. I never hired people solely on their paper qualifications. It was how their mind worked that was more important to me. Could the think outside the box? Come up with creating solutions to problems? etc etc.
    If they could, then they were hired.
    When I sold my company my staff were a real buch of misfits or that's how they seemed to outsiders. But they were a great team who worked really well together and all got a good share of the sale proceeds. Several stayed working together and do even today and are their own bosses.
    Hire the people who can do the job the best even if they have no degree. Labels don't mean much. It is what is underneath that matters.

    Why did you still get a degree if I may ask? You obviously didn't need it anymore.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 15 of 27
    mp2000mp2000 Posts: 2member
    mp2000 said:
    i call bs ...

    steve didn’t code ...

    i suspect tim can’t either ...

    former apple and newton employee ... who can code (if not particularly well) ... 

    noticing you can’t appear to even get an epm job at apple any longer without being a coder ...

    coding is only a part of what apple does ... 

    some of the best employees i know coded not at all ... 

    tim is wrong on this one and i suspect reflects some deeper insight flaw and insecurity ... 
    Tim can code.

    Sure, not everyone at Apple needs to code, but Apple anticipates a future shortage, and they think it’s important to address that by having the appropriate education programs. 

    btw I hope your degree isn’t in psychology, your insight about a “deeper insight flaw and insecurity” seems to be flawed. 

     "We believe very strongly that it should be a requirement in the United States for every kid to have coding before the graduate K-12, and be somewhat proficient at it." 

    every kid required ??

    no, i still say bs ... 

    it’s worse than an insight flaw ... 

    it’s myopic, in poor taste ... and even offensive ... 

    for one of the nation’s richest and most powerful men to advocate that every kid should  be *required* to learn how to program a machine ... and be *somewhat proficient* at it ... because his company and vehicle for personal advancement requires it ... 

    need i point out that apple strongly prefers that learned language be swift ?

    think of all the kids who will hate coding (there are plenty) ... 

    kids who like it even love it will pick it up easy ... . it’s not like it’s hard or there is a significant  barrier to entry ...

     i couldn’t care less about apple’s future industry specific labor needs ... nor do i think should public civic institutions i fund with my tax dollars be explicitly subsidizing them ... 

    there is much more to life than what the world’s largest corporations require of us ... and our kids ... who increasingly need an ‘education’ in the broadest sense ... we need to teach them that and the importance of lifting their eyes and minds away from their screens rather than to *require* them all to *somewhat proficiently* immerse themselves even further in for what is for most a meaningless minutiae ...

    ‘poison’.... you can keep advocating for tim apple ... there is after all no shortage of people willing to shill for the obvious path ...  you fit right in ... 

    but maybe try to think different dude ...  if you can ... 

    it’s not hard ... no classes required ... 

    you just gotta like it ... and you’ll pick it up ...

    or you won’t ...




    edited March 7
  • Reply 16 of 27
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,099member
    This is not an either-or argument, but rather one of getting the right mix of people with varying backgrounds, perspectives, and bodies of knowledge assembled into a highly functional team to tackle the problems faced by the business. I've always viewed education, whether knowledge-based or vocational, not only as a means of exposing people to concepts and techniques for solving real world problems, but also as a way to learn how to learn.

    A huge part of learning is developing your own approaches and techniques for problem solving. To do this you have to draw upon knowledge from many sources, techniques (like coding, troubleshooting, breaking down difficult problems into resolvable smaller ones), and applying the right mix of skills and knowledge to the problems at hand. In most technical endeavors, and especially those involving complex systems (including natural ones liek the human body), you will absolutely find yourself in a deficit situation and will have to learn and discover more than you currently know to move forward. No matter whether you graduated with a PhD from MIT or from a coding bootcamp, you will constantly be stepping beyond your currently-held core of knowledge and utility belt full of tricks and techniques to solve the next big problem that you are faced with. So to Tim's point, getting people on your team who can constantly make the transition from what they know and can do today to what they know and can do tomorrow is the most essential quality for a new hire.  

    However, while the ability to constantly learn over one's career is a required quality, there is still is a need for employees who are starting out at many different levels of knowledge and skills. There will always be a core set of knowledge and skills required to start out, for example, as a true engineer (not just an engineer in job title), physician, physicist, financial analyst, accountant, programmer, welder, electronics technician, HVAC mechanic, etc. Whether universities and training programs are optimized to produce people ready to start on the paths that lead to careers in fields that require a constant influx of people just starting out is questionable. A large component of the university system is geared around the profitability and embellishment of their own business and not the improvement of society and serving the greater industrial machine that keeps people employed. 

     
    Hi.JackcgWerks
  • Reply 17 of 27
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,216member
    Is he seriously promoting the idea of requiring EVERY student to have proficiency in programming? It’s not a basic life skill (and there are plenty of those currently lacking as required school programs, like critical thinking skills). We can’t even get people to graduate with a basic level of science comprehension, but we’re supposed to push for programming skills? What language? Oh, Apple’s choice. Sure sure. 

    What about all the people with learning disabilities like dyscalculia? Are they also to be required some arbitrary level of “coding ability” in order to graduate?

     Ludicrous.

    ”Tim can code”. Oh? More info, please. The way Apple has been going, I get the impression that decision makers at Apple aren’t even using their product, let alone actually being technical people. They certainly aren’t spending any time editing text in text edit boxes on forums and comment fields in Safari, what with all the usability bugs popping out of every orifice.

     But then again maybe that DOES indicate technical people... the kind who don’t care about “every little bug” being fixed any time soon (bugs created by iOS 7; getting worse and not being fixed). Is Tim responsible for the text edit field handling in Safari? :-D

    I’m with the group here on not seeing college degrees as necessary. Due to unacknowledged learning disabilities, and the fact that binge & purge is not only bad education but also something I cannot do to perform on testing, school was an abysmal experience for me. I got a certificate in photography and digital imaging, but my advertising design program killed my interests in the arts (never compromise your life direction for someone else’s idea of what’s practical; if you don’t fit in a square slot, don’t subject yourself to it).

    No four year degree doesn’t mean I’m anti-intellectual. In fact, I’m plenty targeted for abuse by anti-intellectuals... who graduated college with four-year degrees, and who think having a college-level vocabulary is somehow uncool because “this is Facebook. I graduated college already. I don’t need to talk like I’m still in school”. And no, this was not “just some millennial kid”. This was someone just slightly older than me who went to the same high school. I weep for intellect in this country.

    Degrees aren’t important. Knowledge and maturity are. It’s not about test scores. It’s about being willing to seek knowledge, and having a willingness to override your preferred beliefs with demonstrable facts.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    Hi.JackHi.Jack Posts: 3member
    Apple is a contradiction in terms. Running a super capitalistic company on socialism values. This started way back when Jobs exploited Wozniac’s goodwill and skill.

    College and or Uni degrees are for the insecure, or well funded, otherwise it’s a dead loss investment for most. In the case of Apple, if you are highly intelligent, a degree will not help you, but it opens doors, or so we hope.

    More to the point though, I think Tim Apple would have added more value, by offering internships, and as a second phase, creating a curriculum for vocational training at certain schools.

    That would add value to the US economy in real terms.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    Hi.JackHi.Jack Posts: 3member
    dewme said:
    This is not an either-or argument, . 

     
    A great mini dissertation, and a nice read. Thank you I enjoyed it.

    The question though, is how can Apple better serve the American people - if that is what the meeting was all about?

    I simplify my view by which is the better option:
    1. Owning Apple stock
    2. Owning the devices
    3. Employed by Apple
  • Reply 20 of 27
    65026502 Posts: 255member
    danox said:
    I work as a designer of fire sprinkler systems for commercial buildings pays very well, four degree no, the four year schools doesn't deem it worthwhile to teach it all on the job training, all you need is Autocad, Revit, Navis, and Bluebeam ability to get in. The same is true for hvac, Plumbing, and electrical detailers (note the jobs aren't exactly the same knowledge wise but are similar in the fact that four schools can't be bothered to teach it). Many other jobs are the same. In programing if you start early jr. high school by time you get out of high school (if you get good at it) you can get work almost anywhere where there is a niche (shortage of talent). Fire Sprinkler Design is such a field.

    A K-12 student is far better off being fluent in 3 or more Human Written/Spoken Languages.
    All you need to know is English; the world runs on English. Every scientific conference I've gone to (domestic and international) was conduced only in English. Every business meeting I've had was conducted in English, including with companies in Europe, China, Japan, Mexico, Israel and India. Most multi linguists get boring jobs such as translators, tour guides and passenger directors on cruise ships.
Sign In or Register to comment.