Computer engineering doesn’t solely have to be the purview of computer science engineers.
It didn’t appear so following the backlash against Susan Mauldin, the head of Equifax’s data security. Equifax is one of America’s three major credit card reporting agencies, and last week, hackers had managed to gain access to the sensitive information of 143 million customers. Fingers had been pointed at Mauldin following the leak — it had appeared that she only had two degrees in Music, and no formal education in computer science. People had been hinting that the lack of a proper background in tech made her unsuitable for her job, and thus contributed to the leak.
Twitter, though, was having none of it. As soon as the backlash against Mauldin began, top engineers began sharing their own educational background under the hashtag UnqualifiedForTech. And it yielded some surprising results.
This Apple engineer, for instance, said that he had no computer science degree, and had a BA in Journalism and Advertising.
I’m an Evangelist/Engineer at Apple. I’ve been paid to write code for 18 years.
I have a BA in Journalism/Advertising.#unqualifiedfortech
— Jake Behrens (@behrens) September 18, 2017
The VP of Engineering at Firefox also chimed in. He said he only had a high school diploma, and never attended college.
I was VP Engineering of Firefox (400M users) & dir of mobile eng for Facebook (1B users). I have a high-school diploma. #unqualifiedfortech
— Mike Shaver (@shaver) September 18, 2017
There were even film majors who were working in tech.
Principal engineer & architect at an awesome tech co with ~250 engineers.
I have two degrees in plant ecology.#unqualifiedfortech
— Brent Miller (@foliosus) September 17, 2017
A Microsoft Edge engineer said she had no formal degree, and was an award winning cartoonist.
I work on @MicrosoftEdge.
— Rachel Nabors (@rachelnabors) September 17, 2017
Some people were self taught.
I taught myself basics of coding and how things work on internet. Lead Fronted Dev in a startup with no degree. #unqualifiedfortech
— Anurag (@ak_8085) September 18, 2017
And some had some very interesting educational backgrounds. There was someone who’d studied religious studies.
Android Tech Lead here. Was a Religious Studies major, then a cook/chef for 12 years. #unqualifiedfortech
— Steaknap Sleepchew (@treelzebub) September 17, 2017
Someone else had degrees in Rhetoric and history.
I, too, am an SRE at a large tech company. I have *two* degrees.
…in Rhetoric and History.#unqualifiedfortech
— Chastity Blackwell (@Black_Isis) September 17, 2017
This data scientist had studied Medieval History.
— Ria Baldevia (@riabaldevia) September 19, 2017
And this devops engineer had studied philosophy.
I'm a DevOps Engineer
BA in Philosophy. Last math class was trig soph year of high school. Started in support on phones #unqualifiedfortech
— d3vOpsN00b (@D3vOpsN00b) September 19, 2017
And this cybersecurity author had studied French and German.
— Richard Bejtlich (@taosecurity) September 19, 2017
Some engineers had dropped out of college..
#unqualifiedfortech Dropout twice from University, now doing theology. 12 years as a software engineer, soon to publish a book
— Mario Arias (@dh44t) September 18, 2017
— Miguel de Icaza (@migueldeicaza) September 17, 2017
While others had dropped out of high school.
Hi, my open source projects are used by tens of thousands of devs
— James Kyle (@thejameskyle) September 18, 2017
And Twitter marveled at how diverse computer science really was. Computer Science is supposed to be one of the hardest fields to get into, and Indian students would be familiar with their parents’ entreaties to keep getting high marks right from school in order to break in. But as this little online experiment showed, it’s possible to do well in computer science with virtually any background. A formal degree will help, of course, but no one is really unqualified for tech.