When Giancarlo Martinez applied a few years ago to be a web developer at Genome, a digital marketing firm in New York, he was confident that he had the ability. But he couldn’t help but wonder whether company recruiters would be able to recognize his chops—and even if they did, he worried that they still might not give him a chance.
The reason: Although he had gone to coding school, Martinez was largely self-taught—”Staying up until 6 a.m., Googling things, and just figuring it out.” Others angling to work at Genome, he presumed, “probably had master’s degrees in computer science.”
“Making it skills versus credentials is a bit of a false choice,” says Beth Cobert, CEO of Skillful, an initiative of the Markle Foundation that, in partnership with Microsoft, is aiming to give educators a sharper picture of which skills are in demand in their region while helping businesses adopt skills-based hiring and training practices. “This is about changing mind-sets.”