By Felicia King
President & CEO, QPC Security

Below is my own professional viewpoint which directly impacts how I manage the hiring process here at QPC Security. It is also based on my own personal experience being hired while carrying both multi-level degrees and industry certifications. My viewpoint on degrees is not the norm, but QPC Security is not your average IT and cybersecurity services company. Not only do you get the opportunity to work with a team of highly experienced architects and engineers, but you also get to work with direct end clients as well as other MSPs in need of our exceptional vCISO/MSSP services. That last part makes QPC Security truly unique within this sector. It is also a factor that drives my view on certifications and degrees.

I care very little what degrees you have. Yes, you read that right. I look for and hire critical thinkers because that is who brings value to QPC Security. It’s about what you can do, on your own, and do well that matters to me. Too frequently, higher education is about indoctrination and not about critical thinking or classical education. If you got a classical education that is meaningful, or you got a business degree and really absorbed the details because you studied hard, fantastic. I did too. What I learned in college helped me in my personal life as well as running businesses well, but it was only direct experience and technical certifications that caused me to be able to deliver solutions in information systems.

I do think there is value in higher education. What I do not practice is the narrative that the higher education somehow prepares you for the real-world problems that need to be solved in the IT sector. If you cannot walk in the door and effectively do networking, patch management, and have the ability to setup a new PC, then the cost to have you onboard is more than the value you bring to the organization as a part of the team.

Certifications do demonstrate your ability to learn, retain and assess so we do give resumes with certifications a closer look. Furthermore, certain certifications as well as the ability to attain new certifications is an absolute necessity for success at QPC Security. You can have the best degree, but you must be an individual contributor that significantly exceeds in delivering value over and above the costs the organization bears by having you on the team.

As shared in my “The Right Entry‑Level Attitude article, I get countless people submitting their resumes that emphasize their degree(s) yet they must be drastically lacking in experience because they lack foundational knowledge, judgment, and instinct that is required to effectively execute. You are not going to satisfy this experience gap through practical lab sessions you had in school or how‑to videos you have watched on YouTube. Real‑world experience means you have been in an environment where you have needed to use your critical thinking ability to identify, troubleshoot and resolve, in real-time, technology issues. Our hiring process does include practical testing, so the rubber is required to meet the road. You either know how to do certain things (back to networking, patch management and PC setup) or you don’t. And you need to be able to explain yourself effectively. You must be comfortable explaining your thought process on a topic and convey how to do things to others or we cannot cross train you.

You can read more about our “Hiring Process” here. And yes, in case any of this resonates with you and you have more than just the degree and certifications, I'm hiring.