Elon Musk: You don't need a high school diploma to work at Tesla

"Educational background is irrelevant," the billionaire said. But prepare to pass a "hard-core" coding test.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends a delivery ceremony for the China-made Model 3 in Shanghai on Jan. 7. Do you want to come work for him?  

Ding Ting/Xinhua via Getty

wants you -- if you have a deep knowledge of artificial intelligence and are OK working directly with CEO Elon Musk himself. A high school diploma isn't required, Musk said in a tweet.

"Join AI at Tesla!" Musk said in a tweet sent Sunday. "It reports directly to me & we meet/email/text almost every day. My actions, not just words, show how critically I view (benign) AI."

And when a reader asked if they needed a doctorate in AI to qualify, Musk said no.

"A Ph.D. is definitely not required," Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet. "All that matters is a deep understanding of AI and the ability to implement (neural networks) in a way that is actually useful (latter point is what's truly hard). Don't care if you even graduated high school."

But interested job-seekers might feel like they're back in school, as there will be a test. Musk went on to explain more about what employee skills he's seeking, writing, "Educational background is irrelevant, but all must pass hard-core coding test."

Some Twitter users were suspicious about whether Musk meant what he said. One wrote, "It can be proven if you can show me the ratio of Ph.D. to high school grads among Tesla employees. Otherwise, it is another cliche motivational talk."

But others applauded Musk's focus on knowledge rather than specific degrees. "(Musk) didn't get a degree in aerospace and he is the lead engineer for the most revolutionary rocket company," wrote one Twitter user. "The man understands that you can learn things without a diploma."

Those who are serious about working for Musk may want to check out job opportunities at another of his companies. On Tuesday, the CEO tweeted out an invitation to "Starship career day" at his SpaceX development facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Musk himself famously dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Stanford University after just two days to start his first company,  Zip2 Corporation.

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