How necessary are college degrees?


#1

Hello, I read this article and it shed light on a lot of things. The comment section is the most interesting:

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/how-necessary-is-a-college-education/

I personally do not have a degree. I did go to college at around 16 years old, and went for about 3 years then eventually dropped out and started working. I pretty much got the most entry level IT job I could get, and then I worked my way up gradually. I got a lot of experience (I worked a lot of contract jobs) and now I make a really good living. My contract rate is pretty good for someone who does what I do also.

As a contract worker in IT, I’ve been to several interviews over the years. I can count maybe 4 times out of probably 30 or 40 interviews I was asked about my education. One job I was asked and I got the job anyway. I think there are only two interviews I’ve ever had where I think my education was a major factor in my not being hired.

What do you guys think? Are degrees necessary?


#2

Beyond professional degrees(like medical), I think work experience is infinitely more important…

However, the knowledge on how to DO things, may only come from college…

The degree is unimportant, but the knowledge you gain is important(sometimes)… oftentimes though, people take classes just to say they have a worthless piece of paper, and don’t know jack shit about anything they can use on a job…

Business admin degree folks especiallyshakes fist

If you aren’t in a medical practice, or you aren’t learning a trade, or if you’re not learning the basics of something like IT to get a job and get that work experience, then what the fuck would anyone be in college for imo…


#3

I can tell you that IT is one field where experience is highly valued. It’s generally more valuable to have someone who has been in “trenches” as opposed to one who’s only been exposed to working in a highly sanitized environment. However, there is a big shift away from traditional hands on hardware with the induction and heavy adaptation of cloud-based services. So, being able to perform many different type of functions within is becoming more important, and one of the best places to do that is in school. Self-taught tend to be much more highly specialized. :tup:


#4

Only necessary if you want to be able to say you have a college degree.

It helps you look good.


#5

Do you like to have fancy wiping paper?

Perhaps tissues?


#6

college degrees do not matter.
master degrees do.


#7

And it looks good on my wall:bluu:


#8

Considering that most companies won’t even look at you without having anything less than a bachelor’s, yes, I’d say so.

While experience does help, you can’t get the experience if people won’t hire you.


#9

This for the most part.

Overall, I learned more from the friends I made in college than actual classes. When people ask me if I learned how to design and build websites in school I tell them “No, I learned most of that on my own - I went to college for the piece of paper.”


#10

There are certain things you aren’t realistically going to learn outside of college, especially in the hard sciences.


#11

Varies on a lot of things.

Some companies require a college degree just to able to work for them, but more times than not employers will cater to hands-on skilled workers that have a certain amount of experience within the field. In a few years, even BA’s will probably become mostly irrelevant in the same way AA’s have become now. A degree will earn you a certain type of leverage when looking for work, if nothing else. I remember being told a story once about how an employer hired somebody because he liked the candidates “taste” in classical music, and this was over 3 other candidates who were well qualified for the position but couldn’t comprehend anything within that type of lecture.

As somebody that’s in college right now, a lot of the problems I see is students claiming to have no particular goals in mind yet they are simply “going” to college to land a decent paying job. It’s these types of students that don’t really learn much of anything when they finish college, because they still trying to find they want to do while in college.


#12

It depends on the field you want to go into.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master’s in Creative Writing. I’ve been teaching at the college level for a little over a year now and I make decent money.

By comparison, my best friend from childhood dropped out of high school and went straight into manual labor. He started with house framing and went from job to job. Now he’s a heavy machine operator for a contracting company and makes about the same money as I do.


#13

its all about the peice of paper
Im learning abosolutly nothing from reading and puttin those thoughts into a proper body of work.
:confused:

lol… Experience is needed for high level positions
I think its stupid to need 3 years before an entry level.


#14

Are they important, you’d be an idiot to think not.

Are they necessary? You’d be n idiot to think so.

There are too many variables for it to be a question that can be answered straight up yes/no.

Alot of degrees…especially non professional ones, are bullshit (no offense honestly meant) - especially those that don’t lead to a field that will generate REAL income that will help support a family as well as pay any cost incurred GETTING said degree.

Then you have to look at the field in question. You (the OP) are in a different situation than most. Remember the SAT? Remember your GPA? No one gives a f#ck about it after you’ve been in the work force for x amount of years. If you are applying for a senior position, its simply a formality. So the fact that you didn’t finish school doesn’t hit you like others because you are asking this question AFTER you’ve already established yourself in your field. As well, I find that alot of jobs these days - wether engineering, tech, management - treasure certifications more so than education. A Bachelors only says you know how to work hard. t doesn’t mean you know squat about the subject…99% of bach degrees out there are filled with information that is easily Googlable. Employers know that. However certifications, especially those that have to be maintained, mean that you are up on current statuses/knowledge bases, and can perform up to a certain standard…especially in the IT field and other fast moving industries. In engineering, its all about getting that “P.E”, or in managment getting the PMP…those are all attainable without a degree, HOWEVER (well not sure about PE) - the more educatin you have, the fewer years prior you need.

In other words, imagine a degree as a ‘time skip’…where 4 years in school will equate to 7 years in ‘said’ industry. A 2 year MAsters program will net you 5 years experience. If you have a PhD, you’re knocking on the door of people with 12+ years experience.

In short it isn’t mandatory, but depending on someone’s goals and areas of interest, it can be highly benefiical, but never/rarely a requirement.

  • :bluu:

#15

I’ll admit. My career probably would have been faster with a degree. However I would have started my career a lot later as well.

This begs the question. If a degree is like a “time warp”, and it pretty much serves as a better ‘starting point’, then that ask if they’re really important. Let’s say you just go right into the market out of high school, and spend maybe 3 or 4 years working your way into a decent job. Or if you go to college and spend 4 years on a degree, then start out at the decent job level already. In one case you didn’t spend 30k on an education, but you did spend a lot of time and work getting to a good place. On the other hand you spend money, but you save yourself time.

Personally I think the whole idea of working your way up is very underrated. People I work with like and respect me. It’s mainly because I started at the very bottom, and saw how business work at the lower levels. My first IT was as a tape librarian making about $11 an hour. The management wasn’t technical nor were many of my co-workers. Its was basically a job for people who may have known a little about computing, but really weren’t that technical at all. They really needed you to only know windows and a few DOS commands to qualify. Still even at that level I saw how business worked.

I have to admit, enough people don’t like as jobs as a way to gain experience. They mainly look at it as a way to make a paycheck. When I was working as a bagger in a grocery store (and eventual cashier) I paid a lot of attention to how things worked. One of the most interesting things I noted was how our POS system worked, and how it accepted different types of money. I also noticed our store didn’t accept credit cards, but the cash register had the functionality. I even got familizar with the reconcilization process, and how someone could beat it. For example, the way our store handled checks was pretty bad and easily exploitable (a co worker explotied this for MONTHS before getting caught).

You can learn a lot about business working in McDonalds or Burger King too. I think people don’t see these are building blocks or a “perspective” of business, but more as shit jobs. It’s a shame, because no one is willing to start out at this level. Managers really do like someone who can see things differently and not take a myoptic view. I think viewing your McDonalds job a shitty is a bad attitude, since you get such good exposure to commerence, transactions, money movement,etc. I think there about 3 fields where an average McDonald transaction is useful to observe (IT for POS system, Accounting for book keeping, and Business management for observing th business model). But maybe some people are more business minded than others. And naturally the more businss minded person is going to view shitty jobs differently.


#16

I’m not at all familiar with IT besides “Hey, can you reset my login password?” but one old buddy of mine was a drafter for many many years and decided to get a BS in mech. engr. At that time, he did maxed out his career potential as a drafter so he had to undergo a class changed from drafter class to mechanical engineer. Worked out pretty well for him and he was really old at the time.

Electrical engineering is pretty cool.


#17

What have old people always say to you? “If you want to be working at McDonalds all your life, don’t go to college.” I would like to add: “If you want to be a manager at McDonalds, go get yourself a liberal arts degree or major in the arts in general. The world will repay you with this fun job.” I have major respect for people who major in music. The world seems not to, but at least you’re manager at McDonalds. Engineering, nursing, accounting, STEM subjects etc. are where the money is at.


#18

IT is def a field where knowing your shit can trump and lack of degrees or certifications.

I think people can squeeze way more value out of their degree if they use all the opportunities studying at a uni affords you as opposed to just treating it as a means to get a degree. The company I interned at ended up hiring several more interns through my CC’s CS dept. I didn’t even really work that hard but have at least half a dozen former professors or work supervisors that I can call on as references next time I’m job hunting. Every feather in your cap helps.


#19

This right here is 80% of what you need to know.

I’ll try to give you my perspective.

  • If you have no clue WTF you want to do coming out of HS then hell yes you’d be better off with a degree.

  • If you do have a clue sometimes you’re still better off with a degree.
    The problem is that a lot (I’d probably say the majority) of kids just “go through college.” The key is to go through college, get some experience, get some internships, and at least try to get some direction by the time you get out. Use the career dept, and unique opportunities you’re afforded in college to wedge your way into a position.

-Type of degree also matters.
I graduated with a degree in Physics. Though I’m going to go for a Ph.D if I were going to try to go into the job sector my degree opens up a lot of doors. Not because I’d be able to go somewhere and do physics (because there’s no where I’d be able to do that without at least a Masters and even that doesn’t mean much in the physics world), but because it’s one of the hardest majors there is, and just the degree itself says something about my abilities.

-College is about more than a degree
It certainly isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of people who are wasting their time with it, but there are some unique experiences you get by going. Studying abroad/internships that take you across the country and around the world are opportunities that you can only get in college. Sure you can travel anytime with the money, but there are obvious differences when doing so under the umbrella of college and when doing so with a job/career in place. Also while there are some knuckleheads everywhere that aren’t worth knowing typically the ratio of useless people:people who are worth knowing is more favorable in the collegiate environment.

As others have said IT is one of those fields where experience >>> classes. Still though sometimes degrees pay you “just cause.” Take a teacher for instance. If a teacher with a bachelors goes and gets their masters they’ll get a pay increase just for doing it. Probably wont be much of a better teacher for doing so, but they get a pay bump just because. I think some IT positions are like that as well.


#20

Does OP have a specific goal?