TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What's a degree worth?

Education is approaching a change where it will never turn back, but what will we find around that corner?

In America, college degrees mean less and less, and it seems like what's often more important is real-world experience and a competitive portfolio/skill sets. So the question is to put yourself in the following situations to answer the following:

As an employer: Would you rather hire someone with your required skill sets/a competitive portfolio and no college degree, or someone with a degree and good grades but little experience? (everything else held equal)

As a high school graduate: Would you be willing to self-teach yourself to the point where you had marketable skills and an impressive self-made portfolio while risking not having a degree?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 8 2013: Traditionally, college degrees have cultivated skills that become obsolete in a short span of time, as per the industry standards in todays dynamic and innovative workspace.

    I would like to stress on the wide gap between the academic and industrial operating models. The existence of this question in the society itself is evident of the fact that academia and industry are looking in different direction as of now.

    There is an increasing need to make any kind of education more practical and application oriented; Only then a person with a good university degree would be an obvious choice for an employer seeking a combination of education and real life skills.

    As for this question specifically, the choice is at the discretion of the organization of whether to prioritize experience over college degrees or vice versa because at the end of the day what matters is "productivity" of the employee.

    However, a college degree will always allow you to learn far more importat values than some specific industry skill sets. So, I would personally recruit someone who has a good college degree and demonstrates the ability to learn and apply thier knowledge over someone with no college degree and specific skill sets.

    Not to forget, there are always some cases where you come across individuals who for some reason could not go to college but can become assets for the organization. So its always an arbitrary decision on the part of the employer.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.