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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?

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  • Feb 10 2013: I have a hard time with this question. I'm 37 years old, was a single mom for 12 years. I didn't graduate high school, instead I got my GED. I've gone to community college off and on over the years. I've got over 13 years experience in my field and I have a 6 figure income. A year ago I was looking to relocate and was searching for jobs. All the jobs I chose to apply for had a requirement of a 4 years degree or 5-7 years experience in lieu of the degree. I come to the table with 13+ years experience and I'm certified in my area of expertise. After every interview, the feedback was that I didn't have enough experience. I know my skills, abilities, and experience, I know how much my managers have appreciated me, I'm not making the salary I am now because I don't have the experience and drive or that I'm not a great asset to the team. The only thing I can attribute my rejections to is that I don't have a degree. (Which I'm currently finishing up now)

    To answer your questions. As an employer, I wouldn't go based on degree alone. If the candidate has a solid work history, experience and knowledge to back it up then I would consider them for the position.

    As a high school graduate, knowing what I know now and have experienced, I would get my degree as soon as I completed high school. That one piece of paper helps open doors that experience alone can not open.

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