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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: Hi Joshua, I really like this question as I have wrestled with it for years. When I was growing up my grandfather and father were having a debate similar to this. They said, "If you were to take the amount of money a person spends on obtaining a college degree, give it to them in cash, and let them run their own business with a mentor, would it be a greater advantage than getting the degree itself". The thought was with the right menor(s) in place, you can have a distinct advantage over everyone else you compete with when you have the same degree and no experience. This being said, I believe it depends on the field you want to go into and the support you have around you.

    I am a bit older and I can tell you it was a lot easier to get a job in the past without a degree if you had a good network. When applying for jobs on line now, many times the potential hiring manager will not even see your resume if you do not have a degree. You just fall into space. This is where having a strong network of self branding and social media can help to overcome the degree. I rarely get a job that I want from blindly applying on line. I work int IT sales and can tell you many of my peers typically do not either. Our work is all about who you know. Some of us have degrees and some do not, but I have to question is it worth it.

    At the end of the day, it can't hurt you to have a degree. A person learns a lot when going to school and having the degrees shows you have the tenacity and dedication to finish your work all the way through. I do believe, with the way school is changing and technology is advancing, we will see stronger priorities within certain fields versus the well rounded educational systems we see today.

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