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 12 2013: Whats a degree wirth to whom? Im about to step into my University because im Interested and I want to learn, for me its worth nothing i wouldnt go out and work for the sake of money right now because theres too much to explore too much i long for knowing. Learnig however is invaluable and as said degree marks the end of a "learning phase" it gets its worth because once i have it it means ive understood and gained some knowledge.

    The degree alone however remains worthless for me.

    For someone whos out for the money well he can make that money without a degree i guess, a degree may help him to get into a certain position (regardless off how much learned for that degree ... he mightve aswell received it as a christmas present so to say).

    Id argue the worth of a degree is based on ones goals. For me the degree itself is worthless the knowledge is invaluable. For someone else though the knowledge may be worthless (or he may not be interested in it, thus giving it no value for said person) however the degree may be invaluable as it opens up some doors.

    -I know i used a diffrent interpretation of the question as the majority but i like to write what first comes to my mind :o)
    • thumb
      Feb 13 2013: What are you going to be studying Max?
      • thumb
        Feb 13 2013: Well science it is, decided on physics. In case i dont learn enough / my brain is insufficient itll be chemistry or economics (big picture economics ;o) dont know how to explain it as i havent heard an equivalent term in english, in germany we distinguish between "bwl" which focuses on marketing and making a huge profit and "vwl" which focuses on how diffrent economies interact with eachother e.g. terms of trade, taxes, state spending and so on ... itd be the second one for me).

        So yeah i dont think you can weight up a degree with a degree :D Engiineering, marketing ect. may give you a degree but their really focused around the requirements of an economy thus they will attract a huge amount of people who are out for money / living a nice average life with family, going to work coming home having some nice food some freetime and no financial problems to worry about. - for those indeed the value of a degree can be expressed in terms of income.

        For me it cant be expressed in this way, im happy as long as i learn and understand somethign new (food and a warm home would be appreciated though as they make it a lot easier).

        i suspect the author of this thread was out for the financial question, thats why i stated there are diffrent interpretations.
    • thumb
      Feb 14 2013: Max, I think you have raised the most important point. It is not the degree per se but the learning that degree will represent that matters. You have to know how to take advantage of what college offers. Many who find it useless just never figured out how to take advantage of the opportunities there to develop their critical and creative faculties.

      In the United States, the subject you call bwl is often called Business Administration. The second subject you describe is part of Economics.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.