Do you think college/university degrees are necessary?

ThePresence

Elite Member
Nov 19, 2001
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I have a masters degree. Big deal. It is meaningless to me, because what I do today has nothing whatsoever to do with what I studied. When I hire people, I hire based on ability, not schooling. If someone never went to school a day in his life but can do the job I need him to do, he has a better shot than some guy with a degree who 'might' be able to do it. I don't think I'm the only one who feels that degrees are becoming more and more obsolete.
 

Svnla

Lifer
Nov 10, 2003
17,999
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I don't think a person with a college degree is "smarter" than a person without but at many places, a BS/BA is a minimum requirement just to get past the first step in HR (ie. no college degree = resume is in the trash can), such as my current place of employment.
 

Farmer

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2003
3,345
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Schooling can be one of several indicators of ability.

Otherwise, yeah, I'd say 90% of people don't get much out of college/schooling.

On the other hand, attending school has made me less ignorant. I think it's necessary.

If your only concern in life is 9-5 paycheck, then no, probably not "necessary."

It depends on your field. For most work that is done, nothing you would learn in college would be helpful.
 

Duder1no

Senior member
Nov 1, 2010
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I agree.

A degree is not indicative of intelligence and/or capacity, there are many talented people without studies that put those with degrees to shame.
 

mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
17,504
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I've said many times That I wished I hadn't gone to university. It provided background and taught me how to write, but I didn't need five years to do that.

Technical degrees and diplomas are different.
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,816
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they're "necessary" insofar as for many jobs, employers use it as an automatic threshold to clear out resumes.

but the vast majority of these jobs, especially non-technical, could be done without it.
 

highland145

Lifer
Oct 12, 2009
43,290
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Digging ditches for my bro, with his 10th grade education, was what motivated me towards something else. The paper showing my Comp E. degree and my 2.3 GPA is a little rougher than charmin but about as useful. YMMV.
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
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College Degrees today are becoming the High School Diploma of 25 years ago. You need one just to get a semi decent job if you are starting out in the work force.
 

Oil

Diamond Member
Aug 31, 2005
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A college degree is necessary to become an engineer so I do not regret going to school
 

ThePresence

Elite Member
Nov 19, 2001
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College Degrees today are becoming the High School Diploma of 25 years ago. You need one just to get a semi decent job if you are starting out in the work force.

Not always. My uncle is a CTO of a major telecommunications company and never graduated.
 

Farmer

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2003
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but the vast majority of these jobs, especially non-technical, could be done without it.

I think most people would agree with that from experience.

Jobs are specialized. You know what you do at your job. Suppose you were trained from a young age to do the specific things your job entails, and only that. Yeah, you have quite a great ability to do that job. If you treat your job as your life and consider school nothing more than preparation for a job, then you're right, you probably don't need whatever degree you got. If by school you mean "job training," yeah, conventional college degrees are ok at that, but it's not as good as just doing the job. Admit it. Most jobs, most people can do.

School (at least college) is about enlightenment, making you less ignorant about all things generally. I think it makes your life more interesting, and opens you up to things that you previously didn't know about or dismissed as uninteresting. There are few uninteresting things in life.

You goto school for the same reason you read books or watch movies. That's what "school" should be.
 
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seepy83

Platinum Member
Nov 12, 2003
2,132
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A degree is important and necessary in certain situations. For example...
Applicants A and B have a High School Diploma and no relevant work experience.
Applicants C and D have a Bachelors degree and no relevant work experience.

I'm going to give a lot more "credit" towards Applicants C and D because acheiving a bachelors degree does more to exhibit their ability to acheive a goal.

On the other hand, If Applicants E and F have 10-15 years of relevant job experience, but no college degree, then that can obviously outweigh someone with no experience and a degree.
 
May 13, 2009
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Absolutely necessary. You might find one or two examples of a successful person without a degree but 99% of successful have one. If I ever have a kid education is #1 priority. This is coming from a blue collar guy with a GED.
 

bignateyk

Lifer
Apr 22, 2002
11,288
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Necessary for learning or necessary for getting a job? I taught myself everything I know, but I still went and got the useless piece of paper. Without it you will be turned down for pretty much every white collar job regardless of what you actually know.
 

Triumph

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
15,031
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It's all supply and demand and scarcity. 25 years ago, no one had college degrees, so if you went to college you really stood out in the crowd. Nowadays you are nothing special for just having a college degree. Which is really sad, because you can be passed over on a job application only because of a piece of paper. It has little to do with your skills BECAUSE of the degree. It has to do with no one ELSE having a degree.

The problem is that this country does not place any value on trade schools, apprenticeships, or craftsman. You can work for 10 years in say, a machine shop, learning how to use every machine, learning the best ways of doing things, learning how to manage multiple projects, learning the technology, but guess what? Your company is probably not going to let you rise through the ranks and give you a job as project manager or financial manager because you didn't go to 4 years of drinking school. Instead they'll hire some ivy league grad because of his "connections."
 
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redz

Member
Nov 3, 2009
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A college degree is necessary to become an engineer so I do not regret going to school

Was just going to post this. Degrees are necessary, depending on the degree and field in question. I'm a pharmacy student - good luck being a competent pharmacist without going to school (legal restrictions aside).

That being said, there are definitely people who never went to pharmacy school who would make excellent pharmacists. However, the education and training provided in pharmacy school is absolutely necessary to be a pharmacist.
 

oddyager

Diamond Member
May 21, 2005
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This depends entirely on the market you're trying to get a job in or grow in. All of our marketing/sales/legal/etc require at least a degree while development/infrastructure jobs aren't required (experience counts more) but all manager level positions even in that field requires at least a degree.
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
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Not always. My uncle is a CTO of a major telecommunications company and never graduated.

And a couple dozen college football players out of thousands will get paid to play their sports after college.

There's exceptions in all areas of life. For most people if you want any sort of a "professional" or white collar career you are going to need a degree to get an interview.

Skilled labor is also an exception, but they have their own types of "schooling" and apprenticeship programs that must be fulfilled to be hired full time.
 

ThePresence

Elite Member
Nov 19, 2001
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And a couple dozen college football players out of thousands will get paid to play their sports after college.

There's exceptions in all areas of life. For most people if you want any sort of a "professional" or white collar career you are going to need a degree to get an interview.

Skilled labor is also an exception, but they have their own types of "schooling" and apprenticeship programs that must be fulfilled to be hired full time.

I don't think that is necessarily true, because what he did, many people can do. He started a company on his own, it grew and was bought out. He got himself a low level management job in the new company as part of the buyout. He worked his way up from there. It wasn't just getting lucky.
 
May 13, 2009
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Was just going to post this. Degrees are necessary, depending on the degree and field in question. I'm a pharmacy student - good luck being a competent pharmacist without going to school (legal restrictions aside).

That being said, there are definitely people who never went to pharmacy school who would make excellent pharmacists. However, the education and training provided in pharmacy school is absolutely necessary to be a pharmacist.

It's really that hard putting pills in a bottle that a doctor has already prescribed to the patient?
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
12,649
1,508
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I'm a chemist. To work as a chemist it's almost absolutely necessary to have at least a B.S. just to get your foot in the door. So for my field it is necessary IMO.
 

vi edit

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 28, 1999
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I don't think that is necessarily true, because what he did, many people can do. He started a company on his own, it grew and was bought out. He got himself a low level management job in the new company as part of the buyout. He worked his way up from there. It wasn't just getting lucky.

Most people simply don't have the courage, work ethic, or basic business sense to do that. Congrats to your relative, he scored big. That's just not something that an average person apsires to do, nor has the right combination of skills and personality needed should they want to.
 

Farmer

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2003
3,345
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I don't think that is necessarily true, because what he did, many people can do. He started a company on his own, it grew and was bought out. He got himself a low level management job in the new company as part of the buyout. He worked his way up from there. It wasn't just getting lucky.

It's statistically true? Would you be happy with that?

Out of all the startups that pop up all the time, only a small fraction are successful enough to get bought out.

There is strong correlation between college degree and success in a white collar position. Correlation does not imply causation, nor does it preclude less likely cases where people without college degrees obtain successful white collared positions.

If you look at the statistically significant number of cases where getting a college degree gives you higher probability of getting a white collared position, ignore that, and instead choose to think that you don't need a degree to easily obtain a similar job based on the single case of your uncle, then I'd say your logic is flawed.