What is more important in our life, academic success, or building our skillset? How far is theoretical knowledge applicable to the jobs that we do? What makes us more industry-ready, a great degree or internship from a top firm? These debates have been going on for ages.
Corporate professionals, academicians, analysts and other experts are divided in this and each one has a different opinion. Many believe that theoretical knowledge is the basis for your skill development. Countering these, experts have opined that even a history graduate can learn programming and work in the IT industry. So their degree of history honours becomes redundant.
In between a lot of these conflicting opinions, we will try to find out what the relevance of skills and degrees is and which is more effective in getting a regular job.
Skills Help You Survive and Grow in Your Job
When you convert a potential client into a customer, your boss and colleagues must have said that you have excellent communication skills. What does that mean? The fact that you can convince a client through your literary eloquence, is increasing your company’s revenue base. It also means that compared to other marketers, your way of explaining the same product, is better and highly engaging, leading to a better outcome on sales. This is a skill.
Degrees are vast, and during your management courses, you may have learned customer relationships, market research, social media, and many other things that may or may not be irrelevant down the road. It is then that you realise that your instant idea or communication or leadership are great skills that help you survive in the job. So while the degree can push you to land an interview, your skills let you grow. In a way, both are interdependent on each other, but developing particular skills are slightly more important.
Skills are Valued Heavily in the Non-academic World
While you think of degrees, what comes to your mind? Engineering, medicine, general courses, law, fashion, and many more! But there are degrees in music, painting and other vocational courses. Do you remember them? Not much. That is because a great musician or painter is known for the sheer brilliance of their work and not degrees. For example, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley never took any formal music training and studied up to high school. Nobody even thinks about their education or training; that’s because people remember their work and nothing else matters.
In addition to that, dancing and cooking are learnt by individuals in their own capacity. Videos and online training materials are used as a reference by the newcomers and they develop these skills by following the instructions mentioned. So almost all, nonacademic or vocational courses need skills that can be acquired through self-study. Degrees are entirely irrelevant in the world of art and entertainment, as people only appreciate great works, which comes with skills and expertise.
Skills in IT are Much Beyond Degrees
The most demanding jobs in the world today are primarily in the software sector. Getting into this sector requires IT skills, which is about coding in various languages. What you think is more important? An engineering degree or coding skills? Definitely, the second option. Why do we say so? That is because today, graduates of different streams are learning these online IT courses and upskilling themselves to get an excellent job in the tech sector.
If an accounting student is learning these IT skills and getting a job based on that, does his degree matter? Not really. Understanding a programming language, having the ability to solve real-life problems, and fixing errors are skills that make you a successful IT person. Your engineering degree is not an important point of consideration here. Degrees can only give you the options, but to convert those, you must be a skillful person in whatever job you are doing.
Only 6.7% of the World has College Degrees
Surprised! Yes, only 6.7% of the world has formal education up to the college and university level. So, what are the rest of them doing? Are all of them unemployed? Nope. The reality is that the world runs on people without degrees. Think about it, when you need a plumber or electrician or a car mechanic, do you think they are qualified graduates coming to your services? Obviously, not. These people have learnt the respective skills in a training institute and created a career out of that.
Farmers, drivers, factory workers, small business owners, construction labourers, ground staff, and many other professions require only skills and a heart to learn; that’s it. The more skilled you become, your clients will pay you more money and degrees do not have any significance in these fields. To be honest, apart from medical, legal, accountants, pilots, architects and some other highly specialized professions, degrees do not have much value. Of course, as competition is increasing, many companies will not let you sit for interviews without a degree, but after that, it’s all about your knowledge, skill and expertise that gets you going.
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