Is it worth spending thousands of dollars on higher education? Does a college degree still guarantee wealth and success? What is higher education really for? All sorts of college-related questions can confuse and perplex young minds.
The times are changing rapidly, and the economy is continually transforming. That makes it incredibly difficult to predict the answers to those types of questions. Do college degrees still matter in ten years? Take a look at this in-depth analysis to find out more!
College Degrees Used to Be One of the Standards in Society
Higher education has long been considered a standard in modern society. The majority of young people are still taught to believe that college is an essential stepping stone to adulthood. It promises a bright future in which any degree-holder is guaranteed to get a good job.
Plus, college life is a unique rite of passage for adolescents. Students are meant to study hard at college or university, join fraternities, and party all the time. Conversely, those who never attend university are sometimes considered to be outcasts and even failures. Why, then, do so many flunkers and backbenchers wind up in the CEO seats? Why do hundreds of college “geniuses” only lead boring lifestyles? How is it possible that so many degree holders never even get a job?
When graduates get out of the field, they learn that the real world is totally different. That is not just a recent development — it has been that way for decades. Due to constant changes in the economy, the job market, and new types of work, a degree may not be as essential. However, you shouldn’t drop out or burn your credentials just yet.
Is the Education System Outdated?
Before we go any further, it’s crucial to point out the importance of education. Overall, it’s only useful if you are willing to put in some hard work.
The education system has never been perfect, and that applies to even the most prestigious colleges. However, students and young adults should not use this as an excuse to waste time. Additionally, you shouldn’t solely rely on the educational system and believe that it will guarantee professional success.
Today, skills have replaced knowledge in the so-called “prove it” economy. The majority of the workforce is expendable. Nearly any job is incredibly competitive. Due to the strong demand for codified skills, a college degree may not matter.
The perfect example of that is the IT industry. You could take a computer science major and spend over $40,000 on a degree. While this college major could teach you about various computer skills, you can find that kind of education elsewhere.
Online courses can provide you with the necessary skills in a much shorter time. Plus, the costs of those types of courses can save you a lot of money. For instance, they cost around $1000 or less. In the end, you could gain the skills required to prove yourself in the market. And depending on the industry, employers may not ask for a full degree if you have the proper skillset.
In such an example, college might be completely redundant and outdated. However, it will all depend on your career choice. Some professions, like medicine or engineering, are not very flexible in terms of education. A full college degree is often the only way to any future success here.
Are All Subjects in College Needed to Be Successful?
Aspiring movie stars, chefs, or chart-topping artists may not require college. All sorts of professions are skill-based. They depend on talent and knowledge that is only achievable through experience and actual work.
Nowadays, it’s possible to study nearly any subject in college. However, the question is whether or not your career choice is even suited for a degree.
Ultimately, colleges are businesses that make lots of money through fees. With some research, you’ll find that various universities are pushing all sorts of majors. You can pay a lot to study even the most bizarre subjects. That includes adventure education (surviving in the wilderness), auctioneering, baking, nannying, and even surfing. Those are all majors available at various U.S. universities. Even though those majors sound truly fascinating, it may not be the brightest idea to blow your entire college fund on them.
All in all, if you wish to be successful, a degree may only matter if it suits your career. As mentioned earlier, doctors or scientists will have to get one. However, if you’re considering the arts or similar subjects, it may not pay off in the long run.
Conversely, it could all depend on how you plan to benefit from your college experience. There are various other reasons to go to college. Imagine, for example, an avant-garde jazz major. You could take this subject for the opportunity to meet experts, tutors, and like-minded peers. You could form lifelong professional connections during your years in college. See — not all majors are only about education! These people are going to be part of your network that you can approach in the future, and everyone can benefit from each other’s skills. Building a strong network is one of the perks of going to college, so that’s another thing to consider.
How Has the Digital Age Changed the Way People Work?
New hardware, software, and connectivity capabilities have resulted in a major change in all forms of work. Today, it’s possible to do just about anything online. Digital nomads are a great example of this. These types of remote workers can perform their duties from any location. They can make a living outside of traditional office surroundings. As a result, many developing skills and professions do not require credentials. As mentioned earlier, the focus has shifted towards hard and soft skills in many workplaces.
However, digital transformation doesn’t automatically entail that college degrees are useless. Like we’ve said before, it all depends on your career choice.
New Ways of Learning Aside From Getting a Degree
There are plenty of alternative education methods for just about any profession. You can find tons of materials online on just about any subject. Platforms like YouTube have become incredibly popular for teaching and learning through video tutorials. What’s more, you can find respected platforms with full courses (paid or free).
Those sites can offer in-depth knowledge, carefully selected materials, and some type of certificate or credential. These kinds of courses also provide accelerated learning. They can last for only a few months or even allow you to go at your own pace.
Moreover, for many careers, it may be better to learn your trade in the real world. That is incredibly important if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, stylist, coach, chef, retail manager, photographer, etc. In some professions, college experience just won’t cut it. In that case, it could be better to skip college and set out to gain some real-world experience.
Types of Work That Do Not Require a College Degree
Quentin Tarantino once said that he “went to films” instead of going to film school. That quote has probably changed the lives of many creative individuals. But, you can apply it to nearly any profession. As mentioned in the previous section, some careers simply do not benefit from a degree. In extreme cases, it could actually waste your time and even limit your experience.
Many high-paying professions favor skills and experience over a college education. Employers in all industries, including IT, manufacturing, marketing, publishing, and others, are actually shifting their hiring processes — they are looking for people with real skills rather than credentials.
Currently, examples include remote jobs in digital industries. Some examples of that are computer security analysts, programmers, database managers, administrators, service assistants, designers, etc.
Professional Degrees Still Matter
It’s not easy to make a big career choice just when you are finishing high school. You can read up on college degrees on the web and get influenced by various opinions and approaches. However, as stated many times in this article, college degrees are far from unnecessary for all sorts of professions.
A degree will be essential for some professions. That includes law enforcement professionals or medical experts. If you want to teach, a degree will be crucial. A diploma in any subject will ultimately be useless if you don’t study and never seek employment. If you wish to choose a non-degree focused profession, make sure that you know some of the benefits and risks we’ve discussed.
Formal education and professional employment are always changing. It’s difficult to tell if a college degree will be effective in the next ten or even a hundred years. While it all depends on many of the factors we’ve discussed above, a college education is a personal choice. So take some time to think about your goals and career choices and you’ll have a better idea of whether a degree is actually worth it for you! Good luck!