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College degree as a REQUIREMENT

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by nwdiver, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Well-Known Member

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    The recent passing of Chuck Yeager has given me another reason to rant about the absolutely insane trend in our society to essentially out-right reject candidates for some positions based purely on the lack or a college degree. Instead of attending college Chuck Yeager fought in WW2. Upon returning he was too busy helping the US as a test pilot to get his degree. He was passed up by NASA due to the lack of college.

    I wasted ~$15k to get the final credits I needed for my degree since I was so close due to my experience and education in the Navy. I wish that employers would use college education as a favorable metric instead of a simple go / no-go. It's lazy and idiotic. When I worked for URENCO there was a requirement for a college degree to be anything more than an Operator. I saw several FAR more qualified co-workers get passed over for promotion simply because they didn't yet have a degree. Even management was frustrated at their narrowed selection.

    Should an ambitious 18 y/o attend college after graduating high school. Probably. Should a company hire a 24 y/o college graduate over a more qualified 30 y/o just because the 24 y/o has a fancy piece of paper? Probably not.

    I understand that there are some professions that need a rigid structure with formal licensing such as Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers but a degree is almost always a direct PART of this process. There are others that are bifurcated. Probably the two most notable are in the Nuclear and Aerospace fields. You don't need to have a college education to be a nuclear operator or a pilot and you can gain decades of experience in each. To create an artificial barrier to further career progress just seem absurd and counter productive to me....
     
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  2. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

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    Bernie Madoff wishes he would have gotten in on the higher education scam.

    There are useful classes, there are things that should be learned in the classroom but that is all an afterthought. First thing is how long and how many useless class can they get you to pay for.
     
  3. Spacep0d

    Spacep0d Member

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    #3 Spacep0d, Dec 8, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
    I've never had a degree and never needed one. However, I'm a 3D artist (or just 'artist' before 3D art was a thing) and have been a professional in video game dev and AR/VR for 31.5 years now. We're uniquely able to prove our merit with pictures and video. Everything we need to know is buried in software and software documentation along with an understanding of how to maintain and tune our personal computers. In the olden days, you couldn't even go to school for what I do so we had to learn by doing. You really had to want it too, because it wasn't easy...especially before the Internet and YouTube.

    But, avoiding college wasn't so obviously a good choice when I was 20 back in 1989. Everyone thought I needed a degree but I knew I didn't need one and I was right. Companies (in my field) which require a degree for artists are few, far between, and hella stupid.

    I'm glad I avoided student loan debt. I went from making $6.50 an hour at a retail art store to $555 a day (for a while). I wish I was investment-minded back then! I was 20 and just getting my first taste of freedom.

    I agree with the OP though. People sometimes get too fixated on a degree when it really doesn't matter, aside from crushing debt and some questionable ideology being taught nowadays on college campuses.
     
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  4. bruce4000

    bruce4000 Member

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    There are a lot of jobs where you shouldn’t really need a college degree. However, bosses I worked for generally took the view that a college degree showed you could stick with something for four years and weren’t a flake like so many people. US should have more trade schools.
     
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  5. nwdiver

    nwdiver Well-Known Member

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    I generally agree with that perspective. But something like being honorably discharged from the military after 4 years should carry the same weight (and in many case it does). I was able to get my job at URENCO without a college degree BECAUSE of my military service but even that only went so far. It was frustrating because there wasn't really anything I was exposed to in my college courses that my time in the military PLUS another ~6 years in commercial nuclear hadn't already taught me. Just more expensive hoops to jump through.
     
  6. Spacep0d

    Spacep0d Member

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    This is the age-old argument, but I would never go into crushing debt just for that. If the degree really isn't necessary it's fine to skip it, but I would spend that time and money learning skills and gaining experience relevant to one's chosen profession. This is especially true given that some of the competition will have degrees. I think a lot of people who skip college tend not to work on their own to improve their skills and this will put one at a disadvantage for some hiring managers (especially those with degrees).

    Then again when everyone has a degree I think it matters less if the job in question doesn't really require a degree by any oversight/licensing board of some type. You know, the ol' Barista Degree. There are a lot of fresh-faced young graduates with positively useless degrees out there.
     
  7. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I don't agree with a degree as a requirement for any number of jobs. However, I will take up the fight for a college education so it has a voice here.

    While my undergraduate degree is in Civil Engineering, and I have never practiced a single day of Civil Engineering, I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. I learned a lot about how things work, how to approach problems analytically, and learned a bunch of higher level math. I also was rewarded with a feedback loop which showed me that the more I applied myself to the work, the better my grades became. That improved my work ethic, which translated to being a dedicated employee, and then employer, over my career.

    Nothing I have done required a degree on paper. But I personally feel that I couldn't have done any of it as well as I had if I hadn't gotten that degree. Since I don't have the alternate case, I cannot say that with any certainty. But I can say that they were the most growth-oriented four years of my life outside of being a toddler.
     
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  8. Spacep0d

    Spacep0d Member

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    My brother got a degree from a prestigious University and ended up doing the same thing I was doing (video game dev—art). I even helped get him his first job working with me. He's super smart and carved his own path from there but it's funny how we took two different paths to the same place.
     
  9. Tiger

    Tiger Active Member

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    It is probably a statistical indicator of something, but not everything, and probably not relevant in every field of application. If you are sufficiently knowledgeable of your field, you can hire people who do not check such generic boxes. Like Elon does.
     
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  10. cpa

    cpa Active Member

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    My take on college is that it is supposed to make a person more well-rounded. I don't know the curriculum requirements for civil engineering students at UTA, but I would hope that it included a host of undergraduate courses diametrically opposite to STEM courses. History, English, foreign language, philosophy, sociology, film, you name it. It broadens and might even pierce one's bubble, as it were. You meet students who have no desire or talent for engineering or science, or the converse if you are an art history major. You might make life-long friends or a spouse in those fields. You might even understand how they approach situations due to the way their brains are wired or how their formative years shaped their thinking and problem-solving abilities. You meet people who (as they say in western Pennsylvania) came from away.

    Some of my best classes at Figueroa Tech were in history, Spanish, and literature. They were infinitely more entertaining and personally enriching than the eight accounting classes and six general business classes that were required for a BS in Business Administration, accounting emphasis.

    Most of us are pretty immature at 18. Many grow up after serving in the military because they learn lots of life's social lessons while in uniform, and they can apply those lessons when back in civilian life.

    I believe that a college degree is not mandatory for many adult jobs, as pointed out above. Yet a degree delays entering the workplace until we have hopefully matured and proved that we can execute the basic skills to function as responsible adults.

    Just my two cents. . .
     
  11. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

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    College makes for well rounded wallets of administration and faculty.

    The "well rounded" is a salesman talking point.
     
  12. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I disagree with this. Maybe because I went for an engineering degree, but I never felt like any of my classes were useless. I still talk about much of what I learned outside of the engineering curriculum. For instance, my 13 year old son loves philosophy, and I've been able to relay a lot of what I learned in one of my philosophy courses and get into the weeds with him on it. My computer science minor wound up being the direction I took after school and led me into starting my own business.

    Maybe the well rounded bit is oversold, and I did go to college in the 90s, when it was significantly more affordable than today's market. But there's no question that it does provide a broad education. An analogy would be physical newspapers vs. the online news of today. The physical newspaper created a situation where one would read all or most of the news printed. Picking up a paper and reading through it, you'd read articles that you probably would never "click" on when there are plenty of others that tickle your interest just a click away. But what we miss are those articles that we would never choose, but absolutely fascinate us and open a new avenue of interest in our lives.

    If we select only the courses that apply to our planned future job, we miss out on the potential for a broader horizon.
     
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  13. nwdiver

    nwdiver Well-Known Member

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    College isn't worthless. It has A LOT of value.
    To be clear. In my OP I wasn't attempting to suggest college has no value. I think there's A LOT of value to going to college. IMHO a 22 year old that went to college IS generally more valuable to the work force than a 22 year old that went directly into the workforce at 18. My irritation is when having a college degree is viewed as somehow necessary and no amount of work experience or education that doesn't end in a fancy piece of paper can make up for.

    Another amusing anecdote from my URENCO days was a guy that was hired as a manager from a Hydro plant. I don't know the entire backstory but he had >20 years of industry experience but no BS. As terms of his hire he was required to complete a 4 year degree in a few months after hire so he spent most night shifts before the plant was online having his subordinates do his homework for him online. Was there really any benefit to this? If you have someone in their mid-40s that is clearly a competent worker is there really value in coaxing them to filling in a few boxes so they can have a $15k piece of paper mailed to them?

    Basically for ~98% of positions that currently require a college degree I would argue that >10 years of similar experience should be viewed as ABSOLUTELY equivalent to a 4 year degree. If you want that job but don't want to spend 10 years working your way up from the bottom... yeah... go to college.
     
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  14. trm2

    trm2 Member

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    That can't be oversold. If anyone reading the internet today can learn this, that is a win.


    It is quite obvious you were not in one of the marketing classes I took, that class was absolutely worthless. The teacher actually read the book to us. Yes, that was all she did.
     
  15. Zextraterrestrial

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    I went back for Environmental Resources Engineering (civil degree) and got my PE license shortly after.
    Would have preferred to prove myself without getting a BS but had fun doing it & lots of disc golf in the process
    Favorite class was by far - Economic Botany...basically what shaped how the world has been populated by humans.
     
  16. ai4px

    ai4px Wes

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    HR departments have gotten lazy... or are they simply taking the easy route to avoid potential lawsuits? I'm being brutally honest here... Did you hire the white guy with 10 years experience in the field instead of the minority candidate with a degree (and not even an internship on his resume)?
    I'm a process control engineer and in my line of work we have had great success with fire control techs fresh out of the navy. Even a mechanic who worked on 30mm cannons in warthogs. I personally interviewed two candidates with BS in network admin and an EE. Neither could answer basic questions relevant to their field. My point is that pieces of parchment do not make you useful to my company.

    When it was time for me to move to a new facility after 19 years, I found my replacement for the company. If he had walked in off the street they would have turned him away. 20 years old, worked as a clerk at autozone. But he made lots of neat things with Arduino processors and home brewed several 3d printers. We got him in the door making ~$60k. HR departments fail to take the time to evaluate a candidate's aptitude. They are so busy trying to check boxes... degree? check. Minority? check. Female? check. There doesn't seem to be a checkbox for aptitude or attitude.

    "You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library."
     
  17. cpa

    cpa Active Member

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    Do I have your consent for your testimonial? :eek::eek:

    Marketing was and is nothing but propaganda permitted by the 1A.
     
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  18. cpa

    cpa Active Member

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    I infer that none of us here went to a liberal arts college. I know I did not. Ohmman did not.

    But a number of my friends did, and they thought the scope of classes that they had to take was enriching to say the least. Sure, some became teachers or went on to law school; they did not pursue a career in their majors. And honestly, there are not a whole lot of job opportunities for philosophy or art history majors unless one wants to seek advanced degrees and teach at the university level.

    Anyway, back to Diver...perhaps another factor about a degree versus no degree may have to do with the applicant's age. It is cheaper for the employer to hire a 23-year old college graduate over a 35-year old person with 15 years' experience. The chances that the college graduate is married with a family are much less than the 35-year old. And the wasted cost of the learning curve for the recent graduate will still be cheaper than hiring the older experienced person.
     
  19. Pilar Beckner

    Pilar Beckner Member

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    I totally agree with this statement.
     
  20. brokimnisbu

    brokimnisbu New Member

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    #20 brokimnisbu, Dec 30, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2020
    This is quite a controversial topic. Yeah you are right that having a college degree does not imply having experience or good knowledge in the field. So, I agree with you that college education should be considered as a favorable metric instead of a go / no-go.

    But on the other hand, I can tell you from my experience. I am still a college student and I can say that the majority of my acquaintances can be divided into two groups. Those who already have a degree or are college students mostly are abler to think critically and analyze, it is easier to have a constructive conversation with them, they are more insightful regarding politics, environment, reading, etc. On the contrary, those who decided not to study after high school usually stopped in their personal development. I find it more difficult to communicate with them. Again, this is just my experience, I do not want to offend anyone. My point is that sometimes college degree is not all about the piece of paper but more about the level of personal development.

    Of course, there are students who don’t care about their degree and knowledge, they have their homework done by someone, by looking for writing services like mentioned on [commercial link] and they care only about grades. Surely if this is the way a student studies throughout years but not occasionally due to the lack of time, then their degree is just a piece of paper not worth consideration.
     

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