If you were to scroll down to my author bio here, you would find the perfect encapsulation of this topic.
Long explanation: The “you can’t be a doctor without the right degree” argument has been long used and accepted as a scenario that does not lend itself to this discussion. By and large, however, your college degree is unlikely to have any bearing on your career success. Here are a few reason why we the human beings should put our obsession with degrees to rest. Permanently.
Your degree, regardless its title or stature, is merely a prerequisite to get you a job. Your experience is eventually going to be what people notice. While your job will most likely require a Bachelor’s degree, it probably won’t matter what field it is in. Studies show that less than 30% of college graduates are working in the fields stated on their big-shot degrees.
Instead, focus on doing quality work that you are proud of, whether as a full-time professional or as a part-time/freelancer. Employers are always looking for motivated, determined and passionate people to bring value to their organization. Which brings us to:
Soft skills have replaced degree specialties as the market currency. Employers want you to be able to learn and adapt quickly, be responsive to the task at hand, and be open to change and growth at all times. After all, what good does it do employers if you’re smartest of the lot, but unteachable and unable to adapt?
Given the way modern industries have shaped up, employers seek skills that allow you to work well with others – that means thinking, communicating, and reacting well under all circumstances. This, along with the ability to think out-of-the-box, lends well to individual and group based problem solving – employers need people who are willing to take on any challenge, simply knowing the subject matter is not enough anymore.
Networking skills are more essential and reliable for career growth than your fancy degree. The people you know will, on several occasions, be your guiding path to the career you’re attracted to.
Remember, if no one knows who you are, no one knows how talented or skilled you are – so what good are your academic credentials in that situation? The really successful people, you will find, put as much, if not more, effort in networking with the right people as they do their degree.
At the end of the day, the real proof is right there in the office. Everyone’s got a coworker who’s a genius on paper but fails at even the most basic of teamwork. Compare that to the person who’s always there for their team, multi-tasking effectively and delivering timely work. Who do you think is going to succeed in the long haul?
In an era where highly skilled people are rapidly overtaking highly “qualified” people, it’s clear you control what your future unfolds. Not having a big-shot degree will not hamper your career in any way – your degree doesn’t define you and you are not confined to its boundaries. If you are motivated to do something, put in the hard work, become skilled and the world will take notice.