Can work experience be more valuable for job seekers than a degree? The age old question that has strong arguments for and against on both sides, but how can you even compare the two?
A sports degree alone won’t get you a job as a professional footballer, the same way that experience in software design will not get you a position working on the next iOS at Apple. So, is there a middle ground somewhere between them? Can you not have one without the other?
Some argue that a degree is not a mere qualification, but it’s a demonstration of a person’s ability to consistently work hard and learn an extremely complex subject matter. Students doing a degree also gain invaluable experience in other parts of life, such as in intellectual, social, sporting, personal, artistic, and ethical pursuits.
Alongside the personal development that the student experience provides, degrees are an absolute essential for many professions out there. Doctors, engineers, dentists, psychologists, and lawyers, the list goes on! There is no questioning that the knowledge gained through these types of qualifications is invaluable in securing a job in a chosen field, and contributes massively to socially developing people outside of the workplace too.
For work experience
Others would argue that on-the-job experience for the same amount of time that a degree would take to complete produces a much more employable candidate, as actual experience in the workplace gives people a deep understanding of their industry, a strong work ethic right from the start, and financial awareness like no graduate would have at 21.
Experience usually comes in the form of apprenticeships, which have proven increasingly popular with school leavers who do not wish to peruse a solely academic path over the past few decades. The same way that degrees are essential for some roles, work experience is equally as valuable on its own for others, such as sales executives, automotive mechanics, web developers, and marketing & social-media managers. Qualifications almost don’t matter at all in our society’s highest paid (yet most rarely acquired) professions, like writers, footballers, actors, and musicians!
Yet, it really all comes down to what you want.
Do you want to get experience from the bottom and work your way up to the top? Perhaps you want to enter at a high level and start your career in a management position? Do you want to turn your hobby into a career and become the next Ed Sheeran?
The most important thing to consider when asking the question “Is experience more valuable than a degree?” is ‘what do you actually want?’
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