Not so long ago, education was a privilege of the rich. It automatically meant a good career and a decent salary. Back then, the information was so hard to access that getting a degree, indeed made a person knowledgeable and skilled.
Today, the world has moved to a new era where you can study whatever you want on your own. There are companies like Udemy and Coursera that offer university-backed courses for a relatively low fee. There are universities that provide online education that is more cost- and time-effective. Moreover, there are companies like writepaper.com that help students study and work at the same time.
It may seem that the importance of a formal degree is lost forever. Employers, indeed pay attention to experience far more than to a degree. However, it still would not be right to claim that getting a well-paid job depends on experience only. Degrees still matter. Here is why.
Degree vs. Experience Debate Depends on the Industry
Every industry has well-paid job positions that many people dream of landing. Whether experience trumps education depends on what the job duties are for the role.
For example, if we talk about high-tech fields, pharmaceutical business, or sciences, having a good education is far more important than experience. There are lots of stories where students got well-paid jobs in those fields simply for excellent knowledge, research projects, and credentials.
If we consider jobs in vocational fields, experience may be more important here. For example, a mechanical technician is more valued for their practical input rather than for theoretical knowledge. The same refers to fields like art or sales.
Who Becomes Executive: People With Degrees or With Experience?
Imagine the following situation: you have been working very hard since you dropped out of college. You progressed along the career ladder and built a good team that respects and values you. Now, the senior position is open, and your employer looks for the best candidate for internal promotion to close it.
There is a John Doe who has less experience than you do because he managed to get a diploma years ago. Obviously, he started his career later but with a salary that nearly doubled your entry-level pay rate. He communicates well and works both independently and in a team.
Who gets the job? In 99% of the cases, it’s John. Even if you have a few years of experience more, he has a degree to trump it. Also, John has a better chance of moving upwards to higher positions later. All of this is because of a diploma.
Who Earns More: People With Degrees or With Experience?
Yet again, the question is hard to answer. Except for a few success stories about college dropouts who founded their companies and subsequently made billions, it is really hard to find proof that formal education is now truly useless.
Still, there are far more chances of landing a good job and building a progressive career if you do have a degree. Experience is also important and even critical for some employers. However, gaining a degree is still considered to be worthy of investment.
How About Certificates and Courses?
In some cases, certificates and courses do mean more to employers than your academic credentials. For example, if you are a talented IT professional who learned everything on your own, you have all chances of getting a job with Microsoft by proving your skills with a certificate.
However, let’s say, if you suddenly decide that you are good at working with people and want to try yourself as a social worker or a nurse, you have very few chances of becoming either of them without a formal diploma. There are certain positions that may help you get practical experience while you study, but these jobs are definitely not the ones we call rewarding and well-paid.
Why Do Employers Look for Experience in Entry-Level Resumes?
Employers do prefer educated candidates with some experience to those with none. Of course, this may seem weird to a recent graduate. However, this experience is not expected to be professional. Employers look for soft skills that you’ve gained.
For example, if you did some volunteer work or took leadership roles at university, that also counts. If you studied Data Science, a summer internship position is a maximum that your potential employer expects to see in your resume.
Such brief experiences prove that you are a hard worker and a serious person with intent who wants to invest time and effort into future projects. Also, such employment often provides you with references that the potential employer can use to know you better.
Whether experience trumps education is a long-lasting debate. There is no direct answer to it. However, both should not be neglected. Everything comes with experience, but it is much better if skills are supported with knowledge.
Education is a necessary foundation that allows you to get a coherent and comprehensive experience. Overall, only a few vocational fields value hands-on skills better than theoretical knowledge.