The increasing irrelevance of degrees

We have college interns and new college hires every year. They are, as a group, better and more accomplished every year. I wouldn’t hire me and most of my friends from 25 years ago compared to the new hires these days (and we are, as a group, super successful at work). YMMV, obviously.


Off-topic response, but did you call them out to the journal editor? That is a pretty serious ethics violation that could lead to retraction of their paper and possibly disciplinary action from their institution.

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Not able to what, exactly? :slight_smile: There is a real problem with age discrimination, and addressing this could help address hiring problems.


Depends on the profession. You can have post high-school education and training that is more than enough for a profession.

I would agree with this.

I think Taiwan is very backwards in requiring 4-year degrees just for people to do sales jobs

But on a personal level bachelor degrees aren’t a guarantee to earn a higher income, sure they help but they aren’t necessary.
I work in corporate travel and my colleague has a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality management that she paid for. I do not. I have a Diploma in Business (roughly equivalent to the first year of uni in Australia’s education model). I also didn’t pay for it, a previous employer did. I earn about $20,000-$30,000AUD more than she does as we get paid performance based bonuses and I get more done in the same amount of time.

But someone smarter than me might be able to skip ahead into a higher position more easily than I can.
It’s all relative. There’s a combination of personal traits and ability as well as education and networking.

It’s hard to say ‘degrees are irrelevant’ but it’s also hard to say ‘degrees are relevant’ in my humble opinion


Some of what a degree should be is fostering a mind set of problem solving, self research from credible sources, team work , pressure and so forth. Providing at least a basic benchmark that prospective employers
can check of that box.


Agreed but a degree isn’t the only way to learn these skills. It’s just an easy way to prove them


It’s just another data point. If you’te young and have no experience it counts for a lot. If you’ve been in your field awhile and have done a lot then it doesn’t mean so much. (Could even count against you if you’ve been around awhile and not done much, lol!)


Physically hard labor type jobs. Generally speaking older folks have more health issues and aren’t carrying around heavy stuff as much as young people. There are exceptions of course.

That’s fantastic, good to hear. Our experiences have been the exact opposite unfortunately.

I think it makes a difference that you are a farmer in Taiwan and he is in aerospace in the US. National and professional contexts make a big difference, as do individual schools and individuals

With the broadest possible brush, degrees are becoming increasingly irrelevant. But there is a lot of wiggle room in that statement.


Sure, that makes sense in aero space probably. One would hope they have a higher standard at least. But less technical jobs are where we see the useless degrees shine. We hire lab techs and such as well. Someone needs to be doing the chemistry, tissue cultures etc. Once upon a time I expected a certain level of capabilities from bachelor and masters grads, I since do not :sweat_smile: as we need to train people anyway, I dont bother looking at the degree and more on their capabilities of simply moving around and fixing things and listening then acting.

We don’t normally expect farm hands to have a high education, but they still need the critical thinking skills. The lab stuff, testing, recipe creation, nutrition etc is something we once expected to filter resumes partly based on education. Not anymore.

I think this is precisely what the thread was about. I agree with it as well. Degrees have a use, 99% of the population having degrees isn’t really needed.


tl;dr; have connections. :roll:


At this point, I’m not sure anymore.

On one hand, I managed to become the IT guy of some pretty big names: IBM Global Services (although it’s more of a staffing agency than anything), Hulu, AT&T’s DirecTV, Mazda’s PR, a bunch more, and currently L’Oréal Taiwan, all with 2 semesters of community college that I didn’t even graduate from (went to school during the dot-com bubble burst and my dad talked me into switching to Pharm Tech), and even then, whatever I learned is outdated by now (FDD and SCSI drives, anyone?).

On the other hand, minus being a Director of IT once, I haven’t really gotten any top ranking jobs, which the fact that the biggest mistake in my career was falling back to Helpdesk to keep my bills paid when I got laid off from said position didn’t help either (I’m guessing employers see it as a sign of incompetence or something), and I still have a big “what if” about whether or not school would’ve helped me in the past, or if it will help if I do go back to school.

Either way, I can’t survive on Helpdesk wages forever; I literally had to work the last 3.5 years doing QA for cell towers to get out of debt, establish a savings, and save up for a down payment on a house (although who am I kidding? The housing market in both US and Taiwan are disasters in their own ways).


Indeed they are. One does not need a fancy degree from Stanford to see this!



Sounds like your resume’ needs a rewrite? :thinking:

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I’ve paid some “professional service” to do it once and my response rates got worse… I guess I’ll pay another company.

Why not try ChatGPT?

Also, use a LaTeX template instead of a normal text editor like Word, can make it very sharp

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This pretty much sums up what many people hear on the daily here. Also what many families, businesses, companies, schools etc have to deal with on the daily. :weary:


What does it say?

First panel:

BOSS: First day on the job? Your first task is to sweep the floor.

HAPLESS DUDE ON THE RIGHT: But I graduated from college.

Second panel

BOSS (taking the broom): Oh I forgot that part. Let me show you how to sweep the floor.