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Newcomer II

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Ravenshroud:   You are certainly correct.   95% of my skill and knowledge comes from my experience and the individual professional development that I've done since graduating from college. For what it is worth,  I shared your very thoughts when I graduated with an associates degree in networking and had a couple of certs under my belt.   I was doing pretty well in salary and thought 'why do i need to waste my time going further when certificates would be more valuable in terms of growing my skillset'?  Then i went for my first management position, and I was pitted against people with similar experience, but with that 4 year degree.   I didn't get it, or any of the subsequent attempts at breaking into management.    That was in '07.   I decided to go back and get a degree (and honestly I chose a path that I knew I would ACE easily (network/systems administration) and i blew through it as fast as I could.   In 2010, I landed a job as  CIO at a college.   Obviously everyone has a different experience, but for me the degree was literally the price of entrance.  Almost as soon as i graduated, suddenly my years of experience and certificates actually meant something because they weren't the main course on my resume anymore, they were garnish.


For the most part you will never get that seat at the table without a degree because of the most dangerous words in the english language:   "Thats the way we have always done it"

The stuffy suits that are already sitting at that table have degrees, and they are the ones that are writing the job descriptions and setting the hiring policies.  Ever heard of confirmation bias?   We tend to believe that the work that we did to get where we are is the best (and only in some people's minds) way to be successful. They are loathe to promote someone to the senior ranks who did not come up the traditional route that they are used to.  I have tried to hire people without degrees and have been shut down.  

It is absolutely discrimination, though not in the legal sense.  They want to see the work being put in.   As flawed as this argument may be,  hiring managers want to see a degree because it shows them that you were capable of devoting yourself to self-improvement on a multi-year endeavor.   Certificate exams can be cheated.  I hired a guy once with a slew of microsoft and cisco certs, but as it would turn out he brain-dumped and bluffed his way through the exam.   Sure, you can cheat in college too but it is much more difficult to do, and you have to do it many many times to get through.   

 

The attitude is beginning to shift towards recognizing alternative education paths (ie, certs),  but its going to be a long while before that really materializes in to high level positions that are available to non-graduates.  

 

 

 

 

Community Champion

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?


@Ravenshroud wrote:

 

 

To me, this [an educational requirement] is discrimination against those that didn't attend and not a measure of value to my business.


There seems to be a hint in this comment that there is something wrong with discrimination.  We lawfully discriminate all the times in our life (e.g. Pepsi vs Coke; McDonald's vs Burger King), and it is a good thing.  The key is that there  are two types of discrimination:

 

  • Lawful Discrimination --  recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another. e.g. "discrimination between right and wrong"
  • Unlawful Discrimination -- the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.  e.g. "victims of racial discrimination"  (reference)

In our society today, we feel it lawful for the hiring process to discriminate based on provable educational experience.

 

Disclaimer: IANAL.  

Newcomer II

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Denbesten, exactly right. What some view as discrimination, organizations view as due care/diligence.
Newcomer III

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Is it care and due diligence or is it a checkmark?

 

If they won't interview you if you do not have a college degree, that is discrimination and that is what is occurring.  If you have 30 years of experience and no degree versus someone with 10 years of experience and a degree, the latter will often get an interview all else being equal.  That is poor judgment and many companies have come to realize this.

 

If they choose you over another candidate because of your particular degree and its value to their organization, that is reasonable.  This is not what is happening in many organizations.

Newcomer II

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Ravenshroud, yes..  I agree.  Many companies have recognized this, but most have not.    And with that said, it is only really discrimination if it is illegal, so it will likely be a long time before this mindset changes.     You are also correct that it is a checkmark to even get considered.   At my institution, if the job description says that a degree is required,  HR filters candidates before they ever land on my desk for review.  It is literally the price of admission to be considered.

 

The game is what it is, and we have to make a choice on whether we are willing to play it or be played by it.

 

 

Newcomer III

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

A BA/BS degree should be considered 4 years of non-experiential learning.  If you have 4 years of experiential learning, that should be considered more valuable, if not at least as valuable.

 

Reading a book and taking tests should never be considered a requirement.  Being able to do the work should be the ONLY criteria REQUIRED.  A degree should be considered 2 years of general education and 2 years of theory education within a particular subject. 

 

Many companies will only interview you if you have a degree regardless of degree type or major.  These are the worst discriminators.

Anyone with a degree (education) should at least understand this as discrimination, though not illegal discrimination, from a sociological perspective.  The rest is societal programming.  The word discrimination does not imply legality.  It implies not evaluating equally due to a prejudice or bias without consider all other values.  Legality is a whole separate issue in this case.

Newcomer II

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

 

I think it is not as much discrimination against/for certain people with a degree as it is the law of supply and demand.  When the economy is booming, my lack of a degree didn't matter, so long as I had the demonstrable skills.   When the recovery took far too long, and more engineers with/without degrees were looking for work, the ones with degrees had a better shot.  That's economics.   

 

I had job offers in 2012-2014, but for not nearly what I wanted/needed in salary.   The market doesn't discriminate unlawfully -- it just is.

 

Newcomer III

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Great response on supply and demand, but in supply and demand you look for the best candidate or value and considering a BA or BS as  PRIMARY delineation is short-sighted.  It is most often valued even more so than 4 years of experiential learning even knowing that 2 years of college is not even focused on a specific major.

 

If everyone had the same access to college then it would not be discriminatory.  Given the cost of a degree and requirement that degrees be accredited even if not evaluated for value, access and alternatives are not equal.

Advocate I

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Jonathan,

 

I have to say that reading your response, especially as a CIO of a University, is a little disconcerting.  There are several reasons that a degree, and especially a 4 year degree (over a 2 year degree) is extraordinarily valuable to hiring organizations.

 


@brennj4 wrote:

 

The attitude is beginning to shift towards recognizing alternative education paths (ie, certs),  but its going to be a long while before that really materializes in to high level positions that are available to non-graduates.  

 


Ok.  Last things first.  There are certain skills and experiences that you need in order to become an effective leader and member of a team, especially in a "White Collar" environment.  You can acquire those experiences several ways, but for the vast majority of folks that experience is going to come in the form of a combination of 4-year Undergrad and 2-year Graduate program through the course of their life.  

 

I have met several folks that did not fit that mold, and in fact came up to senior C-suite positions without a degree, without certs, and working on a second chance (e.g. with drug convictions) who performed admirably. Then there was everyone else.  Folks working help desk, as network techs, system admins, etc.  These folks lacked breadth of experience and the social wherewithal to function much beyond their "IT crowd" clique.  It's been almost 20 years, and a handful of these folks actually did go and get 4-year degrees later in life that both broadened their exposure to humanities, arts and culture, and basically threw them into the deep end to survive social interactions and exchange viewpoints with folks outside of their clique. 

 

These folks may have been doomed to low to mid-level tech positions, not because of their resume but because of their worldview and social skills.  Can you answer if you changed more on your resume than just adding a line about finishing a 4 year degree?  Did you add more content, maybe change the format, and reorder things?  You learned a little more about communicating to your customer, the hiring manager and HR right?

 

These are all valuable skills and experiences that will help folks navigate the corporate landscape.  You can call it bad, old fashioned, biased, whatever.  What you're missing is that life, and your career have as much or as more to do with your ability to navigate relationships and communicate outside your specialty than whatever it is you consider your career.  University is a place to learn that, even if only subconsciously.

 

That experience; that knowledge; that is what is being valued by folks considering your future employment.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eric B.

 

 

Newcomer II

Re: Is a 4 year degreee still a requirement?

Ravenshroud:  This is also true, and it is one of the reasons I now write minimum qualification in this manner:  (this is for a helpdesk manager position)

 

Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, Microcomputer Technology or related field and five years experience in a help desk and/or support service microcomputing environment    OR    Associate's degree in Computer Information Systems, Microcomputer Technology or related field and seven years experience in a help desk and/or support service microcomputing environment   OR   ten experience in microcomputing.  One year experience providing supervision with respect to functions such as work order assignment and work monitoring for microcomputer technical staff.


I try to get the organization to adopt this type of sliding scale that values experience in addition to formal training, but not completely exclude talent who have gone an alternative route.  For the most part, this only flies with lower level positions like the one described above.   I recently conducted a search for a higher level position and HR would not budge on the degree requirement.