And that’s too bad. There’s a lot of jobs which don’t have much of a chance of advancement and they’re not a particular good fit for someone who’s ambitious. But they’re also perfectly decent jobs. Having worked for a major financial services firm, I’m thinking of jobs in new account processing, cashiering and other related jobs.
In non-technical fields, a degree used to be seen as a filter, signalling that you were above-average academically and conscientious enough to complete a four year degree.
Now that we push everyone into college and offer watered-down programs that virtually guarantee getting a degree with minimal work or intelligence, the signalling value of a degree has plummeted. You can be completely average, or below average, and eake out a degree today while maintaining a full party or protest schedule.
The other reason was that we thought a four year degree would make you more balanced, with greater general knowledge and a more open mind. That also seems to have been lost in many degree programs which seem to be more about indoctrinating students into an orthodoxy than teaching them to be open minded.
In software development the need for a degree is dwindling. Google no longer requires a degree for software developers, and neither do many other smaller businesses. It’s easier to test for skills in software, and to sneak in IQ tests as ‘coding exams’. And since most programming is teamwork, a lot of training goes on anyway.
I’ve seen enough great programmers without degrees in CS, and enough terrible ones with degrees from good schools, that the only time I’d filter out the non-degreed is if Inhad so many applications that I simply couldn’t handle them all. Then the degree becomes the first filter. Other than that, I don’t care. The interview is far more important, along with a sample of work.
I’m a bit of two minds on the degree requirements. I guess my question is, assuming a company isn’t hiring a degree-less 18 to 22 year old to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc, what are they hiring them to actually “do” at work? Back in the early 90s when I was home for the summers, I often worked temp jobs doing random grunt work in various office parks in the area. Mostly paper filing, data entry, stuff like that. One actually turned into a sort of internship for the summer because I was able to do a big “mail merge” for one of the trainers who desperately needed to figure out how to rapidly create a hundred form letters. But I kind of feel like companies don’t have a lot of that sort of low-level grunt work these days. They also don’t do a lot of training either as far as I can tell.
I can see if in lieu of a degree, a young person did something like built their own web site or developed some apps or demonstrated an interest and ability in sales somehow. It’s just clear to me what they would be hired to do or where.
I’m really more familiar with the opposite extreme where companies actively recruit students with top grades and all the right internships from top schools.
I actually learned AutoCAD in a high school drafting class. During the summer I sometimes worked as a CAD draftsman while I was getting my degree in Civil Engineering.
The nice thing about getting a degree in civil engineering, even though I didn’t practice very long, was that I did get some background in stuff like project management, advanced math, some programming, and other assorted classes that I was able to apply later on in my career.
I just remembered one interesting exception. One of my first jobs out of college was a summer temp job doing reservations for a rental car company on an 800 number and they only hired a group of recent college grads because they basically crammed a 4 week training into a week. They wanted people used to learning quickly.
But that was a very rare situation as it wouldn’t be typical for a college grad to want to work on an 800 number booking car rentals long term