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Degrees vs. Experience

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    The Architect

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While we all had some fun with our phone call with the spammer yesterday, there is one aspect of his sales pitch that caught my interest, and after a discussion about it with Sanctuary, I'm inclined to ask you all a question about your thoughts.

I know for a fact that I'm not alone in having lost job opportunities and prospects purely due to my lack of a bachelors degree, and it has always bothered me that the only two options that many people have when coming out of high school are to either go into debt for half their lives with student loans or go straight into unskilled labor for the rest of their lives.

For me, I've always had a very heavy interest in computers, since they were first introduced to me back in the 80's. I started writing code before I even owned one of my own, and by the time I was out of high school, I was already much more versed in IT than a lot of people were coming out of college at that time. And, the reason I was so well versed before I ever entered college was purely to do with the fact that I was so devoted to them in my personal time; my skill didn't have much at all to do with how smart I was or how fast I learned.

When something is your passion, you take the time to learn it on your own and build your skills as you go. In past generations, it was this devotion to an art that very quickly turned hobbies into careers. However, as time has gone on and mastering a skill in today's world has become more and more complex, colleges and universities have started to ease their way into being the largest thing a company looks at when hiring new employees. In many cases, a person can have all the devotion and raw talent in the world for a position, but because they lack a sheet of paper that says 'degree' to confirm it, they don't even get a second look when sorting through the resumes of applicants.

So, my question to you today becomes this: Should there be equivalency degrees offered to those who can demonstrate raw talent and raw skill without formal education backing it, whether that talent comes from working on something as a hobby or from years of professional experience? If you were responsible for hiring someone to fill a skilled position, what would you be able to take such a degree seriously, or would you disregard it and look for someone with a Bachelors?
The sky was the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel. - William Gibson



    The Last Exile

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I think experience counts for a lot and yet - it's in many ways the least valued.

Now although I have an education - I was to say that too often people put more emphasis on that then they should. It's a point of annoyance with me in many ways.

Particularly University vs. College.

Where I'm from - University is theory - now theory is great for some schools of thought not so good in others.

College is practical - meaning hands on.

Keeping that in mind - I almost felt bad for the University Degree guy Atnevon called - because - I can see how often people are screwed over for not having a peice of paper saying "I know what I'm doing" when they've had years of actually doing it! So in some ways - "buying" a degree like that - illegal or not - I think is justifiable.

Where I had a major issue with what they were doing was in the transcripts. Yes - a small detail I know - but these "transcripts" would contain grades and for some reason that really rubbed me the wrong way. Probably because I saw so many of my friends work so hard to get good grades that it felt wrong. That it would be devaluing everything they had sacrificed to get those grades. I know - it's strange that I feel one way on one thing - and one way on another.

I like the idea of implementing something for those with experience but I'm not exactly sure what the best way to go about it would be.

For me when it comes to hiring, when I've been in that position I've looked at three things only: (in no order of preference)

1. Attitude (The ability to fit in with the team)
2. Potential
3. Ability.

Nothing else matters to me. Can they do the job is what it boils down to. Plain and simple and frankly that is how it should be IMHO.
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    Green Eggs And Ham

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I think experience and knowledge of the job should be more valued than a piece of paper saying that a person should be able to do something.

Take computer jobs. At the store I work in I have two friends...one who is kind of a bum...he does not really want anything in life period. The other is going to College for IT. We had a networking problem...The college child said she could fix it and it would take no time. Two days she worked on it...almost had it but no cigar. My bum friend comes in and asks what was going on. He looks at the computers for a moment...in one hour he has everything working fine and dandy and all our machines are kicking and running fine with no problem or Crind Poll errors.

My bum friend loves computers, has no money to afford college, most student loan offices won't touch him and I agree that college is sort of...a needless thing.

My college friend is loves computers, has all the money in the world being thrown at her thanks to mommy and daddy, and thinks you are stupid unless you go to college.

Me I honestly don't care. I work hard laying brick for my family. I test out what I can when I can. I was a manager, a store owner, a driller, a chicken hanger, a computer store assistant manager. I can build a house better then most people, and I can take care of my family like a man should do. But I cannot get the jobs I want because I have not gone to college.

Paper is nothing, the brain is where it is at. They should challenge everyone that ever applies to do something hard...something that the job will need them to do eventually, and just see how well they make it through.

Hell...I am running for mayor of my town here in two and a half years. It's gonna be hard for me. Gothic looking lad turning into suit, tie, and boots that don't have metal spiking out of them. Because I don't look a certain way or haven't acted a certain way in this town I will be fought against. But I have the knowledge of what people want in my position. I know what the blue collar and poor people in my town need. And I know what I must do to make it happen. But I am sure the local money bags will probably buy it all out and make sure I don't win. Because of papers.

I forgot where I was going with that....Vote Alan Moody for president...and knowledge over college.





    Horton Hatches The Egg

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I feel that both are important in their own rights.

Experience is something that you sometimes just can't get no matter how much schooling you've had. OFten, it goes hand in hand with common sense which is generally not the type of thing you see written on the black board.

On the other hand, sometimes the knowledge of experience lacks a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the job and the subject and being educated certainly is never a bad thing. Many people work hard to go through college, to pay for it, trying to make ends meet and I can't say that I don't believe some people shouldn't be rewarded for their hard work.

I guess, what it comes down to me is that all things should be considered, if they can be. Being written off for having no experience or no degree is frustrating for many people and being handed a job just because you have one or the other isn't necessarily the best route, either. Individual situations warrant individual decisions which is the whole issue because most companies can't afford to have a policy like that and everyone must follow the same standards. Unfortunately, the current standard is having a degree.



    The Cat In The Hat Comes Back

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both experience and a "degree" are important, and personally I'm thinking experience is more important. It shows that you know what you're doing. A piece of paper saying you took a bunch of classes doesn't mean you know what your doing.

I have one of those lovely pieces of paper (in a drawer somewhere or other), and it's not doing me a damn bit of good. All it does is collect dirt. I haven't been able to find a job. the jobs I keep applying for want experience, or say I'm over qualified. But for me to work in the field I have a degree in (psychology), I'd have to put myself way into debt and get an even higher degree (at least a Masters), and I just really don't want to have to do that.

I've been so tempted to lie and not put my college degree on applications, just to have a chance to get a job.
just give me a minute, i'm thinking...

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