Which Is More Important: Skills or A Degree?

Skills Or A Degree?
An Unexpected Journey
Apprentice University | 8.23.2021

For generations, we have been conditioned to spend the first third of our lives chasing education, and later on, the college degrees required for eligibility into the workforce. These degrees allowed us to define and pave the way for the remaining two-thirds of our lives. This implies that the nature of the work we do, along with the skills and knowledge needed to accomplish it, has remained unchanged for decades - which is no longer true. While generations before us likely held one job for life, most of us have had several. The generations after us can be expected to hold several jobs and careers throughout their professional lives as well. The current state of today’s workplace is changing. Now and for the foreseeable future, the correct skills are valued over academic capabilities alone.

Clearly, the future of work will not solely depend on college degrees; it will be about the right job skills. Those without college degrees now have the opportunity of pursuing successful careers and introducing more diversity into the workforce.

According to the World Economic Forum, upwards of 1 billion jobs, nearly one-third of all jobs worldwide, are anticipated to be revolutionized by technology in the next decade. This is already happening. Think of the apps you use to shop and restaurants using tablets to place orders. Stores need these apps, tablets, and other technologies to stay up and running at all hours. And because customer data is collected and maintained to study as trends, they need data analysts. This data must be kept secure which means cybersecurity operations must be run and maintained.

In these situations, people are the driving force making sure technology works smoothly and correctly. This means there is a rapid and extraordinary rise in digital jobs. These jobs need talent with relevant skills, and these skills can be learned outside of the college degree.

If we shift our focus from degrees to skills, we’ll open the door to a bigger workforce that will help close employment and opportunity gaps. This means moving towards a skills-based education and encouraging an employment framework that embraces not only credentials and certification, but the attainable skill set required as well.
If we shift our focus from degrees to skills, we'll open the door to a bigger workforce that will help close the employment and opportunity gaps.
Click to Tweet

The future of work calls for a combination of hard and soft skills. This means that employers are and will be looking for much more than academic courses listed on a piece of paper. Employers want people who are detail-oriented, have a collaborative mindset, and creative problem-solving skills. These are skills that can be learned, often through real-world experiences. One popular way to achieve this is through apprenticeship programs.

As the lines between standard business roles and technology continue to blur, there is a uniting of both digital and human projects best suited for people with a wide and comprehensive mindset and skill set.

Business leaders agree that finding candidates with the right skills and mindset is a serious challenge. Basing a four-year degree on employability means depending on talent with expendable skills as opposed to lifelong learners with the relevant skills required in the 21st century and beyond.

The modern workplace is ever-changing and to keep up we need to change our mindset around skills and the approach to hiring potential candidates. We need to open these doors to allow more diversity and talent into our workforce.

At Apprentice University, we believe that your skills are important and valuable outside of a degree. We guide our students through real-world experiences to grow their individual skill sets and put them to work. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.