Are Skills More Important Than Degrees in the Tech Dominated World Today?


Are Skills More Important Than Degrees in the Tech Dominated World Today?

There is some heated debate going on the topic- which is more important, skill or degree in the present world.

As of now, all major tech giants of the world have indicated that skill does have more relevance over degrees for various reasons. Indications are clear that people need to make a shift from the age-old wisdom which is- go to school, complete studies and school tasks, get a degree and land up working in a good job. Having a list of higher degrees in hand is no longer a guarantee to higher jobs.

Employers are today increasingly looking out for candidates who possess a variety of talents, skills and personality traits. And, evaluate it for yourself, does all these attributes essentially come with big degrees or are there chances that candidate who do not have an intensive degree in hand may also own such attributes?

Degree Programs at best, serves as a foundation, but how such foundation knowledge can be applied at practical work, for it, some kind of practical experience is all that can add a spark. Also, Knowledge from college may be power but it neither augurs nor is a guarantor of success. This is why, millennial need to work towards sharpening their skills through experience and attend skill-based training programs to go closer to greater opportunities of quality employment.

However, some job markets calls for a degree and therefore to enter such markets, students do not just need experience but a degree too. Graduates need to keep in mind that leadership, management, research and other desired positions continue to value University degrees along with quality experience. So, students need to keep into consideration that along with multiple qualifications, they need to in coherence with it, take up skill-based training to qualify for their dream job in higher levels.

Application of mind and logic can be applied with practical exposure and acquiring of the right skill set. Soft skills such like language and communication skills, personality development skills, management skills and behavioural skills are some of the most essential skills considered vital in a candidate before they apply for a job.

The reason why there is a rampant unemployment problem prevailing in the world today is because there is a serious gap between elite educational credentials and actual individual competence.

What giant tech companies think about it?

According to Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, “In the past, people were educated, and learned job skills, and that was enough for a lifetime. Now, with technology changing rapidly and new job areas emerging and transforming constantly, that’s no longer the case,”

“We need to focus on making lightweight, continuous education widely available. This is just as crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace.”

The CEO of IBM said, “Getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree. What matters most is relevant skills.”

Similarly, the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner has been pushing the message that, it is relevant skills that matters to attract jobs at LinkedIn.

David Blake, Co-Founder of the Learning platform Degreed said, “It shouldn’t matter how you picked up your skills, just that you did.”

However, a significant point to note is that, just as tech giants are advocating for a skills-centered system, along with it they are also emphasising on engaging into lifelong learning as automation and other technological advances most commonly render one’s skills obsolete.

The switch to “new collar” jobs is a transition phase for all big to medium to small companies across the world. And the words of the Google CEO rightly sum up everything that most tech giants feel. To quote what Sundar Pichai said on education taking into context digital influence in economy, “Moving beyond code and intensive degrees to these constant lightweight and ubiquitous forms of education will take resources and experimentation.”

“We should make sure that the next generation jobs are good jobs, in every sense. Rather than thinking of education as the opening act, we need to make sure it’s a constant, natural and simple act across life- with lightweight, flexible courses, skills and programs available to everyone.”

Various attempts to Skill Up Youths

Many top tech companies have started to reskill employees to help companies thrive the changing landscape of jobs, keep workforce alive and by such attempts they have also managed to earn greater revenue.

Automation process is becoming ever more pervasive. Take for instance Google’s self-driving cars to Apple’s communication technology to Amazon’s retail model- the one thing that’s common in all these three instances is how fast automation process is catching up.

In all this, debate on preparing workers for the future is intensifying and the plausible solution derived out of such debate is to prepare workers for the future that is largely focused on what educators and employers are doing or can do more of. Many reputed Universities of the world such like Northeastern University in collaboration with employers of tech companies are working upon to create joint-curricula which ensure students have the skills that employers look for in the employees. Northeastern Universities Co-op programs have a network of more than 3,000 employers globally.

Co-op programs are turning up to be a great success because this effectively addresses upon the educators’ concern that also the schools are not just a means to employment but more than it and also the concerns of employers that it is not just their sole responsibility to train and educate workers. While in many other countries, the government is taking up an active participation to take charge of the matter. They provide all the support to workforce development programs such like funding and creating apprenticeships in which, participants are paid modest wages while the training sessions are on.

Markle Foundation in partnership with Microsoft is aiming to give the educators a sharp picture of what skills are in demand in their region while also ensuring and helping businesses to adopt skills-based hiring and training practices.

Google has taken a lead to introduce new programs that intents to offer free online training for students and teachers, small business owners, job seekers, startup founders and developers to familiarize them with the company tools. Similarly, Apple is offering digital and computer literacy skills which most modern day jobs demand. Apple’s LearnQuest Initiative – a paid program is focused upon providing people knowledge to develop apps, understand Apple products and get Apple-authorized certificates.

Thus, for a potential employer and student seeking out for jobs, it is a matter of staying vigilant of what innovative skilling programs are out there in the programs which can help them acquire the necessary skill sets to qualify the criterions of modern day jobs. It’s a time where things are undergoing a shift and therefore, our thought process too needs to do the same.

Do you think likewise or are your opinions slightly different? Do; write on what you think on it by dropping a comment in the comment box below.

Next read:

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Skill Space Companies to Watch Out For in 2018

About the Author
Author: Ananya DebroyWebsite: http://edtechreview.in
Ananya is currently working as the Content Manager at EdTechReview. She has a keen interest in Ed Tech and the ways in which it is strengthening the education sector as a whole. She is an avid reader and loves to meet relevant people & unleash new updates on various innovations in the EdTech world as it indirectly helps her pen down well-researched blogs on the niche. Follow her @AnanyaDebRoy

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