Qualifications vs. Experience
This is a question that always sparks debate amongst many groups of people. I personally love talking about both sides of this particular coin, and today I’d to share my opinions on the matter.
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They’re Both Useful In Different Aspects
If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, qualifications are just as every bit important as the amount of experience you have. If your goal is to be the chairman of a multi-chain organisation – then experience would probably take precedence here.
I find it funny how people are always in favour of the option/path they took whilst they’re advising others on how to progress in their career. Most of us are susceptible to doing this from time to time, and usually we do it simply to make ourselves feel better. It’s just natural human behaviour, but I find it funny no less.
I would personally say that experience nudges ahead of qualifications just a tiny bit.
What would you rather have?
- A plethora of qualifications and no/little experience.
- A garden worth of experience and no/basic qualifications?
They both don’t really sound too great. As with most opposite scenarios involving attributes and skills, having the best of both worlds is ideal.
- It is attractive to employers.
- Shows that you’re a self-starter (I guess.)
If you were to start a business, you would have a better understanding of the barriers one would have to encounter to make it a success. Solving problems in different situations, especially since there is no one to hold your hand.
However, the same could be said for those who have acquired a number of qualifications.
There are quite a few people in society who believe that those with qualifications and little experience are not as ‘useful’ to a business or organisation, compared to those with hordes of experience.
In my opinion, achieving a good result in a degree of your choosing does require a unique skillset.
Universities, at least in the UK, leave you to do your own research. You’re not forced to attend, your only consequence is resounding failure.
At school, during my A-Levels I was an external candidate (studied my final year at home), and I can assure you it was an excruciatingly difficult experience.
Finding the motivation to work through the modules alone is no easy feat, especially for a 17-year old who has never had to do anything for himself, in terms of school work.
Having no teacher by my side for the first time in my life for guidance or advice, meant that I had to do my own research and solve my own problems in order to get over any academic hurdles.
However, I learnt many skills that I could have also acquired, if I were left to my own devices during employment.
But let’s be honest, how often in a job are we left to our own devices?
To work autonomously? Unless you’re in a job that advocates artistic and creative flair, the chances of having this opportunity would be quite rare – or in most cases, you wouldn’t even think about it in the first place.
When an employer is hiring someone, especially for entry positions, they have a series of repetitive tasks for you to do – usually in a specific order, and you will do them, simply so you can get paid. And that is fine; however autonomy doesn’t even begin here and the learning process stops after the first initial few weeks.
The argument isn’t about whether qualifications or experience is more useful, but about the manner that of which said qualification or experience was obtained.
Self-Employment and Self-Study
In my opinion self-employment and self-study are hugely more useful and more rewarding. Especially when you’re trying to develop career capital.
Skills Learnt During Self-Employment and Self-Learning
- Master the art of delayed gratification
- Become an expert problem-solver
- Research becomes your key friend in battle
- Failure is redefined as a positive concept in the form of receiving feedback and results
- Expand your learning well beyond the scope of your given subject
In other words, self-employment and self-study helps to put your mindset in a ‘Never Stop Learning’ phase. Where as traditional employment and education is centered primarily around knowing enough to simply get the job done.
Scott H Young and Jay Cross
Scott H Young is the embodiment of an individual who has succeeded exponentially at education and in business. He is an online entrepreneur who managed to complete a 4-Year MIT degree in 12 months – all from the comfort of his home.
Below is an except to a guest post written by Jay Cross (another trailblazer in the self-study corner) on Scott H Young’s blog. This is what he had to say about becoming more attractive to prospective employers, with regards to self-study.
My favorite part of the DIY Degree (beyond the cost, classroom avoidance, and completion time) is actually how it positions you to employers.
Put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes. He or she has seen countless students come through their office with bachelor’s degrees.
Here’s the truth: if you graduate like everyone else does…you are a commodity. Unless you have other compelling items on your resume, you will not jump off the page and grab the hiring manager’s attention like you’ve been told a college degree would do for you.
Why is that? Why are degrees so taken for granted and unimpressive today? For one thing, there’s degree inflation. More people than ever having degrees makes yours less remarkable. But it’s also because the college experience ITSELF is now associated with sloth, partying, and immaturity.
On the other hand, someone who not only designed their own degree program from scratch, but also scheduled, financed, and passed anywhere from 20-40 challenging tests all on their own…THAT’S someone worth interviewing. You are effectively taking what has become a standard, “check the box” credential…and re-framing it as a unique competitive advantage.
Companies want independent problem-solvers, and while anyone can say they do that, earning an expensive four-year credential in ¼ of the time backs it up.
I see the DIY Degree as a “gap solution” for career advancement. Eventually, society will stop caring about credentials and focus more on targeted portfolios of an individual’s work. Until then, degree-by-examination offers a way to graduate without mortgaging your future in the process.
I implore you to read the full post here: The DIY Degree