Higher Ed? Degree of Experience Counts #TChat Recap

Remember in the 1970’s when the tech world was still in its infancy and engineers and developers walked in off the streets without college degrees?

And then again in the late 1990’s during the dot.com boom if you had any Web HTML experience and a pulse?


Ah, the good ol’ days when demand exceeded supply. Actually, the good ol’ anomalies, because for most of the recruiting and HR hiring pros of the world, a college degree tends to trump experience more often than not.

Not necessarily the name brand of the college, but the fact that you went to an accredited university and received the degree, in hand (not coming up 3 units short).

Of course that will vary from industry to company to position, but ask any recruiter today filling most if not all “technical” and “knowledge worker” reqs — you’ve got to have a college degree.

During last night’s #TChat, which was all about higher ed and what was more important — a degree or experience, veteran recruiter and co-founder of TruEvents Bill Boorman wrote, “The University of Life and the School of Hard Knocks has served me well.”

Many of us can attest to that. I know I do (and still do). But as I mentioned last night, I’m very proud of my college degree. I didn’t have the traditional college experience; I was working full-time already when I finally finished my undergrad and started (but haven’t finished, yet) grad school. I worked my butt off to complete my degree in psychology, owning every minute of every class and every world of every paper written until I walked proudly into the stadium in cap and gown on graduation day.

In a sense the University of Life started while I was still attending San Jose State University. Go Spartans!

So for me, when it comes to higher ed it’s the degree “of” experience, not the either “or”. Higher ed should inspire and light the inner fire. And the other way around. Employers should aspire to do the same when they recruit, hire and onboard because it’s good for business.

As for the ever-rising costs of higher ed, that’s a post for another time (although all the smart folks participating last night shared many insights).

A special thank you to Matt Charney for running the show and for his special guest Mark Kantrowitz.

Here were the questions from last night’s #TChat (you can read the transcript here):

  • Q1: Which matters more (and why) to Jobseekers/Recruiters: what your degree is in or which school it’s from? Answer J or R.
  • Q2: Should the goal of higher ed be to prepare students for the job market or to develop intellectual capabilities? Why?
  • Q3: What are some creative ways Employers can partner with Universities on talent identification and development?
  • Q4: Do student loans/debt impact employee productivity/performance? Can/should employers develop payback/performance incentives?
  • Q5: What are some ways, either direct or indirect, to offset the rising costs of college?
  • Q6: Are degrees from for-profit, online or foreign schools the same as traditional degrees as a hiring consideration?
  • Q7: Is going back to school for a professional degree a career booster or disruptor?

See you next week. Same time. Same place. #TChat every Tuesday evening 8-9 pm ET/5-6 pm PT

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