Skills or Degrees: What’s more important?
There’s a lot of talk about skills vs. degrees or skills vs. certifications. Frankly, that’s a bit of a false choice.
You need a graduate degree at least to be considered for any role in the banking, consulting, financial services or the insurance industry. But a degree alone won’t be enough. You need skills too.
It Should Be Degrees/Certifications AND Skills
Degrees or certifications are important because they are a sort of a validation of who you are and your suitability for the position you’re applying for.
It’s like a plumber’s license or a locksmith license.
A plumber, electrician or a locksmith lives or dies by his skills – if they don’t have the necessary skills, they can’t get anything done and don’t get paid.
But there are many countries where plumbers, electricians and locksmiths are required to have a license from the government or from a local body. They cannot operate without the license, no matter how skilled they are.
Degrees or certifications are like that – a license to work. No employer is going to consider you unless you have at least a basic degree or certification. And if you don’t have the requisite skills, you can’t get anything done anyway. As simple as that!
Degrees and skills, or certifications and skills are complimentary; it’s not a question of one for the other. Your focus should be on having a degree or certification and picking up the essential skills for a particular job at the same time. Ideally, the certifications should be tied to skills that are industry relevant for the participants to have practical knowledge from day 1 of their job.
However, If You Had to Choose…
Skills are more important in this day and age. Indeed, there is a new trend in the job market. Companies are willing to overlook the fact that you may or may not have a degree provided you have the right skills.
Google, Apple and IBM are among the major corporations that no longer require job applicants to have a degree. IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daly said in an interview with CNBC Make It, “About 15 percent of the people we hire in the U.S. don’t have four-year degrees. There’s an opportunity to broaden the candidates to fill the skills gap.”
Interestingly, 57.5% of college graduate don’t work in their field of study. They do graduate with a formal degree but it does not necessarily related to the job they end up doing.
A Skill-Centered System
The present education system has many drawbacks and many industry experts have been advocating for a skills-centered system.
The great Bill Gates, as everyone knows, never finished his college degree. He is a big fan of skill-based education. He said in an interview with Fast Company’s Anya Kamenetz, “The ideal there is creating a skills-based credential that is well trusted and well understood enough that employers view it as a true alternative to a degree.“
This makes sense when you consider that college education has become ridiculously expensive, especially in the U.S., Australia and the UK, and also in emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Mexico. The average student loan debt in the United States for those graduating in 2018 is estimated to be $39,400.
That’s why skills are important. Jeff Weiner, the former CEO of LinkedIn says, “What matters most is relevant skills.” Also…“It shouldn’t matter how you picked up your skills; just that you did”, according to David Blake, co-founder of the learning platform Degreed.
We have created a learning platform, SKILLFIN LEARNING specifically targeted at those looking for jobs in the Business Consulting, Banking and Financial services sector.
If you’re a Banking and Financial services professional and want to upgrade or update your skills, or a recent graduate looking for a job, you may want to check out the online certifications for finance professionals at SKILLFINE.
The online courses are conducted by Ashish Agarwal, a business and finance expert with more 10 years of experience in the industry. All courses are completely market oriented and based on the specific requirements of the industry. You will pick up essential skills that weren’t probably taught to you in college.
Specifically, you may want to consider joining the our online courses for business, banking and finance professionals.