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Skills or Degrees – What Matters More?

If you’re not studying to be a doctor or a lawyer, you’re risking wasting your time at Uni instead of learning the skills you need.

Well, so am I.

Let me tell you why.

It’s not about skills or degrees, it’s about status and education.

In today’s digital economy, millennials are always ranting about how skills are all that matters and how diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

Even though that’s true in some situations, it’s totally missing the bigger picture.

If you’re someone who just got out of college, and you want to jump on the online business/entrepreneurship train, you’ll be in for a surprise when you realize that your degree ain’t worth jack to online business owners.

When it comes to these types of job applications, your degree is more of a suggestion than a requirement.

But if you’re someone who dreams of becoming a doctor or climbing the corporate ladder at your local law firm, you’ll soon realize how, without a diploma, you yourself ain’t worth jack.

As a result, you’ll find it difficult getting anywhere without that little shiny piece of paper.

That’s because both diplomas and skills measure education. Likewise, education measures status.

Above all, this means that there’s something you have to ask yourself first…

Who’s your daddy?

If you’re an intern at an accounting firm, you have a boss or some sort of executive.

If you’re a copywriter, software engineer, or graphic designer and you want to work at an agency, you’ll have to persuade an agency owner that you’re worth it.

And if you’re planning to be an entrepreneur, freelancer or business owner, you have clients. Therefore, your clients are your bosses.

As a result, the only way you can really “be your own boss” is if you learn how to spit out money.

Other than that, there’s always someone (or something) you’re dependent on for revenue.

What’s going to give you a level of status in front of the party you’re dependent on? Skills or degrees?

Read that sentence twice.

Is it having a prestigious diploma from a top university?

Showing a neat portfolio of project you’ve worked on?

Or having a proven track record of past clients you’ve brought results to?

In reality, all these things are synonymous with status, education, experience, and credibility.

That’s why there are so many people with degrees who don’t have jobs and so many rich people who never went to college. It’s because people confuse getting a diploma with getting an education. Unfortunately, it’s a common mistake.

That being said, don’t be the person who thinks, “I’ll just figure this whole law thing on my own.” 

No, you won’t. Even if you do, this isn’t an episode of Suits.

Firstly, law firm execs don’t let degree-less lawyers anywhere near their office doors. Secondly, you need a degree to prove you have a steady foundation of, you guessed it, skills.

And don’t be the person who believes that a mere business degree will help them launch a successful business. That won’t happen either. That is to say, your diploma will have gotten you some raw theoretical knowledge and maybe a few useful connections.

And hey, that’s not bad! In other words, you have to decide for yourself if that’s worth your tuition fee. In my case, it is. (To be honest, my Uni is pretty affordable).

What’s more relevant to your “boss”?

To find out if you’ve made the right decision going to university, you first have to ask yourself one question.

“What do I want?”

I mean, really. I’m not talking about your parents. Not your friends, boyfriend, or girlfriend. And definitely not society.

What do you want?

Is there something you love doing so much that it makes you forget to eat?

In other words, what’s that thing you have in the back of your mind that you *know* will become your biggest regret if you don’t pursue it?

Is this the thing you’re going to college for?

Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.

Let’s not turn this into a “follow your dreams” post.

Whatever you plan on doing, find the “boss” of that thing, and build your status, skills, and education up.

Maybe your boss is a hotel manager or accounting firm exec that likes hiring people with shiny diplomas.

Maybe he’s an agency owner who prefers that you show him a neat portfolio of practice projects.

Or maybe he’s a client that desperately needs your help and just needs for you to prove you have the skills necessary to help.

Therefore, you have to find what that person defines as “status” and give it to them.

You want my advice?

Don’t wait until you get your diploma to start learning skills.

Even if you choose to go the Uni route, the statistics remain – 91% of business owners (in the US) prefer applicable skills to degrees.

Regardless of how many degrees you get, there are skills you absolutely need to succeed. They include verbal communication, non-verbal communication, being able to think critically, having a growth mindset, and being responsible (to name a few.)

Similarly, these things are a part of your education. As a result, they’re not considered job skills, they’re life skills.

In other words, if you’re going to climb the corporate (and social) ladder, they’re not a plus, they’re a must.

In conclusion…

If your career path requires a degree, get it. But don’t wait until you get your diploma so you can start building essential life skills like verbal and non-verbal communication. You *will* need them.

If your career path does not require getting a degree, weigh your tuition fee against the potential for raw knowledge and connections you can make at your university. Other than that, start learning and *stacking* skills that will help you along your career path.

About The Author

I love sugarless coffee and humorous copy. Senior Copywriter @ Contentta – a rockstar copywriting agency based in Bulgaria.

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