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Not Everybody Needs (Or Should Earn) a College Degree

Office convo with young professionalsWhat’s the answer to this conundrum? Other forms of training, of course. The article states that, “School-leavers should be given a wider variety of ways to gain vocational skills and to demonstrate their employability in the private sector.” It goes on to observe that, “ ‘Micro-credentials’ — short, work-focused courses approved by big employers in fast-growing fields, such as IT — show promise.”


If you’re not thinking IT certification in this context, you should be, and employers should be, as well. Interestingly, the article goes on to recommend that colleges and universities should grant credits to dropouts for work completed, and that “they should open their exams to anyone who wants to take them, and award degrees to those who succeed.”


I can’t help but see the growing and increasingly pervasive influence of the “MOOC” model (Massively Open Online Courses) across the whole spectrum of higher education at work here.


Ultimately, this kind of approach would offer more (and for some people) better ways to develop skills, boost productivity, and save public money. The story’s conclusion is worth repeating, and pondering carefully: “Young people, both rich and poor, are ill-served by the arms race in academic qualifications, in which each must study longer because that is what all the rest are doing. It is time to disarm.”


One more time: I agree. I also believe that by creating shorter, more focused, and more job-relevant training and certification, our society can prepare more people (both younger and older, college-educated or not) to occupy useful and meaningful jobs, and earn a living wage in the process.


We can help address the student debt crisis, and provide a better return on our social investments in education. Let’s do this thing!



ed-tittel120Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed blogs on certification topics for Tom’s IT Pro, and on Windows desktop OS topics for TechTarget. Check out his website at