I went to UTD for 1.5 semesters. I ended up with $2,000 in student loans (paid off!). I make a stupid amount of money, work from home in my pajamas, and have great benefits. I also do contract work on the side that pushes my income even higher. To top it all off, I love what I do and can't imagine myself doing anything else.
Compare that with friends from high school that went to state college for 4 years, have $50,000 in student loan debt and ended up getting a job that pays less than $50k, with long hours and uncertain stability.
Thankfully not having a college degree has not affected me in a negative way.
Web development is one area where its possible to construct a portfolio and have others evaluate your work, which makes the degree a less relevant part of the evaluation process.
I only got hired for this job because I had 3 apps in the app-store. I was passed over for many jobs that I was qualified for, but being a programmer most businesses want a cog that already knows everything (which is definitely a misnomer). I have a university degree in 'Music Theory & Composition', not CS, which I think has hurt me when HR people looked at my resume. Also I was passed over for a job because I didn't list HTML as a language I know. Sometimes you're limited just by the ignorant people looking at your resume.
Also the best jobs come from personal referrals.
to be fair, if that was the reason they passed over you, it might've been a blessing in disguise because i suspect that place wouldn't have been a very pleasant place to work!
This is true for any field where you are required to create things (art, design, etc.).
It's harder for subjects like history, but if you put your mind to it you could do a lot of your own research in a particular area over three years and write your own book, for example.
Not any tech job. In some specialties there's still a lot to be said for formal education, and I wouldn't anticipate it being easy to land a job doing something like NLP without at least a Bachelor's degree any time soon.
For stuff like Web development where it's mostly about knowing your tools rather than understanding theory, though, yes definitely. Even if we're going to assume some formal training will be expected, I still think most folks in the tech space are poorly served by the prejudice for 4-year degrees. An associate's degree or certificate would be far less expensive and onerous. I suspect it would also be able to do a better job of preparing folks for their careers, by virtue of being freer to focus on practical skills without also having to serve the educational needs of students who are bound for postgraduate programs.
Like they did when I was about to drop out of school and start at the community college in the mid-90s so that I could get an IT degree and move to silicon valley. In retrospect, it wouldn't have been a bad idea -- they were teaching COBOL and Fortran after all. :)
However, the market for software engineers is much more merit based right now. Many good engineering jobs that pay 6 figures require "a bachelors degree in a technical field or equivalent experience".
I'll be the first one to argue that attending a university is a good idea for someone who want to call him/herself a developer, but lack of a degree is not a showstopper to a great job. The reality though is that if/when the market for engineers slows down, employers will probably begin to apply the same filters. Even if a degree isn't required today, it might be a necessity in 5 years for someone starting out.
Namely, I know some developers who do not hold degrees themselves that have recently started listing a Bachelor's in computer science as a requirement for consideration on new job postings. It's not, obviously, because they think people who haven't been through college can't do the job. It's because they're already seeing so many applicants that the filter's being applied anyway, and they merely decided to start being up-front about it.
It's not a huge amount of money to many other people, but I consider it quite high for having no real formal education in my chosen career... plus loving what I do!
My biggest strength that I highlight when applying to a position is testing (unit/integration/behavioral).
I work fulltime salary, plus do some small amount of contract work on the side.
“I am over $100,000 in student loan debt right now,” said Megan Parker, who earns $37,000 as the firm’s receptionist. She graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2011 with a degree in fashion and retail management, and spent months waiting on “bridezillas” at a couture boutique, among other stores, while churning out office-job applications.
Something is very, very wrong with the student loan program in the USA.
Academy of Art (in SF) is quite similar, but perhaps more known regionally: in both cases they seem to provide some kind of legitimate training in commercial art (by itself a respectable discipline), but it's probably fair to say that they draw in students who aren't quite aware of what they've signed up for and the how far they will go into debt.
Many students at these schools aren't even interested in art, fashion, or film per se: for some it's the last chance at graduation (some came after transferring through as many as six schools, etc...)
I think for-profit universities (and perhaps, lower-tier private law schools) represent the educational bubble very well: in all cases I think they provide legitimate training and can be a value-add to many individuals. Problem is the rate at which they (effectively) sell degrees is much higher than the rate at which the (already limited) market for holders of those degrees grows. This is definitely thanks to the ease of getting student loans.
"For those keeping track, Academy of Art University now owns 1.93 million square feet of space in 41 properties in San Francisco. This includes 22 academic and office properties and 19 residential buildings.
The school owns everything from historic landmarks like the Cannery on Fisherman's Wharf to St. Brigid's Church on Van Ness to prime south financial district buildings like 79 and 180 New Montgomery St."
Google "art academy sf real estate" - there's articles like this going back to 2001.
If we let borrowers default on loans under certain criteria (say, their annual income was below a certain threshold), then lenders would have to actually vet the students degrees --- and then we might have a sane system where you're denied a student loan if you're going to major in underwater basket weaving, but approved if you major in engineering.
And every month in college having to send your grades to them so they can be sure you're still a good investment.
It makes sense to me but... can you imagine the feelings that would be hurt by this?
Just hook the college results system up to the load provider and let their system keep track of it that way.
This is more or less how the government funding works in Australia, but saying that the costs of higher education are a lot lower.
The first part is mostly true: employers want a college degree. The second part is also true: STEM (with the exception of software development) tends to prefer people with specific degrees. The third part, however, is total bullshit, and it got A LOT of people into a A LOT of debt. The reality is employers are incredibly picky not just over a candidate's degree, but these days they're much less willing to invest in employee training. They want candidates who can show up and do the job on day 1.
My hunch is that lot of the college advice was doled out to students based upon the Baby Boomer's understanding of the world: College degrees are a hot item employers want, and they (usually) don't care what it's in! The employer will train you at your job and you just need the necessary reading, writing, and math skills. This probably was the case in the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s but by the 90s things had changed.
(As an aside- I ended up dropping out of college after 1.5 years and avoided debt. Opportunity knocked and probably saved me from tons of debt).
It's really just common sense, in most industries, having a degree is either looked at as a huge bonus, or a flat-out requirement. As an artist, you would have an extremely hard time finding a client / employer who cares if you even graduated from high school or learned to tie your shoes, as long as they like what's in your portfolio.
That being said, anything remotely related to art is going to be highly competitive, because no one really retires from being an artist, and there lots of people who have 30+ years of experience.
Starting fairly early, we teach students that there are a bunch of hoops they need to jump through in order to get a good job later in life. For an 18 year old, it is easy to see college as just another (and hopefully last) hoop to jump through.
Colleges (and the for-profit schools are exceptionally bad here) show them a rosy outlook for whatever major they are interested in - I guarantee you every person who is up to their eyeballs in debt got shown something saying "x% of graduates from the <insert not very marketable degree> program were employed 6 months after graduation with average salary of $y" based on questionable information, did the math, and thought it was a reasonable choice.
I don't think high school students are given enough information and enough reality to fully understand the ramifications of their college choices.
I absolutely made some bad choices when picking my major in college, but it took me quite a while to really figure that out - thankfully, I at least didn't get a bunch of debt to go along with it.
Presuming Ms. Parker lived in Georgia, in-state tuition at most public universities there would've cost her much less, and provided a better education. (and that's not including things like Georgia's Hope scholarship program)
Full time minimum-wage work for the summer? $7.25/h (GA min wage) * 40h/w * 17 weeks = $5k income (basically untaxed). So you're in debt for $24k over your 4-year degree.
That's a lot more than I would have guessed. Guess the student had better figure out something valuable to do (more valuable than minimum wage).
I wouldn't be surprised to see a very hard correction very soon (or a massive bailout). At that point, I expect many of the not-so-stellar private colleges (like the Art Institutes) that thrived on easy student loans to shut down.
Disclosure: I've made a significant amount of money last year betting on this by shorting APOL.
Ironically, there is a similar practice in finance where bosses and companies help their top employees live beyond their means so that they will be "forced" to continue working.
Most of them, if not all went to Uni.
They then made great contacts and could pull out because they became successful early.
Without Uni, they possibly would all be nobodies.
If you get 200 applications to a position and requiring a degree allows you to narrow that down to 30, why not?
Also, 15%? Is that accurate, or are you just throwing numbers out there cos you think 85% of job applicants really do not have college degrees?
Right now, it's a Bachelor's. In 10 years, perhaps less, it'll be a Masters. This has nothing to do with required skills or knowledge, and everything to do with the fact that we simply require fewer and fewer people to actually do work, and have got to get through that ever-growing pile of resumes somehow.
It started in the 90s with companies wanting graduates for roles that really doesn't require a higher education and if you didn't have a degree, your CV/Resume was promptly filed in the bin. So the government made higher education a lot more accessible and pimped it out a lot, much to the expense of both the students and the nation. More Universities, bigger classes, wider spectrum of courses, etc.
Lots of people now have degrees. I mean lots. When students are planning their education, there really isn't a "not go to University" option that doesn't carry the sweeping the streets or factory line worker stigma with it. It's also really quite rare to meet anyone younger than ~35 that hasn't been to university.
We don't quite have the Pedigree problem that, as a foreigner, it appears the US does - i.e. we don't really have a "X University is better than Y" type classification going on (e.g. in TV programme 'Suits', Pearson Hardman will only recruit Harvard educated lawyers. No other College graduates need apply. No idea how 'real' this problem is in the States.) There is some social perception of certain universities, but I'm yet to encounter any restriction being imposed based on which University someone has been to. However, we are seeing the "Must have a 1st Degree with Masters" line appearing on job adverts more and more which is simply just pushing the bar higher, as I imagine is what employers in the US asking for "College X" educated applicants are doing.
All the while we have an education system that is drilling into our young people's heads (and their parents) that University is a must. There's a lot of pressure for young people to get into University.
Degrees are not worth anything like they were before because everyone has one. Nobody "stands out" any more, is all I mean. Everyone has one because of the demand, and the government gave everyone a big boost into Uni. Recently the government had to cut back on the pseudo-subsidy they were giving to the student body, so now we also have a lot of young people who think University is make-or-break, but will also have a large amount of debt (£60,000+) before they've even started working.
Despite all this there seems to be - at least in my experience as one of the few people to have not attended university - a growing number of employers who are starting to ignore the necessity for a degree. Degrees are still regarded as a demonstration of one's character and ability to learn, but it's becoming less and less of a requirement. Perhaps it is just my experience but recruiters, employers, and certainly myself as someone who has recruited many times, are seeing past the qualifications and doing their own assessment (for lack of a better phrase) of prospective employees. I don't mean we're sitting our own exams, I mean we are doing meaningful interviews. We're inviting candidates to work with us for a few hours, and so on. Employers are realising they want to hire intelligent people, and that not everyone has access to a University education, and also that the current education system just doesn't work for everyone. This is what I hope will become of the education and employment system of the future - that a degree an option for students to pursue, but not the only option.
That should be enough rambling.
TL;DR: We've gone full circle in the UK, from requiring that candidates/applicants have degrees, back to assessing candidates for ourselves, and I expect we will again and again in the coming generations.
the degree isn't worth anything to differentiate people, but saying that getting a college degree isn't worthwhile is not true - at least, if your personal goal isn't to _just get a job_, but to learn how to learn, to make friends and form a network of peers. But i agree that the amount of debt you have to carry to get all of that is quite a problem.
i'd like to challenge this idea that not everyone can start a company. May be not in the current form that a company takes - i.e., having a lot of "admin" stuff to take care off (such as taxes, registration, various laws etc).
I think specialization is the key here - may be there is room for a specialized company whose sole job is to take the "business admin" part out, and all the founder has to do is actually do the work. All of the other parts that a ancillary is done by this specialized company. What this could mean is that instead of working for someone, everyone works for themselves, and all the organizing happens via some automated fashion (akin to how the stock market operates).
Also what this means is that if the efficiency of the system is can be made high, then mediocrity will quickly die out (due to natural selection).
Considering that nobody in their right mind would give that 18 year old a business loan, where are they getting this capital to start a business? (Remember, due to the recession, the traditional entry level job is taken by people with significantly more experience, making the skill and income acquisition portion of the program harder.)
When I hear this advice, I usually hear it from people born on second base and think they hit a double.
that's only if the giver of the funds is an irrational actor. if the business proposition has meat, they ought to be able to get funds.
The next gen of fund raising would very much be like kickstarter (except this time, you actually get equity, not just a preordering system). I suspect you could even keep the identity/private information of the founder a secret, and make the proposal and get judged by that alone.