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Why Degrees Don't Matter In 2020

Updated on March 21, 2020
Aaron Oliver profile image

I'm a serial entrepreneur and aspiring content creator. I am also a former student with expertise in Graphic Design and E-Commerce.

Employers care about skills, not degrees.

No longer are we in the age where you can go to a 4 year institution, come out with a piece of paper called a "degree," and successfully guarantee you'll have a position lined up. A college degree is no longer a cheat code for success. Businesses and Corporations have changed their mindset about hiring the right person for their company. Experience and skills are the separating highlights of every candidate. This is how employers determine who is right for the position. At the end of the day, anyone can have the credentials of higher education in their resume. Employers know this. The difference from application to application, is experience and skill-sets. IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty has given her opinion about the current significance of college education, "Getting a job at IBM does not always require a college degree. What matters most is relevant skills." CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner has adapted the same message for the vision of his company, "There is so much talent to be had if people are open to finding this talent in different places." Therefore, college degrees have lost their value and sense of importance in the eyes of employers. However, societal norms and governmental laziness act as blockades for this new mindset. College itself still markets the same propaganda since America set the "Industrial Revolution" into place, about 100 years ago. That if you go to college, get a degree, you'll be successful and land a good job. In 2020, things have drastically evolved, from a workers economy to a skills economy. Whether the higher education system can adjust to the economic evolution or not, we are on the edge a new American revolution.

The Future of Work

Society has evolved in the way we work, eat, play, and spend. Technology and social media has had a major impact how we earn and spend money. Freelancing and independent contract work has become as simple as ordering takeout dinner from your smartphone. More and more companies are hiring virtual assistants to take care of tasks instead of in house employees. The future of work are tasks performed under multiple companies instead of just one.

3 Reasons Freelancers Are The Future Of The Economy

  • Self Reliance. - Once you can operate as an independent worker regardless of your field, you will never have to worry about a single company limiting your potential as a growing thriving worker. You are able to rely on yourself to produce for any marketplace.
  • America is becoming a Freelance Country. - According to stats by FIA (Freelancers In America: 2017) 57.3 million Americans are freelance/independent workers. A study from Score.org shows that 36% of Americans today are freelance workers, and by 2027, most of America will be freelanced. More people are branching out of the traditional structure of a job, and they're not looking back!
  • Freedom of time & income. - After the 2008 recession, many freelancers believe they have more security through working with a multitude of companies and small businesses instead of just working for one company, like an employee. This is a major benefit for freelancers because it allows them to work whenever they see fit, and earn as much as they want.

Wait... So Does My Degree Matter At All?

Of course! Your degree does matter in the sense that college is the prerequisite of most good jobs in the world. If you want to be a full-time employee then having your degree is essential. However, the opportunity to grow your career, outside of one employer, is the new way of producing value to the marketplace, and should not be ignored. Having a degree can get your foot in the door of most jobs. But moving up depends on your skills. Why not leverage your skills to work for yourself?

This is who's Freelancing in America (2016)

Age 16 - 34
Age 35 - 54
Age 45+
45% Freelance
31% Freelance
28% Freelance
55% Non-Freelance
69% Non-Freelance
72% Non-Freelance
51% Part-Time
25% Full-Time
24% Supplemental Income
This study was organized by data journalist, Dyfed Loesche from statista.com. Data sources include but are not limited to Upwork and Edelman.

3 Disadvantages of Freelance Work

Lack of Benefits. - Transitioning from full-time employee to independent freelance work can be daunting if you are unaware of this reality. As an independent contractor you don't receive Pension, 401K, or even benefits like you would in a traditional job. Health insurance can cost more if you are self employed, since you aren't working under one company directly.

Isolation. - Working from the comforts of your home can be quite isolating, especially if you're not used to having a fully customizable schedule. As a freelancer, you're by yourself, unless you hire team members to work with you. In other words, networking and interacting with other employees is non-existent. If you aren't in an environment where you can physically go and work alongside other freelancers, then social media is your best way to connect with associates.

Accountability. - If you don't already have some accountability skills developed in your arsenal, you can forget ever working on your own terms. You are the bottom line as a freelance worker. Whether you excel in your career or fail, your success is in your hands. A sense of high self motivation and discipline are required to thrive without a boss or other employees to hold you accountable. Working from home can pose many distractions. You must focus, with extreme motivation and discipline to succeed.

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