Degree or Experience: What Counts More?

Degree vs work experience – It has always been debated that is the master’s degree after graduation more preferable or gaining a first-hand experience serves better.

While I have seen people pursuing double masters and appearing for several entrance exams while wondering if they will ever apply their knowledge in the real world, I have also seen graduate students trying their luck at different jobs as it is difficult for them to fund their masters’ programme.

So, which one shall work best for you in the tough economic times and competitive job market?

Here are some ways to find out if you need the on-the-job-training or want to equip yourself with higher education for better on-the-job performance:

  1. If you have a Master’s degree in a technological field which is out-dated as per today’s technological needs, then your degree does not serve you any better than an uneducated person. Only a work experience related to the current technological trends can prove your mettle as it shows you have upgraded yourself to the new trends and have learnt and educated yourself enough to fit yourself in that field.
  1. Even if you have completed your Masters in engineering from a well-known university, you can show your credibility only if you have some experience in building bridges or repairing electronic goods. The field of sales too requires results and numbers more than a post-graduate degree. People having doctoral degrees, the highest academic qualification, earn far less than a graduate student who has attained quite a few experience certificates. Ph.D. holders also have more chances of being unemployed for a longer while only because they have the theoretical knowledge but have not done much for the practical applications of what they have learnt during their course.
  1. Gone are the days when a PG Diploma course would suffice for landing a well-paid job. Now-a-days, with employees leaping from one job to the other or changing career paths much more frequently, the employers do not find it worth to spend on the economic development of their workers. Companies prefer to hire people who have acquired real-world skills and are ready to learn and update themselves with different skill sets and information regularly.
  1. A full-time traditional degree programme is costly and requires an unflinching dedication towards the field of study for a few years until the course is completed. However, a job in the retail market or client servicing provides on-the-job training that can be a beneficial uplift for your career. For some of you who find it tedious to attend regular classes can gain some experience first and succeed on your own terms before you have the fund and the patience to go through a regular coaching. Many business entrepreneurs and successful leaders have carved their niche in the job market without the higher studies. You may learn certain skills much better directly from your work experience rather than a full-fledged 4-year course.

Does that mean that only graduate students with a work experience can thrive well in the tight job scenario today and there is no point in pursuing greater academic degrees?

No. I do not necessarily mean that.

Certain fields related to the sciences or health or intensive research emphasize on developing classroom skills and acquiring theoretical knowledge before applying those skills for real.

Also, having a post-graduate degree sometimes fits you better in the company culture and you earn more respect from your colleagues and seniors as you are better qualified for handling the position.

Some technical areas need their employees to complete professional degrees before applying for jobs, which are beneficial for acquiring specific skills related to business, technology or even the life sciences. Some customer queries can be handled better if you have more knowledge and skills on the subject and can relate more to the client’s issues.

However, it is always better to merge both – a Masters’ degree and a successful work experience. Many universities are therefore, coming up with internships, study programmes, campus placements and apprenticeships that guarantee having professional experiences while still attending classes and establishing oneself in the job market early on in life to fend for better career opportunities later.

As a job-seeker you must be well-fitted for a certain job and may require some research work before you appear for the job interview. Having only a masters’ degree requires candidates to start their work from scratch. Even if you have worked on dissertations and summer projects during your Masters, you need to prove it to your recruiter that the skills you have acquired during your course can prove beneficial to the company/business.

Part-time jobs while you are still pursuing higher studies or working full-time while completing an online degree course can let you build a rewarding career for yourself where you find the continuously evolving work trends exciting you in different ways possible.

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