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How crucial is education in the real world?

Mina

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Serious question.

It breaks my heart when I come across people who have spent a lot of $$ on degrees that they can't use to get anywhere in life and often times end up working in a different field.

Unless we're talking about Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, etc... How important is education?
 

GreyGhost

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As a first cut, a degree in any program that is generally acknowledged as 'hard' is an easy foot in the door to a successful career. Ultimately, it matters little if you are working in a field directly related to your degree as long as you are happy and making enough money to afford what you need in life (preferably with some left over for what you want). Many, many people with engineering degrees never practice engineering, you will find them in real estate, financial services, etc. Some business programs are a path to success, other are acknowledged as bird degrees and not worth the paper they are written on.

Degrees that are generally regarded as easy are the biggest waste. Nobody cares that you got it and it took years of your life. Sadly, many general arts degrees fit into this category. You need at least a masters and often a phd before anyone cares.

I know one HR manager that implemented a policy that ignored almost all college diplomas as a hiring criteria as the bar for graduation was so low. They found that the graduates were (on average) no better than high school graduates. The old story of the first year student 5 times over.

You don't need a degree to be successful but it does make it much easier to get a start. There is still a lot of managers that will not look at people unless they have a degree (hell, I know some that even applies internally, to be hired or promoted to manager a degree is required with no exceptions).

In my experience, if you don't mind working on the tools, trades are a great path in life. Lots of money, lots of flexibility and you don't waste years of your life in school.
 
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Evoex

Insert clever title here
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I suspect it can differ from job to job but imo outside of Doctorates/Engineering/Coding experience is king.

Getting your foot in the door requires networking/hookup, piece of paper isn't worth anything.
 

crankcall

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I see two things, it shows you can put your mind to something and stick with it for 3-4-5yrs. It often shows maturity and focus. It also shows you may be serious about learning and improvement going forward.
These are good thing for a job. But they aren't everything for a job.

As said above HR (oy vey these guys) and managers have to draw a line in the sand someplace, and that someplace may be getting an interview requires a benchmark of XXX paper.
 

Evoex

Insert clever title here
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I see two things, it shows you can put your mind to something and stick with it for 3-4-5yrs. It often shows maturity and focus. It also shows you may be serious about learning and improvement going forward.
Same could be said for having been employed at the same place longer then 4-5 years, which theoretically would be supplying ample of relevant experience on top.

More so if you actually showed promotions in that period.
 

JavaFan

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it's becoming essential even in industries where it was not prior (if you wish to advance)
I ended up in one (mining) where it was possible to enter and work your way up
gaining training, experience and short duration education as you go
even in this industry that is very old-school, there is now a medium level ceiling for non-degree qualified employees

like crankcall says, with HR depts being universally bad across industries
all they do nowadays is set the benchmark for qualifications
and spit out to hiring managers a short list
no degree, in the shredder goes your CV
hiring manager never sets eyes on it
unless you're coming in near the bottom of the org chart
 

48Connor

Well-known member
Lots of people spend lots of money getting worthless degrees. They get so caught up in "doing what they love," they didn't stop and look at the job market for where they are going to go after university.

And that's not just for liberal arts communications, or sociology - even in STEM you have to judge the industry.
 

Type17

Well-known member
Depends on what you want to do. Not saying that a degree will make you the man that everyone wants to hire, but in my experience, your options are incredibly limited without one. I can only speak for finance and some government areas, but nobody will consider you for pretty much ANY position there unless it's like mailroom sorting or the most bitchmade admin work. I expect that to be the case in the overwhelming majority of large corporations.

There certainly ARE ways to pay the bills without a degree, but you'll probably be busting your *** physically unless you happen to have some very unique and in demand skills (ie. you're some programming/tech wizz in some niche thing), and your upside is probably pretty limited except in the case of some exceptionally talented people that start their own businesses or are innovators.

I also agree with Java; some old school industries will have senior execs with very little formal education, but you'll notice they're old guys. Unless exceptionally talented and well connected, in my view you basically have a 0% chance of replicating their career path in today's environment because there are lots of exceptional people that have degrees.
 

PrivatePilot

NOT at Tim Hortons.
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Lots of people spend lots of money getting worthless degrees. They get so caught up in "doing what they love," they didn't stop and look at the job market for where they are going to go after university.
Yep.

My post secondary education was 2 months of heavy equipment operator training, and I was working literally weeks after graduating, and have been ever since - 23 years and counting. And I have made more money (every single year) than some friends I went to school with who went to college or university for years.
 

nobbie48

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Never confuse education with intelligence. If you hammer away at it long enough you can get a degree in something.

My problem with education is that we often end up with academics that are so above the problem that they can't see it from street level and the problem is on the street. So heavenly minded they're no earthly good.

That said I don't want an amateur taking out my appendix because he says he's good at that sort of thing.

My brother was very skilled at numerous aspects of computer technology but couldn't get a job because he was largely self taught. If something went wrong and it was found out that HR hired an unknown HR would get blamed for hiring an unknown.

In this CYA world a piece of paper is needed to get a job. To get ahead you have to think.

Thinking isn't always appreciated. It takes up time and can interfere with what the boss has already made up his mind to do.

There is also erroneous thinking, that one is special and deserves stuff.

For someone starting out pick something you have an aptitude for. Leave the thing you love as a hobby.

Research the future like hunter leads the duck. That way you get in at the grass roots.

Get an appropriate piece of paper to prove you're not a flake.

Even if you don't end up in your chosen field many people start liking their job when they get good at it and recognition kicks in. It doesn't happen overnight.

Never assume and always think.
 

gsxr guy

Well-known member
Trades are in demand at the moment. Apprenticeships are three to six years depending on trade. Math is a must, so many people can't read an imperial tape. My shops range is sixteen (no exp.) to fourty two (red seal).
 

Brian P

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Moderator
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Advice to kids/teens: Learn how to build stuff. Learn how to fix stuff. Learn how to do things, real things, not video games. Get an understanding of how and why things work. It almost doesn't matter what it is, it's best if it's something that captures your interest.

As mentioned above, trades are forecast to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. The school system has gotten so risk averse that they don't teach kids how to build and fix real things. (What happens if my little kid hurts his finger?) My generation had access to woodworking shop, machine shop, auto shop, welding shop, electrical shop, and I did all those (and we occasionally broke stuff or blew things up!) There's nothing wrong with learning how to cook, either. If you learn how to do something meaningful in the real world, there will always be work for you to do. Having said that ... there are too many MBAs with no clue, we don't need more IT professionals (we do need PLC programmers, though), and most arts degrees aren't going to get you a job. An engineering degree isn't going to get you a job, either, if you have the degree but are useless at it.

I'm a mechanical engineer. My dad was a machinist and we had a workshop attached to the house. I still have a workshop. I wish I still had the machinery that my dad sold off when he moved to a retirement home and I had nowhere to put it. Thanks to the real world experience that started long before engineering school, I am more of a hard had and safety boots type engineer than an ivory tower theoretical type. I don't do mechanical design any more, but when I was still doing that, I was never afraid to go down to the machine shop with a sketch of roughly how a part needed to look, and ask the guy who was actually going to build it how he would like to do it. A good idea is a good idea, even if it is not yours.

In my line of work, I've dealt with others who have seemingly attempted to put as many letters after their name as possible. I've never had any interest in doing that ... I've done okay with the engineering degree and the school of hard knocks.

Gotta go back to work for a moment. I have to write up a quotation for a job that's happening in Mexico in January. Playing with robots.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Never had much myself, but I sure did do a lot of business with the education sector,
they all pay their bills well just as long as you have a purchase order.

All you need to do is do whatever it is you do better then anyone else and you are marketable.
 

Trials

Well-known member
Bilingual?
If you are bilingual and you can't find work, you must be looking for work in the wrong industry.
 

JTR

Well-known member
In my experience, if you don't mind working on the tools, trades are a great path in life. Lots of money, lots of flexibility and you don't waste years of your life in school.
So there's this place, north of the 49th parallel(and I guess a bit south of it in our case) , where (almost)every trade requires college as part of a 4-5 year apprenticeship. And in order to start that apprenticeship you need to find a sponsor employer, and then getting in the door with that sponsor employer can even require pre-apprenticeship college courses. Oh wait that place is here actually.

So you've been wrenching in the garage out back with your dad, working on everything with an engine, since you were 3? Doesn't matter, can't be a tech without an apprenticeship including college, and it's nigh on impossible to get that apprenticeship without a 2 year pre-apprenticeship program.

Trades aside, another thing Canada loves, is it's governing bodies, governing bodies abound. You're good at sales, have decades of sales experience and you want to work in real estate? College requirement. You love travel, you know the globe like the world is your neighborhood, want to be an agent? Yup college. So you're a math prodigy, and an amazing crammer, and you've been doing your entire family's taxes for years, you could soar through a CGA exam no problem, right? Wrong, 17(iirc) post-secondary credits required before you can even be considered to take CGA exams.

You can definitely get taste for a field, even trades, without going through post-secondary education, but you can't go very far. I've been welding since 2007, been with the same company for the last 7 years, I'm actually pretty decent and once upon a time I actually held valid CWB(yay another governing body) certifications. But I'll never be one of those red seal, Alberta B, six figure income welders. Why? because college.

Oh but wait, you were a military cadet for ten years as a kid, you know regulation, leadership, policy etc out the wazoo. You are a grunt's grunt, eat sleep and breathe tactics, a born General.... TFB4U, without a degree, Chief Warrant is as high as you'll go, you'll never be commissioned. Luckily the government has your back in this case though, and they'll put you through university.
 
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mbroyda

Well-known member
So there's this place, north of the 49th parallel(and I guess a bit south of it in our case) , where (almost)every trade requires college as part of a 4-5 year apprenticeship. And in order to start that apprenticeship you need to find a sponsor employer, and then getting in the door with that sponsor employer can even require pre-apprenticeship college courses. Oh wait that place is here actually.

So you've been wrenching in the garage out back with your dad, working on everything with an engine, since you were 3? Doesn't matter, can't be a tech without an apprenticeship including college, and it's nigh on impossible to get that apprenticeship without a 2 year pre-apprenticeship program.

Trades aside, another thing Canada loves, is it's governing bodies, governing bodies abound. You're good at sales, have decades of sales experience and you want to work in real estate? College requirement. You love travel, you know the globe like the world is your neighborhood, want to be an agent? Yup college. So you're a math prodigy, and an amazing crammer, and you've been doing your entire family's taxes for years, you could soar through a CGA exam no problem, right? Wrong, 17(iirc) post-secondary credits required before you can even be considered to take CGA exams.

You can definitely get taste for a field, even trades, without going through post-secondary education, but you can't go very far. I've been welding since 2007, been with the same company for the last 7 years, I'm actually pretty decent and once upon a time I actually held valid CWB(yay another governing body) certifications. But I'll never be one of those red seal, Alberta B, six figure income welders. Why? because college.

Oh but wait, you were a military cadet for ten years as a kid, you know regulation, leadership, policy etc out the wazoo. You are a grunt's grunt, eat sleep and breathe tactics, a born General.... TFB4U, without a degree, Chief Warrant is as high as you'll go, you'll never be commissioned. Luckily the government has your back in this case though, and they'll put you through university.
you cant be seriously comparing an paid apprenticeships where you get to make a living wage while learning a trade with a 4 year university program that will put you $80k in debt before you can start making money, college is inexpensive and easy, most are able to get through it without any debt if they have the luxury of living with mom and dad rent free.

And I dont see why someone thats been wrenching with dad all his life shouldnt have to go through some official training and prove his skills before he gets to work on peoples cars, same applies to the person that is wiring your house or installing your new furnace, and if you think you have enough skills and knowledge you can always challenge the exam. Also a 5 month real estate course can hardly be considered "college"

There are many trades that dont require any schooling, that will make you GOOD money, tapers, brick layers, carpenters are all in VERY HIGH demand but kids want nothing to do with those trades for some reason.
 

Baggsy

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My experience in carpentry was that you needed to know someone as JTR described, it was the same for Tapers at the time.
I had a job lined up, and the boss called the Union and had them sign me up. That was over 40 years ago.
I'd being working with my dad for years at the time. Apprenticeship seemed to be sub-labourer in some ways, until they found out that I actually knew what I was doing. After that I would get **** if some of the journeymen I was working with messed up, as I "knew better and they didn't". If you've been in the Atrium on Bay, I built that - some of it anyways.

The exception might have been if you wanted to go piecework instead of an hourly wage.

Later on, I did an interview with IBM and they scored me high, but told me I needed to go back and get a College degree to get into Operations there, or University for higher levels. Score one for needing a degree. So I went to College.

During my last summer, while I was back working in construction, I met a manager at an office I was rebuilding, and got hired on there as a Computer Operator, it was a huge pay cut at the time - I started at $17,500 / year. From there I met some of the programming heads, and got into that field. The next job was easier 12 years later, as I knew a former secretary in that office, who's boss needed a new analyst/programmer.

So, much of my experience was that it wasn't so much what I knew, as who I knew.
 

jc100

Well-known member
I used to scoff at the useless degrees too. But now I’m a big proponent of “do what interests you”. If you’re motivated enough you’ll make it work for you and being interested in the subject is a start to being motivated. I’m sorry but I see too many crap doctors in this country that it’s really quite depressing, many have zero people skills in a profession where that is possibly the #1 priority. There are too many people doing a job for the wrong reasons.

More or less any degree should mean that you develop critical thinking skills, communication skills, team working skills, time management and experience working under pressure etc. All of these are valuable in a workplace.
 

JavaFan

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There are many trades that dont require any schooling, that will make you GOOD money, tapers, brick layers, carpenters are all in VERY HIGH demand but kids want nothing to do with those trades for some reason.
anyone doing any of those activities without a C of Q is not a tradesperson, they are a labourer

most tradespeople do most of their work with their hands
but not all people that work with their hands are tradespeople
 
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Baggsy

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anyone doing any of those activities without a C of Q is not a tradesperson, they are a labourer most tradespeople do most of their work with their hands but not all people that work with their hands are tradespeople
That's true, but it was possible to register as a journeyman in some trades, and I believe it still is. If dad owns the company, you might start your career as a super and move up from there.
 

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