Degree or not Degree, that is the question…

One obstacle to learning a new task well enough to do it professionally is creating a plan to acquire the knowledge.  The first time you learned to be a professional in something it was much easier.  When you graduated from high school and enrolled in college/tech school, everything was planned out.  You said: “I want to be an engineer”  and they said, here is what you need to do.  After you completed items A-Z you were an engineer with credentials (i.e. your Bachelors degree).

At 18, the degree that you were going to receive was equally, if not less, important than many other tasks.  Leaving the house, making new friends, maintaining a full social calendar, making enough money to stay in Ramen noodles, and determining where you’ll be spending Spring Break were critical tasks at this point in your life.  Heck, you’re going to change your major 5 times before graduating anyway so you didn’t even know what your degree will be.

After you graduate from college everything is different.  You weigh two factors before you even consider going back:

1). Is the reward big enough?

2). Is there an easier way to get the reward?

Graduate degrees or advanced degrees such as MBAs, Law, and other degrees can only be obtained by going back to an accredited institution.  Therefore point 2 become moot.  However, there are many other professions that do not require University credentials in order to obtain employment.  For those instances point 2 becomes very important when considering that you need to acquire these skills while maintaining the rest of your life.

There is one huge paradox to making things easier: there is no plan, therefore it can actually be more difficult.  Once you’ve decided that a degree is not required to meet your goals then you’ve also given up that nice tidy degree plan that is critical to maintaining focus.  My next few posts will discuss how I created a plan with credential checkpoints to help maintain focus.

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