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Subject:Re: Degree or Not Degree? From:Phillip Winn <pwinn -at- S7 -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 21 Jul 1997 16:50:36 -0500
>I heard a radio report this morning about a study that showed that those
>with a college degree do much better financially than those without. They
>said that a college degree indicated that a person was able to learn, which
>is what companies want, and that companies have to take more of a risk to
>hire a person without a degree. The person without a college degree may
>also be able to learn, but colleges provide certification of learning
>Of course, the study was funded by a group of private colleges and
>universities, so that might have skewed their conclusions.
Gee, just maybe. Of course, my perspective is somewhat limited, but here it
I was one of three roommates, all of which were software engineers, one of
which had a little more emphasis on physics, one on programming, and one
tended toward the creative writing side of life (that's me!). The physicist
was going to college, incurring student loan debt, while working part time
at a great company, while the other two of us went straight from high
school to jobs. We both earned far more than the third roommate, but he
kept telling us to watch out, because he was getting a huge raise once he
graduated and became a full-fledged physicist. He did, but by then the
other two of us had received a couple of merit-based raises, and we still
out-earned the third by a good bit, not even counting the fact that he had
student loans to pay off. It's been a few years now, and both of us still
An isolated example, I know. I moved from California to the Midwest, where
I took two more high-school-educated people and turned them into technical
wizards. One of them is now a programmer, while the other does technical
installation and documentation of large phone systems. Both of them are
making excellent money, more than anybody their age that they know.
All isolated incidents, I know. Anecdotal evidence does not necessarily
invalidate a documented trend, but I would definitely suspect any research
in this area performed by a university. Perhaps larger employers would be
more likely to be objective?
Another move, this time to Dallas, and yes, I still earn more than any of
my college-educated friends, and I still don't have any student loans.
I'm not saying that degrees are bad, just wondering when exactly they are
supposed to pay for themselves. Keep in mind that more than 80% of degreed
people end up working in a field unrelated to their degree.