For long enough, an academic degree has been an essential fixture on a resume or an employment record. Considered the ultimate proof of being qualified to do a job, rarely was a candidate without a relevant degree considered suitable for a job opening.
That, though, is changing, in favor of industry credentialing. University degrees often tend to be bookish in their coverage, with students not really being trained for the realities of a workplace. Most programs at colleges and universities offer little or no exposure to actual work practices, giving credence to the belief that the time spent therein would be better utilized in picking up skills on the job or even in entrepreneurial ventures. A degree is no longer a guarantee of getting a job, or a great salary either, and the money spent on a degree needs a lot of time to be paid back!
Diplomas and academic certifications do not work
Diplomas tend to be treated as filters to narrow down huge pools of applicants, a convenient and inexpensive tool for employers. The cost to candidates though can be significant, given that diplomas are expensive. Workforce certifications are better choices, as the emphasis at the workplace is on people who can think i.e.
- Solve unexpected problems with creative solutions
- Can discern relevant, useful discoveries fit for work goals and are challenged by them
- Can recognize patterns and relationships across industries and disciplines to be able to perform work better
There are other ways to develop skills
This movement towards programs from the best credentialing companies is part of the search for alternative routes to finding work and becoming sustainable, at the cost of traditional colleges and universities losing value. Developing own talents and finding a job can be better done by other means.
The skills employers require can be developed in many ways. Evidence shows that students with actual work experience and a demonstrated record of the right skills are more likely to get a job and will be more successful once they are on the job assigned. This is why there has been massive growth in offerings from credentialing companies along with other online courses, on topics that traditional institutions may not cover.
The focus of learning programs has changed
This is also why internship and work experience programs as well as workforce certificationsare getting more importance from such employers. Dynamics of the economy have shown that as against someone with a college degree, a candidate who left school midway but has actual work experience can addjust as much, if not more, than a graduate with a degree. Hence, there is more importance now on:
- Breeding new talent by providing the ideal conditions to study, research and develop new ideas
- Curating educational resources for specific interest areas
- Developing skilled information-guides and coaches who can facilitate industry credentialing
All of this has also led to universities and other academic institutions curating educational resources for specific interest areas. Along with this, there is a growing interest in vocational jobs and skills outside of traditional academic offerings. This implies academic institutions ought to accordingly upgrade their role and function for a sustainable future, providing value and services to individuals and society.