How many here are corporate professionals but DO NOT have a college degree?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Kendo, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #1
    I currently work in finance as a tax professional and have been lucky to get into the business without completing my college degree. These days it seems hard to even get in the mailroom without higher credentials. For those wondering how I got in, I've been in the workforce for 7 years now so I was lucky to get my start before the meltdown of the economy.

    These days it seems everyone has a degree and people are going for their MBA just to gain an edge. Degrees are more and more commonplace in this era but I would imagine there are quite a number of individuals even in firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (I work for a highly reputable and competing firm) who didn't obtain one because they got their start in a different era.

    My question is this. Since times are uncertain and anyone can get laid off, do you worry about your lack of degree even though you have a solid work experience and expertise? I finished two years of college and am thinking of going back simply due to the hurdle of all of those jobs that require a Bachelors degree even though I have the work experience to back it up. The simplest case in point, I'm worried that I won't even pass the HR filters for an online application. If you are wondering why not just simply go for one, it is because I work full time and it would be hard to juggle both school and work.

    Of course this is currently a moot point since I am employed full time but the thought does cross my mind in these unsure times. Does anyone else work in a corporate setting but not have a degree and if so, do the same thoughts cross your mind?
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #2
    I you have the experience and knowledge, you'll be OK. I think for people who have not had their first professional job, a degree is an issue.
     
  3. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #3
    in addition to problems with online filters, the first pass through a group of resumes will usually include an attempt to eliminate as many applicants as possible and one criteria is certainly going to be the expected level of education.......so yes, that'll be a problem for you until you've built up a significant amount of work history
     
  4. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    May 27, 2006
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #5
    I was a corporate professional without a degree.

    I made a VERY good living, more than most people with a degree but I couldn't get promoted any higher without a degree...

    ...so I left my job, finish school and now I have a job that pays 1/3rd of what my old job did, but I'm in a much happier position and thats what mattered the most.
     
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #6
    problem I have seen is during bad time if you loose your job you have trouble finding a new job even with experience because you are going to be going up against people for the same job and same experience but they have a degree.

    In that case degree vs no degree the degree person tends to win. It is sadly a filtering way of resumes.
     
  7. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #7
    Not only that, but it also alludes to that the person with the degree may be younger than the person with the experience. That in turn leads to the younger person potentially being hired for a lesser salary than the person with the experience. It's a fine, tricky line there.

    I was also a person who started out without a degree, but I think what saved me the most was that I started out professionally in the middle of the .com boom. It really didn't matter what happened then because everyone was riding the IT wave then. When it bottomed out, you were finding a lot of people, degree or not, either going back to school to finish or get their degree (even an Associates) just to say that they have it and get that advantage over others should a job come up.

    Nowadays, experience > degree only in regards to pay scale; Experience + degree will get you the most. Degree without experience may get you a job but with a lower salary. It all just depends on what profession, where the job is, and how much the market in that area can tolerate it.

    BL.
     
  8. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #8
    Appreciate the feedback guys. I'm leaning towards "manning up" by going back to school and completing my degree while working 9 to 5. I guess the bonus of not having free time like a college kid is offset by the fact that my company will cover most of the tuition reimbursement.
     
  9. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #9
    I would do it. You'll learn a lot and probably enjoy yourself as long as you don't mind some extra work. You'll have the chance to network and meet other people, such as professors, who you can directly relate to.
     
  10. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #10
    I would too. However, keep in mind this.. Depending on where you go, some things in your curriculum may have changed drastically from when you were last in.

    For example, in my field (Comp. Sci.), the intermediate level programming class (past entry level) was Pascal. then you went up to C, Assembly, then up through data structures, etc. It was those 3 programming languages that were required.

    Now, at the same university, they start you out at Java, and C, C++, and Assembly are electives. If I wanted to go back into programming, I'd have to start my degree over again, learning Java.

    So you may find that some things have changed, causing you to either take refresher courses, or start that portion all over again. YMMV.

    BL.
     
  11. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #11
    I think that is a great move. Worse case you are not any better off than you are now but you will have that sense of accomplishment that you earned the degree and that can never be taken away.

    As for your career chances are at the very least it will give you better job security since you will now have that degree and experience. You will no long be among the group of resumes that are tossed out because you lack a degree.
     
  12. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas Metroplex
    #12
    It really depends on your field. I'm in IT and degrees are not necessary but certifications and experience are. With that said, I do have a 4 year degree but it's not related to my work.
     
  13. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #13
    Computer Science shouldn't be about learning languages, they use the languages to explore concepts. I don't think you would need to start your entire degree over again, just take a few OOP courses and adapt what you already know. Then again you could also just keep doing what you are doing, when no one learns the lower level languages you can just step in and be like "let me take care of this newbs". :D
     
  14. malman89 macrumors 68000

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    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #14
    If work is covering the fees, which is less and less likely, I would without a doubt take advantage of that opportunity. In that case, it's not even a degree vs. non degree situation. It's maximizing the benefits of your current position, which may indeed help you out down the road.
     
  15. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #15
    Normally, I would agree, but when your degree requires courses that have those language classes as prerequisites, you're kinda stuck. :eek:

    BL.
     
  16. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #16
    This.

    That being said sometimes not having a degree can bite you (like I mentioned above). I'm in IT too and I couldn't apply for management positions without a masters.

    Not all places are like that, but some are.
     
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #17
    It is really surprsing how many people that CS is learning programming languages. It really like you said learning the concepts. I have gone threw semesters where I hardly wrote any lines of code the entire semester. those semesters the code was mostly proof of concept stuff and fairly basic code. Like for example make mine own two way linked list and do my own sorting algroithiums.

    Heck what I learned in school and programmed the most in school (Java in my case) could easily not be what I program in the field. I could spend most of my career easily writing in say C# on platforms I never touch in school.
     
  18. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    Jun 16, 2008
    #18
    And this is pretty much what happened in my case. When I jumped into CS, my intention was to go into Systems Administration (which is what I do now). However, my school's CS curriculum at that time had nothing but programming, some database administration, but that was it. Pascal, C, C++, Java, Assembly, and a lot of OOP and parallel programming. It wasn't until 7 years after I left that they finally got their heads out of their backsides and created a Sysadmin curriculum. Unfortunately, I'm roughly 1500 miles from said university now.

    BL.
     
  19. moiseskline macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    #19
    Well, I’m most worried about losing out to people with a degree so in I’ve decided to go back to college and earn an MBA. I’d like to do it online so at the moment I’m reviewing accredited online colleges- currently reading a student review of Independence University.
     
  20. SpyderBite macrumors 65816

    SpyderBite

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    Oct 4, 2011
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    Xanadu
    #20
    Everything I was taught in school was obsolete by the time I graduated. So I spent my post graduate work interning at microsoft in their business deployment division. This gave me real world experience while I worked towards degrees in journalism & computer science.

    I realize that not everybody can juggle work and school. But it really does help when you get out because you're not entering the work force completely inexperienced.

    Friends of mine worked IT right out of high school in various industries and did quite well until 2000 when the tech bubble burst. Most were laid off or demoted and replaced with DeVry grads willing to work for $10-$15/hour.

    Meh. It's a double edged sword in the technology industry.
     

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