Are Certifications just as valuable as College Degrees?
It used to be that that college was a sure-fire way to get your foot in the door at the world’s leading industries, and it wasn’t unheard of to hear the older generation managing to graduate while paying their way through school with a part-time job. These days things are a little more complicated. With the cost of education continuously rising and with the average American college graduate accruing over $29,900 in debt, it’s no wonder why people are looking into alternatives.
Certification programs are not new. In fact, the idea of learning a very specific trade has been around a lot longer than some of our oldest college institutions. Many of the students who participate in these programs likely have a clearer sense of where they want to lead their careers than their college counterparts. It’s also significantly cheaper and faster to get through a certification program.
If the average certification graduate is graduating with up to 70% less debt, why would anyone still prefer to go to college? Well, there are a few reasons.
The biggest draw may just be the college experience. For most American high school graduates, college is the first opportunity they will have to leave mom & dad. College presents an opportunity to expose you to different people, different cultures, different ways of thinking. Tech giants like Facebook and Instagram came about from college students’ obsession with creating and growing their network. This period of time is also beneficial if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life. Perhaps you went into college wanting to be a doctor, but you took a class for coding and now you want to get a degree in Computer Science. Many adults — even those with mountains of debt — don’t regret going to college because it brought about these opportunities for professional and sometimes personal growth.
If College is not that path you want to take, then enroll in a certification program.
On the other hand, if college is too expensive, you know exactly what you want to do, or you simply just want to be done with studying as soon as possible, then certifications may be up your alley. You can accomplish just as much with a Certified Ethical Hacker Certification as a Computer Science graduate could. Chances are you may even have a leg up on them! According to a study, more employers are relying more heavily on experience in their new hires. Many certification programs actually run students through simulations and test their knowledge more frequently. Because the certification basically states that they were trained in a very specific field, the employer will have more confidence in their abilities. This past year the President of the United States even passed an executive order that made the federal government loosen the restrictions on its own hiring practices, now allowing people with certification and on-the-job experience to apply for positions they would otherwise get rejected for without a degree.
Many of the world’s leading industries, such as cloud computing, are struggling to hire enough people. So if you have the desire and the ability to do the work, why not apply? Not everyone has to take the traditional path to achieve success.
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