Mid Career- Do I need a degree?
January 24, 2013 3:58 PM Subscribe
I'm a web designer/developer. I've been self taught my whole life, but now that I'm getting higher up in my career and more people interested in me as upper level management experience. I dropped out of college and taught myself everything I know. Now, though, I'm wondering if I need to go back to school for a degree to progress any higher.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Someone just recommended me for an executive level position at a different company than I am currently. For a variety of reasons I wasn't interested at this time, but the job itself seemed to be exactly where I want to take my career. One thing that concerns me going forward is that I dropped out of college early to work in the world of the internet, and taught myself everything I need to know and continue to do so. I think that's why I've become as well respected in my field as I have, I'm good at self-guided learning, and that has put me on the cutting edge of most technology for the past 15+ years.
However, I'm afraid that I may have hit the upper limit and jobs are going to want to start seeing that degree I never got. And to be honest, I've always felt a little bit embarrassed not having one so I might not be the best judge. Most people seem impressed that I do what I do without schooling, but my lack of degree still makes me doubt myself. I've been in conversations with coworkers where they'll talk down about someone because they didn't have a degree (sometimes I point out that I don't have one, some times I let it slide). Most of my friends are college grads, and still find it hard to believe I got where I am without a degree. Not in a mean way, but a "holy crap, how'd then do you know so much" kind of way. (Part of this I attribute to when they were going to school, there weren't the classes teaching what I was learning for myself on my own).
What got me thinking about this is that recently I found out my current job almost didn't hire me because of my lack of degree. HR wanted someone who was significantly less qualified because she had a degree, but the hiring manager won out because I was way more experienced and and had the qualifications they were looking for. Yay for me, but I wonder how many times this has happened and I didn't get the job. And how many more times it will happen as I am climbing higher up my career ladder.
So, mefites, are there those of you without a degree that have achieved higher levels in your career? Or will I be stuck without one? And if it is necessary to got a degree, is there a good way to by-pass a lot of stuff I already know, or am I going to have to do the time? I have about a years worth of credits between two different schools (One semester at community college, a couple oddball classes at a state school).