Posts Tagged ‘open courseware’

Your College Degree is Not a Free Ticket to a Valuable Career

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
In a thought-provoking article titled America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree , Marty Nemko brings to mind some of my own experiences as a college student and raises the question, "What is the value of a college degree?" Nemko states:
"The past advantage of college graduates in the job market is eroding. Ever more students attend college at the same time as ever more employers are automating and sending offshore ever more professional jobs, and hiring part-time workers."
He also quotes the 2006 Spellings Report, which stated:
"Unacceptable numbers of college graduates enter the workforce without the skills employers say they need in an economy in which, as the truism holds correctly, knowledge matters more than ever."
I've seen this myself, and I've often wondered what many of my less-motivated peers would one day go on to do with their lives. There is absolutely more behind a successful career than simply passing your college classes for four years. Although I would have had a hard time getting to where I am today without my college education, I would never be there with a college education alone. Don't just tell your future employer that you're passionate about the industry you want to be a part of. Prove it.
  • Join Associations
  • Keep your fingers on the pulse of the the latest industry trends
  • Blog about these trends and your opinions on them
  • Talk to people who do what you want to do, and find out how they got there
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read books outside of your class curriculum
  • Get internships or relevant job experience (from what I've seen in job candidates, you should consider getting more than one internship. The bar is certainly rising)
  • Supplement your education by finding an interesting course or lecture that your university doesn't offer through open courseware. For example, Stanford has some interesting lectures on the "Communications and Media" in iTunes U (props to Jeff Siarto for pointing out the value in open courseware)
  • See if there is an online network for your industry where you can connect with professionals (You might start with a quick search on Ning)
1.5 million people will graduate from college this year. What are you doing to stand out?