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Education Vs. Experience

  1. Jan 26, 2009 #1
    Everyone seems to say that experience is more important that education, but they also say that education is the key to success. Employers want experience, but people with MSs and PhDs get paid more than people with BSs. People with BSs get paid more than people with a high school degree, and it would seem to be very rare that someone with a high school degree gets paid more than someone with a masters. People like Bill Gates lack a college degree and Richard Branson lacks a high school degree...To frame my question: Is education beyond eighth grade truly useful?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2009 #2
    Compare the sample size of people who are wildly successful and didn't graduate from high school/college to the sample size of people who aren't. It is immediately apparent that those who are wildly successful are outliers, i.e. not statistically significant.
  4. Jan 26, 2009 #3
    Are you sure someone with a Ph.D makes more than someone with a master's degree, on average?

    Anyway, maybe you should revise your definition of "useful" to something other than "provides money".
  5. Jan 26, 2009 #4


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    Everyone has to choose their own path in life. Up until high school most choices are made for you. "Useful" is at best a subjective term. The ruling philosophy is that by the end of high school people have enough life experience to define what they believe will be most useful for them.
  6. Jan 26, 2009 #5
    Both are absolutely important, but it's definitely not just a blanket, equal case for all people.

    Education is absolutely important in the sense that it should allow a person to fully extend his or her knowledge to their reasonably maximum potential, then turn that into a successful work experience.
  7. Jan 27, 2009 #6
    My career advice would be to be a Genius That The Rules Do Not Apply To(TM). Then, feel free to skip college and high school, since they won't really help you at all.

    If you don't listen to me and decide to be Ordinary (although perhaps somewhat talented), then yes, getting a formal education is probably a good idea.
  8. Jan 27, 2009 #7


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    I probably value my high school years far beyond what they will earn me in better job wages, etc. I think about it, and what did I know in eighth grade? I'd only the foggiest idea of science, my math extended as far as elemental geometry, and my knowledge of analysis and appreciation of literature was barely there. For me, at least, I know, these limitations would make life extremely boring and mundane.

    aerospaceut10 said it really well though:

  9. Jan 27, 2009 #8
    Employers want efficient people who are trained to do their jobs. They want reasonably intelligent people who can handle pressure and are reliable. Completing university demonstrates that. Dropping out of highschool does not.

    The misconception that getting higher education ensures better pay only really applies to very competitive professional programs, or other degrees that are "hot". PhDs and MSs aren't neccessarily paid more, although they can be in a position to demand more depending on what the degree is in.

    Gates and Branson were both born into very wealthy families and had an enormous amount of luck. So do the thousands of entertainers and enterpreneurs that arent formally educated. There are some people even in the academic sector who have succeeded without getting the formal credentials. Its your choice if you want to play it safe or shoot for the jackpot. On the whole though, people who finish school tend to make more money. And Gates and Branson are rare examples; most billionares have atleast Bachelor degrees.
  10. Jan 27, 2009 #9
    You need both; knowledge and experience. How you get them is up to you. Bill Gates was an autodidact, but most people don't learn that way.
  11. Feb 24, 2010 #10
    Both education and experience are necessary. You will not get too far without the other; they go together. The majority of people that reach success in their careers have had a good formal education, have earned a degree, have had experiences to add to their knowledge, and have held a consistent job that holds their interest. Schooling past eighth grade is necessary if you wish to specialize in a certain field. Maybe you don't need all of the knowledge that you gain in school, but you definitely need specified college courses to get you the piece of paper, the degree, to say you have the right education to take on whatever job you may be after. Once you have the education, the experience will come in time, as you explore job opportunities in the field that your interest lies in. How far can you expect to really get without both an education and experience? Would you even be happy with your life/job?
  12. Feb 24, 2010 #11
    A lot of your education happens outside of school. School is life, and life is school.

    But they both had rich parents.

    Hell yes..... The only question is where you get your education from.
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