This post is the forty-first part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series can be found on the series landing page.
This post is about the education requirements for job listings.
Bachelor’s Degree Required
I’m not qualified for any job that requires a bachelor’s degree because I don’t have one.
I regularly receive email from recruiters asking if I’m available and interested in a position they have open, or a position they’ve been asked to fill that someone else has open. Sometimes they send along the position responsibilities and qualifications, sometimes they wait until I request more information before sending them along. I respond to most of these requests; thanking them for contacting me and promising to forward the email and their information to anyone I encounter or know who is qualified and seeking a new job.
Almost all of the qualifications include the phrase “Bachelor’s Degree Required”.
There was a time, not long ago, when achieving the certification Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) meant more than it currently means. The certification went through an amazing cycle:
First, there were very few MCSE’s. Those that were certified did great work, word got out, and certified people were in high demand. This meant the certification was also in high demand. Training companies picked up on this and started MCSE boot camps that not only promised you could pass the tests after a week or two of their training, they guaranteed it.
The result? There were more MCSE’s on the market, but many of them lacked experience. Once again, word got out, and the value of the MCSE certification decreased.
Is the bachelor’s degree taking the same route? Bachelor’s degrees used to be sparse and meant the student had achieved something relatively few could achieve. A minority of people entering the job market had bachelor’s degree’s when I entered the job market out of high school back in 1981. Nowadays, it seems almost everyone has one. Maybe that’s why they’re required to get most jobs.
Is the bachelor’s degree in danger of going the same route as the MCSE certification? Is it at risk of losing value in the marketplace as it becomes more common?
Which Brings Me to Some More Questions…
Why is a bachelor’s degree required?
Am I truly unqualified to be a Lead SSIS Developer for an enterprise building a data warehouse because I lack a bachelor’s degree? Really? I have some experience using SSIS to build ETL solutions. I’ve built data warehouses in several verticals – medical, finance, insurance, etc. But I only have a Associate’s of Applied Science Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology – and it took me six years at John Tyler Community College to achieve that.
I don’t have a bachelor’s degree.
Should I return to school – at almost 48 years old – and get a bachelor’s degree? What would that cost me these days? I’ve checked around, and it looks like a bachelor’s degree would probably cost me about $100,000 USD. Is a bachelor’s degree worth $100,000 to me?
I’d like to know your thoughts on this topic.