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Work Experience vs Education: Which is Better?


The work experience vs education debate is what that has been around for quite a long time. There is no clear answer as to which is appropriate and would accompany at all situations.

The real world examples are Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve jobs who have been successful entrepreneurs and the astonishing part is that they are college dropouts.

This example shows that education isn’t necessary to come up in life. When an individual wants to get enrolled for university placements then he needs to obtain an education.

Hence education, as well as experience, is mandatory and let’s glimpse through a few aspects of the debate on education vs experience.

work experience vs education

Does Work Experience Matter?

Work experience though it possesses some pros and cons, is something many recruiters look out for in candidates than other aspects.

Those who don’t have the right work experience would be turned down from some opportunities.

People who possess more experience are the ones who are called for interview.

Experience enhances their brand and also the perception of competence. For people who think experience works, these are the reasons.

1. The experience involves knowledge:

Managers always wanted to stay on the safer side; they do not want to take a risk and hence, lookout for people with experience.

Any work associated with any field, if an individual has done it three times before, then he can do it right hereafter.

2. Work experience lures employers:

The students’ CV is targeted when it has considerable work experience.

With work experience, young professionals would gain real life skills and also genuine value from their placements.

With work experience on the resume, you stand out of the crowd and present yourself to be enthusiastic.

3. To battle competition:

Today’s world filled with competition in all fields. An individual who desires to battle the competitive job market should possess all the skillset along with experience which is mandatory to obtain a job role.

To develop commercial skills, work experience mandatory and also the working environment understood. Hence, experience is important for any professional.

4. Practical experience required:

Several fields are in high demand these days and hence possessing practical experience in those fields can be beneficial.

Many employers lookout for employees who possess experience in their relative job roles.

This is because only a perfect and versatile skill set can help individual reach success.

5. Employers seek work experience:

The fact is that about 80% of employers seek work experience which is mentioned in the survey that was conducted by city & guilds vocational training organization.

In the same manner, two-thirds of the organization desires to recruit young employees with experience rather than others.

It is competitive to find work these days and hence work experience can be the right way to help professionals get a job.

6. Experience teaches you a valuable lesson:

Work experience is one that helps you learn more valuable lessons. Anna Alanko, advisor of career services at Rasmussen College mentions five valuable reasons for having working experience.

Some of them are, the individual learns more about his beloved industry, and the employee learns about his strengths and weakness and hence impresses the employer.

7. Find the career path:

Work experience is mandatory because it helps you find your career path. After completing studies getting into any job role can help you gain the right career path.

With years of experience, you can find the right path for a career and settle down.

  • You will gain an idea about what to choose and what not to.
  • You’ll also gain important information regarding your career field.
  • You will also gain the capability to make an informed decision regarding future work.

8. You motivated:

Employees who present a passion for their work and also discover their career in the form of experience are the ones who respected by employers.

There is a well-known saying that actions speak louder than words, which suits perfectly.

9. Gain transferable skills:

Your work experience may not be one that associated with your desired career path, but you can learn about more workplace skills.

You can get to experience problem-solving skills, teamwork and communication skills. Workplace etiquette is another aspect that can be learned with experience.

10. Develop network:

Reliable work experience helps you gain more contacts regarding the industry you interested in.

With such networks, you can gain the opportunity to get into future job offers through contacts or their friends.

If you’re an individual who is planning to pursue a career, you can mark out the skills you are perfect in and those which you are not.

Does Education Matter?

The debate puts forward this question which is quite muddling to answer. It is first mandatory to look out why education is significant.

Ability and credibility are the two main aspects of pursuing education.

With education, it is a gateway where people, as well as employers, think that you possess few skills. They also believe that you can work in your field.

Employers would have the belief that you will be able to do your job and you don’t have to start learning from the beginning. In that aspect, education matters a lot.

The Truth about Education:

For the debate is education important or not, the universal truth is that to get ahead in career life and move towards success, education is important.

Here is the fact, in the US economy it is found that many students are getting towards the workforce.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions that there are 66% lower people who enrolled for higher education.

1. Proven data for the importance of education:

Data also mentions that teenagers age between 16 and 24 are not getting themselves enrolled in schools and colleges but they are working in many fields.

People who have employed full-time in the year 2013 have also observed that their wages have risen promptly after the recession. Data mentions that there has been 8.3% unemployment for college graduates in 2013.

In the same manner, the unemployment rate for high school students age between 16 and 24 without college graduation is at 18.9% unemployment rate.

For high school dropouts, the unemployment rate has enhanced to 27.9%. It’s also a fact that college graduates earn a lot more than high school students. This data is sufficient to show that education is necessary.

2. Education earns more:

The National center for education Statistics mentioned that individuals aged between 24 and 34 possess a college diploma earning 50% more than ones with a high school diploma and are fully employed.

Another additional advantage is that college graduates expect to earn more than half a million dollars on average depending upon their course.

3. Education is the stepping stone to experience:

Education is the stepping stone that helps you to know more and gain experience. It is a process of learning to gain more knowledge.

To innovate or improve something you already know, being a lifelong learner can help you.

Only after proper education, can an individual discover new experiences and discoveries. An educated individual is the one who can become a well-rounded person in society.

An educated person has more understanding and knowledge of any issue and also shows the right problem-solving skills to find a solution.

Experience and Education Quotes:

1. “The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.
John Dewey, Experience and Education

2. “There is no such thing as educational value in the abstract. The notion that some subjects and methods and that acquaintance with certain facts and truths possess educational value in and of themselves is the reason why traditional education reduced the material of education so largely to a diet of predigested materials.”
John Dewey, Experience and Education

3. “We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future.
John Dewey, Experience and Education

4. “Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, maybe and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned.”
John Dewey, Experience and Education 

5. “A single course of studies for all progressive schools is out of the question; it would mean abandoning the fundamental principle of connection with life-experiences.”
John Dewey, Experience and Education

Work Experience vs Education: Which Lands You the Best Job?

When discussing the debate work experience vs degree or education, both of them have their beneficial points.

There are many arguments which mention that higher education is one which helps you prove in your academics and not in the real world.

In the same manner, work experience isn’t an assurance that you’re perfect with skills.

When education is considered it provides you with enhanced skills that are later converted into work related skills. Let’s lookout for reality, experience or education.

1. Specific careers:

There are many career fields where education outdoes experience and vice versa. For example, consider a sales job, if you have a track record of more dollars that you brought into the organization, it can out beat up any degree.

In the same manner, to get into a high-tech field and excel in that career, the latest college degree where you possess the knowledge of the state of the art development is mandatory.

This might be beneficial to the one who has experience in the same field. Depending upon the field you choose, it is education or experience that stands in front.

2. Remember about reputation:

The real fact is that education and work experience are not equal. A candidate who possesses a top school degree in his field would get a chance for reputation whereas a degree from a less reputed college would surely gain you less.

Likewise possessing a degree at the time of working as a full-time worker, you would tag as a hard worker who can make sacrifices.

In this way, you would gain a reputation to enter an interview. When discussing the experience, reputation is something important to consider.

Just working for 40 hours for 13 years isn’t important; the main aspects are that

  • What did you prove?
  • What innovations did you make?
  • How did you add and be beneficial to the company’s success?
  • Did you win any awards?
  • Did you formulate any new business?

Either education or experience, reputation is important.

3. Following company policies:

The truth is that company policies are to follow at times of promotion and appraisals.

For example, a candidate in a company has 15 years of experience and internal promotions are announced. The sad part is that the candidate who has experience not promoted by another candidate who has a specific degree for the position.

Many companies substitute experience for a college degree but other companies substitute a college degree for an experience.

Just experience without a formal degree cannot help you climb the corporate or career ladder.

When you consider fields like healthcare and education, the educational degree is mandatory to move forward.

4. Real data as an example:

The Department of Labor has made a report that employees who possess a college degree earn about 77% more than ones who possess only a high school diploma. This shows that college education is necessary.

The data has also revealed that college graduates have an enhanced unemployment rate than school students.

The unemployment rate for college students is 4.4% whereas, for high school students, it mentions as 10.8%.

5. Solvents:

Do you lack experience or education?

What can be done?

For the same, college graduates can use the opportunity of interns which helps them gain experience and presents that they interested in investing in their careers.

It is an additional point of adding volunteering to the resume. It is always good to add educational skills in the resume and so a college degree is mandatory.

Technical skills are always in demand and hence pursuing a college degree is mandatory.

Final Words:

The debate experience vs education has no clear winner; each topic has its advantages and disadvantages. Those who muddled with the topic can run through these hints and find out the reality that lies behind why education or experience is important.

The best advice is that education is the primary step that leads to a successful field of career.

Though you possess the only experience, you can get stuck at any stage in your career, hence moving gradually in career life from education, job and then the experience is the right path to succeed in career life.