The value of college should not be based purely on the degree you may obtain from completing a two or four year program. While Bachelors and Masters degrees are still very valuable accolades that act as foundational stepping stones for many careers, they are not the guarantees of success that they used to be.

More and more graduates are finding that a degree doesn’t afford the kind of distinction and prestige that it used to. Indeed, the ailing economy has created a new postgraduate landscape in which many intelligent young adults find that acquiring gainful employment in the field for which they studied is increasingly difficult.

Even menial, low-paying jobs often have dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants. This reality, coupled with the rising cost of tuition and the increasing difficulty of repaying student loans, has led many would-be students to think that attending college is simply not worth the expense. While some higher degrees from prestigious colleges have a great ROI, there is some truth to be found in the current crisis: college degrees are not as golden as they used to be.

The prudent student should approach college with a combination of strategies for the future. Yes, it is still important to get a degree, just as it is important to calculate interest on student loans and create a game plan for repaying them. But perhaps more important than anything else is preparing yourself for a lifetime of changing industries and technologies by absorbing transferable skills for the future.

One of the great values of attending college is utilizing the on-campus retargets in order to master a variety of future-proof skills, such as software applications, multimedia tools, and computer labs. When you’re attending college or planning to attend college for a specific degree, you should be mature enough to realize that the degree itself will simply help you to land a temporary job. You as an individual will have to continue to grow, learn, and evolve into rapidly changing industries in which technological proficiency is a major requirement. This holds true for nearly all fields of study.

Many students have turned to online education as a substitute, as it is often more affordable than traditional schooling. But even an online education may not prepare students for transformations in industries. Online graduates still face a dearth of high-paying career options.

For these reasons and more, it can be said that creating an arsenal full of future-proof skills is one of the most important parts of attending college, whether on-campus or online.

These skills may include cloud computing, web design, content management systems, real-time communications, and others. These are skills that will most certainly evolve into other fields and will be transferable for decades.

No matter what you’re studying—be it literature, mathematics, or liberal arts—it’s important to embrace new technological services. While literature, for example, is not dying as a branch of the Humanities, the platforms on which it may be consumed, distributed, and analyzed are changing, and the rate of change is multiplying.

The same goes for other fields too, where businesses are now demanding that their employees be able to implement new skills into their job requirements and upgrade their abilities. As a further example of changing business practices, many companies are even eliminating their IT departments and replacing them with more efficient cloud services and automated security systems.

To elaborate further, it is not enough for a Communications major to simply read the textbooks and write the papers assigned to them. This degree, more than perhaps any other, illustrates the changing demands placed on college graduates on the brink of stepping into the ‘real world’.

Now that we see the impact of once-dubious enterprises like social media and e-commerce, Communications degrees now necessitate an immersion into online communication, including micro-blogging, podcasting, peer-to-peer networks, real-time collaboration, and web conferencing. And why should these skills be any less useful or necessary in other fields?

Professionals in all walks of life need to communicate themselves, market their abilities, and network with colleagues and clients. For all the reasons discussed here, college graduates are likely to find that, in the long run, the acquisition of future-safe technology-based skills may ultimately be of importance than the degree they earn at an educational institution.


Question: What skills do you think are future-safe? What’s your take on this discussion? Pls comment.