Should you get a degree or skill?

May 9, 2017

You should get both – that is to say do your degree….then get a skill.

After all why should you put your trust in ‘leaders’ who don’t seem to be asking their own children to do what they tell other people’s children to do?



‘Get a degree. Because if they say a degree does not confer you a competitive advantage these days. Then that’s the minimum baseline.

Don’t listen to all these funny leaders…because if you have a degree even if it happens to be from a tin pot university…it’s still nonetheless a degree….whether it has any instrinsic value is NOT for the custodians of power to determine. They are not God. That’s entirely a matter of perception for the market to determine…besides once you have a degree. It’s yours for life and no one can ever take it away from you.

Is a degree useless now in Singapore? Maybe…perhaps…could be….who really knows?

But a degree is still a degree and what makes you think you will have the luxury to work all your life in Singapore?

Maybe you have to work elsewhere and should you be forced to do that, then maybe you should go further to ask if a degree is so evacuated of all intrinsic value then why do both the immigration services and employers of EVERY single government in the world including North Korea regularly ask for your highest academic qualifications? Why don’t they ask you instead the name of your goldfish or what is the highest level you managed to get into in the world of Warcraft?

So please don’t talk rubbish to me!

Now if you want to know how important a degree is in life – then go and ask Alvin Tan. He had a bite at a degree, but since his philosophy in life is you only live once….he decided to throw it all away and now he’s degreeless…so go and ask him how easy is it to navigate thru the complexity of working life in the US without a degree. Go and ask whether employers give two hoots whether he used to be an ASEAN scholar in a top university in Asia…Does Alvin Tan know about the law enough to talk convincingly about deeper aspects of jurisprudence? Yes….but talk is really all he can really do….again he has no degree….so he can’t monetise on that area as a subject matter expert…it’s like a Ferrari with no engine.

So the moral of the story is go and get a degree FIRST….see that mile stone of your life to its logical end and be done with it – to me it’s a bit like NS. Whether it is useful or not is not the point. What’s important is you do it. Then you don’t ever have to do it again.

What is important is a degree is a benchmark of competence.

But even should you say everyone these days is a degree holder and it has lost its value then it’s like saying everyone has legs and you better have a pair yourself then – that’s how I see it really. Otherwise be prepared in life to justify why everyone seems to have a degree in life….except maybe YOU!

Besides if you skip or decide to short cut that milestone of your life experience then it will be very difficult for you to revisit it again – I am not saying it cannot be done….but it will come at a very disruptive cost. So finish it off when the cost and pain factor is still relatively Low.

Only after you have a degree then talk about whether you want to be a cobbler or someone who puts together stain glass windows to get by in life.’

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