–Cato Unbound » Blog Archive » Down with the Four-Year College Degree!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot but from another angle. I work as a programmer I find that a lot of people I encounter in the field are more or less 9-5 ers and mostly lack the skill that you expect someone who values his field highly. This was also prompted by the personal reservations towards most of the testing being done in the field. I am a registered electrical engineer and I have to say that the board exam was a farce. I believe that this is even more true for most of the IT certifications that you could get.

Heres the thing, I hope to never get certified in a ny technology through test. I don’t like certification but I’d like it guild style as the author was advocating a progression from apprentice journeyman,  craftsmen then master craftsmen.

I just feel that in the world of technology and probably more so for other field it is extremely hard to design a system where we get to test the abilities of the people in that field given that probably the best of the best have better things to do than to try to weed out the people unfit to practice the profession.

In my ideal system, the college campuses of America will still exist and they will still be filled with students. Some of those students will be staying for four years as before, but many others will be arriving and leaving on schedules that make sense for their own goals. The colleges in my ideal system will have had to adapt their operations to meet new demands, but changes in information technology are coming so fast that major adaptation is inevitable anyway.

The greatest merit of my ideal system is this: Hardly any jobs will still have the BA as a requirement for a fair shot at being hired. Employers will rely more on direct evidence about what the job candidate knows, less on where it was learned or how long it took.

To me, the most important if most intangible benefit of my ideal system is that the demonstration of competency in European history or marketing or would, appropriately, take on similarities to the demonstration of competency in cooking or welding. Our obsession with the BA has created a two-tiered entry to adulthood, anointing some for admission to the club and labeling the rest as second-best.

Here’s the reality: Everyone in every occupation starts as an apprentice. Those who are good enough become journeymen. The best become master craftsmen. This is as true of history professors and business executives as of chefs and welders. Getting rid of the BA and replacing it with evidence of competence–treating post-secondary education as apprenticeships for everyone–is one way to help us to recognize that common bond.

Cato Unbound » Blog Archive » Down with the Four-Year College Degree!.