Home Student & Career Tips Which Is More Important; Skill Or Degree?

Which Is More Important; Skill Or Degree?

This article aims to answer the question of which is more important between a skill or a degree?

Skill Or Degree

This question has been a long standing debate on the lips of many, especially those from third world countries where the rate of unemployment is very high. Prior to this time, a lot of people struggled to go to school to acquire degrees because it was certain that the only way to a better life is by securing a well-paying job. In recent times, this is no longer the case.

Getting university degrees no longer guarantees a better life as it was in the past. Annually, millions of graduates are released into the labour market with no hope of securing a job. Therefore, we are left to wonder about the need for a degree as it makes no sense to spend heavily acquiring a degree, just to be left stranded in the labour market.

On the other hand, it has become evident that individuals with little educational qualifications seem to be living a better life than many people with numerous degrees. With all of these, the argument has remained; between a skill and degree, which is more important?

For this purpose, this article will contain answers to this effect and by the time you are done reading, you will come to have a better understanding about this.


This is a qualification obtained from a higher institution. It is backed by a certificate to show that a person actually qualified in a particular field.

Degrees do have their benefits which include the following:

Going through college to acquire a degree can be an important part of personality development. It makes a person more confident in his approach and outlook in life. Hence, if you lack people skills, a degree can help boost your morale among people that will eventually help you in your career.

A degree earns respect and a social reputation. A person is often assessed through his qualification which is reflected in the degree. This is why a lot of people go back to school even at an advanced age.

Degree also gives one the room to earn. The more specialized and lucrative the degree is, the higher the position and status as well as the salary potential.


Oftentimes, skills are learnt, not innate.

As a degree holder, what you studied in school is not always enough. An employer is also after what you can do, he is very interested in your transferable skills.

Skills however, can be either soft or hard.

Soft skills are skills that are either acquired from previous work experiences or self-developed in the course of life. Examples of soft skills include interpersonal skills, leadership, adaptability, communication skills etc, while hard skills are skills that are learned, mostly requiring training. They are mostly technical skills.

Examples of hard skills include, coding, graphics designing, foreign language skills, content writing, hair making, etc.

Some top skills employers look for in graduates are;

  • Interpersonal relationship skills
  • Time management
  • Decision making skills
  • Leadership
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Adaptability
  • Excellent communication and writing skills.
  • Creative problem solving skill

Every degree holder is not necessarily skilled and vice versa. Unlike a degree, skill cannot be evaluated on paper in most cases. A degree can just earn the job, but it cannot help to grow further without the skill.

It is a skill which attracts the employers, clients and management. Without skills, you can not be able to attract the attention of superiors and attain success.


Frequently, we hear employers, students, and entrepreneurs, saying that it’s all about the skills, not about the degree. To a great extent, this is very correct.

In many countries where the rate of unemployment is very high amongst University graduates, it is argued by a lot of people that skills are far more useful than a degree. Having a degree without securing a job is nothing. This is the case of most graduates in many parts of the world. Having skill, particularly, hard skill, you wouldn’t need to rely on 9-5 jobs. It is easier to become self-employed with a hard skill than with a degree. Worthy of note, not all skills are considered lucrative. In other words, the right set of skills should be your primary focus.

Acquiring a high paying skill has saved a lot of people from endless job search. However, having seen the importance of both skill and degree, I would say that degree and skill are two sides of the same coin.

To succeed in life, you need to have a degree along with a skill. A degree without a skill would be almost meaningless as a skill without a degree. Both go hand-in-hand. Some years back, a friend of mine who was skilled in mechanical works lost a job offer because he had no degree to prove his expertise.

Apparently, he worked in an Engineering firm as a casual worker but he discharged his duties even better than his superiors. In experience, he was better than his bosses with numerous certifications. As lucky as he was, a vacancy was available for a senior position in his department and he was recommended.

It was certain he was the best man for the job but one thing disqualified him, he had no degree to back up his skills. Eventually, he lost the opportunity to a person with a degree but with less expertise.

That’s the power of degree. Oftentimes, your skill is not enough to get you to wine and dine with Kings. Your degree is the ticket you need to propel and demonstrate your skills to the world. There is nothing we can do about this norm in many cases.


Every degree holder is awarded a certificate at the end of the program. This certificate is the only proof the world respects. Having a degree gives you a special kind of reputation in the eyes of the public. Hence, it would be safe to say that a degree is the first means of attracting opportunities. There is a saying that all that glitters is not gold. This is valid. In the case of a skill and a degree, your degree is that glittering substance that attracts opportunities to you but your skill is what will determine if you’re worthy of such opportunities.

Considering my friend’s case, if he had a degree to back up his skills, do you think the other candidate would stand a chance?

A degree will attract the opportunity but your skills will determine if it will be sustained.

We are in an era of AI and advanced technology. With time, certain jobs will become extinct and new jobs will be created. In times like this, a school degree isn’t enough because these things are not taught in schools. The skills gap is a big problem that requires all hands to be on deck.

If you must get a degree, endeavor to get a skill first. It is the skill that helps you to grow both materially and financially. With a lucrative skill you can always sponsor your degree program with ease. Not getting a skill before enrolling for a degree course is one thing I would always regret.

Having both skill and degree is very essential. They complement each other. Look beyond having just a degree and explore other options.

What works for me may not work for you. If you can afford a degree, please do. If it’s the skill, please do. If you can afford both, you have a greater advantage.

In all your getting, strive to get both degree and skill.

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