This thought has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks now. How much longer will a college degree mean something? 

What has me thinking is the news I have been following about the Stanford Artificial Intelligence class that is now open for anyone to join. Some 35,000 people have turned in the first three weeks worth of assignments and are completing the same work as those paying thousands of dollars for the course at Stanford only for free. 

At the end of the course, those that complete all the work will receive a certificate from Standford. They can’t actually get Standford credit because…well…that wouldn’t be fair to the 175 students in the class that are spending thousands of dollars to take it on campus. 

So if I can take courses for free and I can get a certificate that says I have completed this course, or that course, what does the degree actually get me?

I think we’ve already started to see the end of the degree in many areas, especially around technology where kids are hired straight out of high school or drop out of college to go work for the likes of Microsoft or Apple just to name a few. 

The knowledge they have trumps a degree.

When do we start hiring for the knowledge you have rather than the degree you hold?

When will a certificate of this open course or that open course mean as much as actually taking the college course?

What happens when a college degree really doesn’t mean anything other than you spent x amount of hours with your butt in a seat somewhere for four five six years?

What happens when you’re hired for what you know not what courses you took?

What happens when the skills you have become more important than the content you know?

What happens when a college degree no longer means anything?


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