Re-Thinking Professional Education (Welcome)

Why am I starting a website about education?

Because I believe our current education system is doing an extremely poor job of preparing student for their careers and life after school. I felt high school was decent preparation for college, but college was poor preparation for life after school.

Do you Need College?

My college credentials helped me get my first job, but the course information that was relevant to my career could probably be boiled down to a 2 month course.

In addition to this the pace of college life looks nothing like the modern working world. Going from high school to a career would have been an easier transition. Going from lots of free time and a fairly unstructured schedule to a 7:00 to 5:30 job was a hard transition for me.

College unquestionably increases lifetime earnings for the average student (note average).   However, is college currently the best option for professional training?

Are the high incomes of doctors, engineers, and computer science majors hiding the fact that an English Literature degree is a bad financial investment?

“Due to young college graduates’ limited job opportunities, stagnating wages, and the rising cost of higher education, college is becoming an increasingly difficult investment.” – Economic Policy Institute

Unfortunately Not Going to College Isn’t Looking Like a Good Option Either

“For young high school graduates, the unemployment rate is 19.5 percent (compared with 15.9 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 37.0 percent (compared with 26.8 percent in 2007).” – Economic Policy Institute

This doesn’t even take into account the almost 25% of students who don’t graduate from high school. For them the job market is even worse.

If college is becoming too expensive to justify the costs and getting a high school degree means you will be lucky if you get a full time low paying job, what should students do?

Are we just in a bad labor market where young people are destined to feel the brunt of the unemployment?

So what can we do?

It is a complicated problem but here are few things to consider:

The economy is honestly part of the big picture problem, but on an individual level I feel this is completely irrelevant. Most people are so bad at their jobs that it would be easy to replace them if you knew how to get yourself qualified and noticed.

When unemployment is high the traditional (obvious) career paths tend to get very crowded making them less effective than before. Thinking outside the box and looking for less crowded paths is becoming increasingly important.

If you don’t want you or your child to be an unemployed English Lit major with $200k in debt you may want to stop and think before signing up for college.

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The investment return of college degrees may be decreasing, but going to college will still be the best choice for many students.

What we need is a paradigm shift. Currently for career statistics we tend to break people up into categories. Those who went to college and those who did not. We are oversimplifying the problem and taking many of our best options off the table. Students who want to be successful in today’s market need to use all the resources at their disposal.

And while we are nitpicking should financial success even be the main aim of professional education? Or should more students enlist in programs that put more priority on life satisfaction and positive social impact?

Is there an Alternative Path?

Personally I believe there are lots of good alternative paths available. If we take off our blinders and look around we are currently surrounded by some of the best low cost educational opportunities ever seen.

With this site I hope to spotlight great resources, provide insight, and creates guides for how to navigate the current educational landscape.

I will be focusing the sites content towards young adults looking for their first and second careers.  However, with the rapid technological advances and creative destruction gone rampant in our current economy this content will become increasingly relevant to an increasingly older audience.

Lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important. Gone are the days when you could get a College degree and work in the same company for 30 years with only minimal re-training. In today’s America the average worker switches employers every 4 years.

My hope is that this site will in some small way help you or someone you love have a more successful career and life.

If you have any specific questions or ideas about professional education you would like me to discuss or need help with please shoot me an email at Peter@iqlie.com.