Do You Need a College Degree to Work Online?

Alan Johnson lays down some hard truths about non-productivity, in a guest post at Daily Blog Tips. The fact is that some people haven’t found their calling and thus won’t find much productivity in their current work. That also applies to blogging, especially if you’re not working in your dream niche. (Though I should point out that in my experience, freelancers tend to be generalists and thus enjoy NOT focusing on a niche.)

This post triggered a thought I’d had recently, that many new bloggers seem to be relatively fresh out of college and some have never held a job offline post-college. Call me a pessimist, but I think it’s a bad idea not to work offline for at least a while before trying to become a full-time blogger. At least unless you’re absolutely certain you have a gift for entertaining through writing, and/or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, in case blogging doesn’t work out for you.

In a related vein, Daniel Scocco wrote at Daily Blog Tips recently, asking do you really need to go to university if you want to work on the Internet or be an entrepreneur? He listed later in the comments several successful, mostly American entrepreneurs who did not get a college degree. But some of these people came from money and others simply had entrepreneurial minds before entering college. Most at least attended college.

I know Daniel via online communication, and I know him to be very intelligent. Maybe he was that way before he entered university, maybe not. For me, going to university taught me very little that I didn’t already know, and having a degree has been a liability for me during past recessions, before the Internet offered career opportunities. It was hard being told, “You’re overqualified, and you’ll probably run when the recession is over, so I can’t give you a job.”

Nevertheless, despite the fact that I was brought up to be a critical thinker, and despite the fact that I’ve always known what I wanted to do careerwise (all of which I’ve done except one), if I had to do it all over again, I would still go to university/ college. However, most people go to college to “find themselves,” to determine what they’ll do with their lives. The question is, if you believe many top bloggers who say that most bloggers will not succeed (and I believe that), then what can you do and what skills will you need?

This is simply my belief, but I’m inclined to think that most of the online career opportunities will fall into a variety of non-blogging categories, some of which might be technical, all of which will require intelligence or the ability to acquire it. Which might or might not require a college degree. I’m still of the belief that having a degree will serve you well long-term, provided you study a subject that you’re interested in.

What do you think? Should aspiring web workers get college degrees? Should they work offline before going full-time online? Feel free to answer our poll question about how much work and education experience you have.

9 thoughts on “Do You Need a College Degree to Work Online?

  1. you can fast track your degree and get the credentials you need, University of Phoenix offers CLEP to test out of all fluff classes, colorado tech too. try a life experience degree maybe, most come with verification service. If your truthful about it youre not reaking any laws.
    good luck -charles-

  2. I have a bachelors degree, and I am working on a masters. However the older I get the more I realize that education is not as valuable as experience. For instance, with online careers, there is not much that can be taught that is more valuable then digging in and conquering the job at hand yourself. I suppose what I am saying is learning through your own exploration can be more productive than having a standard curriculum.

  3. Apologies to Alan and Daniel. I’d forgotten to include links to their articles. They’re in the post above now.

  4. I think college is a place which helps you think. Attending a college will surely help you somehow with either your offline work or online work.

    Offline business and online business are very different from each other, e.g. the way people work, the rules how they follow etc.,. It´s hard to judge whether or not someone should work offline before diving into the online world.

  5. I don’t mean that you’ll become an expert because you have a degree in something. You can probably learn the same by reading books by yourself. But you’ll be perceived as en expert, if you have a degree in area related to what you write about. The higher the degree, the bigger the authority you get.

  6. I’m “taking a break” from school right now and freelancing, and it’s getting hard to think of going back. The program I was in wasn’t teaching me anything.

    I realized that I can’t expect schools to keep up with web design to teach relevant classes. Instead of expecting to learn something that will apply the next day to something I’m working on, I should learn a lot in many subjects. I decided that when I go back I’m going to finish with a general studies degree, because that will allow me to take more history, writing, science, business, and art classes than my New Media degree would have allowed me. Then after that, the possibility to specialize with a masters would be open.

  7. While I can’t recommend it across the board, I think going to college is usually the best choice unless you have some blossoming online business or a thriving (meaning profitable) blog already. Even if you did, extra time in college would allow you to explore that opportunity while also preparing yourself for other careers after college.

    If nothing else, college expands your skill set, branches out your network and increases your world perspective (if you go to college outside of your current community).

    I believe that college improved my blogging by refining my writing style and exposing me to different perspectives that would challenge my opinions. College also allowed me to gain more Web development skills to jazz up my blogging and Web design.

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