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After getting a job, what will ensure that you stay employed, grow in your career and make a decent living? When it comes to your career, the debate on whether work experience is more valuable than higher education or vice versa is something to consider.

While some argue that higher education only proves that one is book smart and not street smart when it comes to the real-world work, others imply that a higher degree ensures that you acquire a particular set of skills that are useful in the office space.

While this argument rages on, what does the workplace say?

Work experience is not necessarily relevant experience

Employers are lured by your work experience, but you must have the relevant experience to appeal to them more. Work experience should highly relate to the job that you are looking for. Your experience has to show some aspect of growth. You are more marketable when there are quantifiable results from the time and effort you put into work.

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Education plus the work experience is a great combination

This requires a lot of dedication and discipline to pull off. If you work full-time, you can enrol for weekend or evening classes. In this way, you gain more experience as you get to a higher level of education. Acquiring higher education as you study is a slower route to get you where you want to go in your career, but once you have both; you will easily stand out among the crowd. Approaching potential employers with substantial education coupled with outstanding work experience will not only get you the job but will keep you at the job you want.

A degree earned 20 years ago may be useless now

Things change, especially in the technological field. If you have not been gaining relevant work experience related to your field of study, with time, your degree may be of very little use. Timing matters a lot when it comes to education and experience in such fields. Gaining experience at work and keeping up with the trends as you continuously learn will help you perform better as time goes by.

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If you want to progress, learning is a must

Education never ends, it only begins. Education opens the mind to recognize and take advantage of new opportunities. It gives one the knowledge, awareness, facts and the path to make the best out of every opportunity. How to utilize what you learn in college will help you cut out a niche for yourself, communicate intelligently from a point of information and think independently.

If you choose to further your education, evaluate if you gain practical knowledge

Education doesn’t just mean getting good grades and attaining that university degree. Education means acquiring knowledge.

Lacking a degree doesn’t have to restrict your career choices

The Late Robert ‘Bob’ Collymore did not have a college education, yet he was at the helm of one of the most successful companies in the world of communication.

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The determination to make the best out of life is what separates them from others. Some find their way back to school to get the relevant papers to complement their vast experience. However, others continuously learn on the job, they master the art of adaptability and move on to become the most highly sort after experts in their fields. This proves that higher education does not have to be formal, but attaining knowledge is the most valuable asset to invest in.

In the end,

Consider all your options and determine which one is more suited to the career path you would like to take.