The future is a degreeless-topia

How empowerment of small-scale value creation will decentralize work and bring about the fall of the education system as we know it

Image copyright onlineschools.com
  1. Technologies enabling productivity, expression, and self-promotion — Smartphones are another easy target for millennial criticism; the fact that they spend all their time staring at screens rather than having real social interaction. Sure, a face-to-face conversation cannot be substituted, but this argument is simply a straw-man, a distraction from the fact that smartphones enable an incredible boost in productivity, or the potential thereof. With the processing power of a high-powered computer in the palm of one’s hand, one can now practically do whatever kind of work or study that used to be limited to an office or classroom — on the go. With apps like Evernote, Google Docs, and OneDrive, our time spent in in transit, at home, or practically anywhere can be spend reading, writing, designing, coding, and creating. Meanwhile, blogging platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress allow us to make a virtual identity, or brand, for ourselves — something of a digital portfolio to showcase our creations. And finally, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow us to promote our activities to a broader audience, giving exposure to unbranded content, diversifying the market and providing an starting point for commercialization, which could potentially lead to a full time occupation later on.
  2. Easy access to information and low-cost education With high speed internet everywhere, high-powered laptop computers, and, once-again, smartphones, people can supply themselves with a constant intake of knowledge and education through online resources. With Wikipedia for general knowledge, Stack Overflow for technical know-how, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) hosted by Coursera and EdX among others, the opportunity for education is no longer confined to the college campus. The fact that pay structures here are either A) non-existent or B) on a course-by-course basis, means people can choose to learn a subject they find immediately relevant for a particular project or skill, making degree programs look bloated, overpriced, and filled with unnecessary and irrelevant core material.
  3. Shift in economic structure to reward risk taking activities –Entrepreneurship is not a just a passing trend made popular by high profile billionaire celebrities and posts on Medium. It’s a sign of a large-scale societal shift emphasizing the creation of small-scale value. With incubators and accelerators abound, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, young people have more incentives than ever to pursue entrepreneurship as a career path. With the availability of funding and resources, such activities become much less risky than ever before, allowing entry of small players into highly-competitive markets previously dominated only by large corporations. No longer is a degree a prerequisite for success; one will only be assessed on his/her creations — as an outcome of dedication, in the form of time and effort — and not by educational background as an indicator of potential value to an existing corporation.

It’s already happening.

This type of view is becoming more common with the rise of digital nomadism and co-working spaces. (Copyright johnnyvagabond.com)

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