Everyone has a college degree nowadays. The infamous mantra “Ds get degrees” is the reason the job market is saturated with BFAs that are worth little more than B.S.
The reality is that in today’s job market, the value of a degree has changed. As accessible as a click, concepts that 50 years ago were only passed down through college courses, are today available to anyone for free. What isn’t as accessible is practical experience and the ability to critically and creatively solve problems in novel ways.
Enter Revature. Revature pitches their program as getting paid while you’re in coding school, but it’s a shiny apprenticeship model. They supply software engineers to the officiest of companies (banks, insurance brokers, and the like) and pay students minimum wage to take a twelve week course in exchange for a two year commitment at the company with a $50k – 65k yearly salary.
This is what a college degree did for our parents and theirs – provided a meaningful and quantitative outcome for higher education. A degree gave them the tools and means to snag lifelong careers with wages that provided retirements and health insurance and financial freedom.
Perhaps to an out-for-themselves generation, this prospect sounds unsatisfying.
On the other hand, perhaps the entrepreneurial spirit of millennials was inspired by a market saturated with deflated degrees. That combined with fewer entry level jobs left an entire generation with no choice but to fend for themselves.
Perhaps, in the great cyclical nature of our time, the resurgence of the apprenticeship like Revature (and DCI, and others) offers, will provide a new means for people with drive and know-how to gain insight and skill without spending thousands for a piece of paper that nowadays is arguably worth about as much as a piece of paper.
The apprentice should be not only applauded but adopted by any company that can afford it.
It’s the perfect platform to witness potential candidates in an actual workplace rather than looking at degrees and GPAs. The best person for a position may not be someone who could afford college, but has the drive and the passion to stick with a company for the long haul.
There is a reason why graduate and doctoral programs require internships from their students before slapping them with credentials. Because a classroom setting teaches students how to survive in a classroom setting.
On the job paid training may give the next generation a new pathway to substantial careers, and give companies a workforce trained to their specific standards and needs.