If you had to list 5 worthless degrees . . .

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by NorCal, Aug 23, 2021.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I don't have to imagine. There was a time when my salary was $28.5K while my student loan debt was $60K. And I didn't even have my PhD yet.

    (I got better.)
  2. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Sanantone, you have my sympathy. Part 2 of the SEE was the very definition of a bear. I literally danced a brief victory dance in amazement and relief when the computer told me I had passed. The prometric people just stared at me through the window.
    sanantone likes this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I experienced the same phenomenon sitting for the PMP, CPTD, and SHPR. Patted down, no contraband, and staring at the screen at the end of each test (several years apart, they were), almost trembling before pressing "Submit," all the while being observed by the Prometric Posse.

    (Yes, Trump fans, I spelled "posse" correctly.)
  4. Brian

    Brian New Member

    I don't really have a list of 5 per se, just a list of ones that are largely worthless and you would likely be better off doing something else for that same amount of effort, especially if bachelors level is where you stop:

    - Non-Electrical, non-computer engineering degrees (like environmental / mechanical / civil / nuclear, etc...). I can qualify this. I made the mistake of studying mechanical engineering as an undergrad decades ago. It turns out that at least in the US, there are like 25k people per year who graduate with bachelors in MechE and get their license, plus another 5k who go through for a masters in MechE and also become licensed (at least by passing the FE exam) ... however, between 2000 and 2015 there were only 3k new jobs per year from the combined influences of engineers retiring and the market growing. A HUGE % of new engineering grads never ended up getting work in the field. I never had a problem with employment in general, but I never worked in engineering and only a few of my classmates ever did either. As far as I know, environmental and civil engineering were/are much the same. Most everyone I know who studied electrical or computer engineering is employed in that field. Those fields don't have the same over-saturation issues like the other engineering disciplines.

    - Anything non-traditional with the word "studies" at the end of it (like ethnic dance studies). This is the type of thing you'd probably be better off getting a business degree then minoring in whatever you're really into. Then go start a small business in that field or work for a non-profit in that area or whatever. At least you'll have some accounting and management skills.

    - Chemistry. So this is basically because everyone I know who got a chem degree and stopped at undergrad ended up working really terrible hourly QA jobs for at least 5-10 years after undergrad. Most who pulled themselves out of those jobs did so by getting an MBA later or getting a PhD in chemistry and then getting a salary position in R&D somewhere.

    - Psychology. Kinda same thing as the chem degree above. Most people I know with only undergrad psych degrees ended up working HR or something absolutely unrelated like retail work or customer service. To move up wherever they were, they eventually got an MBA or went back to get some graduate credential if they wanted to stay in the psychology field (MPH, MSW, PhD, PsyD, MD, etc...). On it's own it didn't prove that useful is all. Great degree for getting into all kinds of graduate degree programs, but weak by itself.

    - Religion/Philosophy. Also largely useless at a terminal undergrad level. Great for getting into grad/professional school, but not much else.
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If you consider colleges and universities to be trade schools, then the arguments over what is and what is not "useless" can continue ad nauseam. But if you consider them something more, something where both growth (technical skills) and development can occur, then whether or not a degree is "worthless" has as many answers as their are graduates.

    Either way, it's pointless generalization.
  6. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Scratching head... not sure I see this, but I'm not disputing what you experienced. For what it's worth, there's not an industrial or manufacturing employer that I know of, who has enough engineers at this point. Doesn't matter what the specialty is, an engineer can solve complex problems and research and apply tools, that's an invaluable skill set across many realms.

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  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member



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