For many people, having a college degree is a gateway to success in life. Some believe that having a degree means that a level of intelligence has been reached so it is a ticket to achieving financial Success . While it is true that education is essential to success in life, it is not however, the only option or contributory factor towards achieving success. Most of today’s successful people are not college graduates but have developed and improve themselves to be who they are today. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are examples of people who abandoned college degree and went on be highly successful. So the question now is how does one succeed without a college degree?
Succeeding without a college degree is very achievable but it requires a lot of work because your value no longer comes from what you have been able to learn in college but from your ability to learn new things as the world changes and developing yourself accordingly. It requires common sense and been smart. There are five different ways you can achieve these:
(i) Expand your knowledge. You can expand your knowledge by taking up online courses and developing yourself. You can also expand your knowledge by reading wide. It has been said that knowledge is key, and you gain knowledge by reading extensively. Read anything and everything you can lay your hands on. Last week a friend of mine posted on his facebook timeline that he was looking for the book, “The Art of War” and somebody asked why he wanted to read a book about war, but he explained that the book was actually about management skills that were illustrated using the art of war, and that he needed to improve on his managerial skills, so he was looking for the book to read. You can see that reading helps to improve on your skills. So read extensively and expand your knowledge.
(ii) Do professional Certified courses. They are many professional courses that are not college degree but can give you certificates in skill trades such as wielding and fabrication, Health, Safety and Environment courses, and certificates in computer studies. Sometime ago, I had the opportunity of working in the Oil and Gas sector and I found out that Skills workers who had certification in their various areas of specialty were highly paid, sometimes even more than college graduates. So engage in professional courses that will make you a specialist in a particular field.
(iii) Build your experience. It is often said that experience is the best teacher. With the required skills and knowledge, if you have experience on your area of specialty you will definitely excel. A lot of companies tend to hire on the basis of your wealth of experience and competence on the job, rather than on qualification as a college graduate, because learning in the field is more valuable than what you have been taught in the classroom. It is believe that those with experience tend to perform better, so build your experience portfolio.
(iv) Find a mentor. Having a mentor in your chosen field can go a long way in helping you achieve success, because a mentor will show you the best way you can develop and help yourself. A mentor will be able to advise you and show you the ropes. As mentor he may have gone through your situation so he will know exactly how to help you when you encounter difficulties. So look for people in your chosen field that can mentor you in your career.
(v) Build a network of competent people around you. It is important to surround yourself with a network competent people instead of surrounding yourself with never do well. When you surround yourself with competent people you tend to tap from their knowledge and experience. I know a successful billionaire today who never went to college but built a business empire from the scratch by surrounding himself with competent hands who were college graduates and PHD holders. When he started his company, his director of finance was PHD holder and also a chartered accountant. All his project managers were all college graduates and so within a short time he was able to build a large business empire which has become a success story today. So surround yourself with a network of people who will be beneficial to your success.
While we agree that education is essential to success in life it is not however, a guarantee that one will be successful. Achieving success without a college degree is being able to build on your human development capacity and carrying out the five steps which are outlined above.