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Degree vs Skills – why do you need them both

The debate between which is more useful, a degree or skills, has been a hot topic in recent years. Degrees and skills offer you a range of benefits, with degrees being important in specific fields and vice versa. But regardless of the field that you are building a career in, having both a degree and skills is more beneficial than only having a degree or only having skills.

Why you need a degree

Degree vs Skills – why do you need them both

Most fields require job applicants to have at least some form of qualification. In most cases, when you apply for a job you will send your CV to the company or recruiters. At this stage of the job application, your qualifications are the first thing looked at. This is why having a degree is important, as it qualifies you to be considered for your dream job.

Once you get the job you applied for, your degree is still useful. The initial onboarding and training phase will not be overly challenging and you could be offered promotions due to your qualifications. A degree also offers you status among your colleagues and clients. Certain colleges and universities are more prestigious than others, and obtaining a degree from them would offer you a higher status within the company. Some fields, like health care and finance, often experience their clients being interested in your qualifications. Having the relevant qualifications will put their mind at ease and allow them to build a level of trust in you.

Why you need skills

Why you need skills

Although degrees technically qualify you for a position, skills individualise you. When considering two applications, the application that has a degree and skills will likely be successful over the application that only has a degree. To build your skills and experience, you can job shadow, do freelance work, or find an internship within your field.

Having skills are also a good sign for companies and recruiters as they show that you are passionate about your career and eager to learn more than the bare minimum. Having skills will also allow you to grow within the company and, in turn, helps the company grow.

Which skills are important to have?

Some of the most important skills to have are critical thinking, being able to work in a team, a strong work ethic, good communication skills, and leadership.

Which skills are important to have

Here are some of our notes:

  • Being able to think critically is one of the most important skills to have, no matter what field you are in. Critical thinking encompasses analysing evidence, asking questions, testing theories, and having good observational skills to formulate your own ideas and opinions.
  • Most fields require strong teamwork skills, especially post-pandemic. As many companies still choose to work remotely, you will need to be able to work with a team to get the job done while having little to no physical contact. Being able to work in a team also results in higher productivity and allows room for learning.
  • Every field requires a strong work ethic, otherwise, you will not be successful at your job.
  • Good communication skills are one of the most important skills to have, especially in a post-pandemic world. Today, most young people are technologically inclined, but this may result in communication skills that are not as profound as they are used to texting with improper grammar and informal greeting practices.
  • Strong leadership skills are cultivated by having all of the above skills. Being a strong leader results in higher productivity levels and engaged colleagues within the company.


If you want to be the perfect candidate for your dream job, you will need to cultivate your skills and have the required degree. Having a degree and a set of skills is important, with the levels of importance for either varying across fields. Nonetheless, both are important to be offered a job and to build a career. It is for this reason that the IMM Graduate School has integrated Professional Development activities into each programme’s curriculum. Students can upskill from a library of online skills courses, network with industry at events and be exposed to the real world of work while studying towards their qualification.