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If I have strong experiences and major achievements (even some that are recognized as remarkable across the industry), would missing formal educational qualifications still limit my opportunities to progress within an organization/company? Or be hired into a new company in a growth role?

Is there a cut-off point where the lack of qualifications doesn't matter anymore and experience/achievements can make up for that?

  • In its purest form, this could be a "fun" question, but it's not objective. – Jim G. May 24 '14 at 2:19
  • *comments removed* If you think the question is not a good fit for our site, please vote to close and leave a helpful comment explaining why. Criticism should be constructive, rather than just critical. – jmac May 25 '14 at 2:13
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It really depends on what type of organisation you want to work for. In my last two jobs a university degree was an expectation even though they did not state that in the job ads. These were both for Fortune 500 companies. I did not have a degree (in fact I am a high school drop out), but I did have experience behind me - and more pertinently I was currently studying part time at university (which got my foot in the door).

In larger companies you tend to have to deal with more bureaucracy and thus a "piece of paper" is mandatory even if you have the skills otherwise. In smaller companies there is less of the bureaucracy and it doesn't really matter so long as you have the experience behind you. The challenge is knowing which organisation you want to work for and how far up the ladder you want to go. It has been my experience though that once you have your foot in the door, your qualifications didn't matter. I was not required to give my resume when applying for in house positions at either company and was given opportunities to develop myself on company dime and time anyways.

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If you ever want to apply for a work visa, lacking a formal education can be very limiting since most countries require such applicants to have a diploma in the field that the they wish to work in within the new country.

I don't exactly know if you consider this to be limiting from a career progression point of view, but it very well can be for some people.

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Is there a cut-off point where the lack of qualifications doesn't matter anymore and experience/achievements can make up for that?

It depends on your field.

I don’t have a computer science degree, but for the past 2 decades I have managed to get computer gig after computer gig. First being an I.T. person. Then desktop publishing. Then web design. Then web development. Then Unix systems administration. Pretty much all self taught on the job as well as on my own. Now I have actually been tutoring & consulting with others. Showing them my skills. They have degrees & I don’t!

I have a steady job now & am respected for what I do. But there are times I wonder if I should get a grad school degree in something computer related because I feel I have to fight harder to get similar pay as my peers. And sometimes I wonder if I could work a fraction as much as others & earn more pay if I had a true comp-sci background.

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