Should I tell my employer I'm currently in school to complete my bachelors degree? With my current role at the company having a degree will not give me a raise or a promotion. It will also not open up new opportunities since it's a small software company and I'm already just 2 heads from the top of the pyramid -- only chance of a promotion is if my boss dies or quits.

I went back to school 2 years ago and I've not let anyone at the company find out. I'm just 1 year from having my degree at which point I plan to put myself back on the job market. For now my primary focus is to just maintain my current job until I finish my degree as my job security is very good here.

My concern is if my employer finds out I'm in school I fear they will suspect what my intentions are (to find a new job) with my new fancy piece of expensive paper; since it's obviously not to get a promotion.

At this point I really don't plan to tell anyone, but my concern is that someone finds out and then people start to question my loyalty because I've kept a rather large secret about my personal life. To that point, I've not lied to anyone about it as no one has asked me if I was in school. I just have not been forthcoming with the information.

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    It's been more than a year now.. Have you passed, and do you still work in the same company??
    – Aname
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 16:31
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    @Aname - I have finished school and do still work for the same company. I did hold my "secret" as such all the way through. Since, I've made it public by adding my education to my LinkedIn profile as if it had been there all along.
    – token
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 4:39

3 Answers 3


Your employer should expect that you are constantly expanding your skills and abilities and that you will leave as soon as you get a better offer.

The first is almost a mandatory trait for anyone in IT, and the second is simply reality and reciprocal behavior -- your employer will certainly drop you if they feel the need.

Which means that they don't need to find anything out to suspect that your days with them are numbered, it just brings it more into focus.

You are under no obligation to tell them the specifics about your expanding skills unless they are paying for it. While it may possibly be beneficial to them for you to do so, it's not a benefit you are obligated to give them and it could just as easily end up having a negative impact (which you are likewise under no obligation to prevent).

Basically, until you have a job offer in hand, there's no point in bringing it up since it there's no definite benefit to either you or the company.

  • Also, as the company grows, it helps to have the key team members be as qualified as possible. To some people, that means having degrees.
    – user8365
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 18:31

If you've been with the company for 5 years, there's a very good chance that they've completely forgotten what your educational background was. They know you're loyal, a good worker, and get things done. They know you provide value to the company.

Therefore, once you get your degree and find another job, just say you're looking at other opportunities to expand and grow your career, and that you've found a job with X company. Give them the notice period, but don't mention the degree unless they ask.

If I apply for a new job at another company, I don't have to tell my soon-to-be former employer that the time I spent working on an open source project during my off time improved my skills enough to land the new job. The fact is that people move on all the time, and depending on how valuable you are to the company, they may counter-offer and they may not. Saying you've been working for 4 years to get a degree without telling them might be kind of offensive, especially if you were friends with anyone there.

As a side note, if they counter-offer or express interest in keeping you on, it then might be advantageous to mention the new degree. It will put things in perspective for your employer and help them understand that you're no longer a little fish, so to speak.

Other than that, telling them you have a degree shouldn't matter in their decision to keep you on or not. You're already working for them, and a piece of paper doesn't change how valuable you are to them, only how marketable you are to other employers.


I'll be honest here... They have given you two years of employment, then to be three if you stick around long enough. if you go and attempt to get another job give your current employers the courtesy of a counteroffer at least. If they refuse, then give your two weeks and don't burn any bridges.

If you have done this so far without your employer knowing, then there is no reason why to tell them till after the fact anyway, especially if you are not going to stick around in the first place

  • I've actually been with the company for 5 years, I just went back to school 2 years ago when I determined my only way up was out and I felt the credential will help with this. What you've suggested is pretty much what I've been thinking, but I'd like to get some more feedback from the community before accepting the answer.
    – token
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 3:53
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    The idea of accepting a counteroffer honestly scares me. To me it just gives your current employer a chance to find your replacement and let you go on their schedule instead of yours. If I am looking for another job, there is a reason (money, not happy with work, etc.) and the idea that they will only fix it once I tell them I am leaving bothers me more than them saying no in the first place. Especially if it is about money, why did they not recognize I was worth more before it came to that? Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 17:20
  • A company sometimes will counteroffer if you are leaving to keep you. I've had it offered before, never accepted it because I didn't like where I worked at the time. If I was in a spot like his and they liked me, and wanted to keep me, I may of accepted.
    – Matt Ridge
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 18:21
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    Downvoting because accepting a counteroffer is generally considered a bad idea for many reasons. If there's a counteroffer that could convince you to stay, the time to ask for it is before you accept a job elsewhere and before giving notice with your current company. Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 16:18
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    I never said not to counteroffer before accepting another job, did I? I said to counteroffer to see if they would be willing to pay you more to keep you. You are assuming without asking to clarify what I was saying.
    – Matt Ridge
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 16:43

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