Could micro-credentials compete with traditional degrees?



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Could micro-credentials compete with traditional degrees? - BBC

The skills gap means companies are increasingly considering candidates from non-traditional paths. Could targeted, bite-sized chunks of education help you get a job?

In 2011, Scott Young took on a challenge that perplexed many of his peers. He would attempt to complete an MIT computer science degree without enrolling in the elite Boston-based university, using free materials that MIT posted online. Young built a curriculum using recorded classes, did the necessary assignments and exams mirroring the constraints and conditions (to the extent possible) that MIT students were subject to. He graded everything himself, using the solutions and marking schedule that MIT made available. In the end, he ‘completed’ the equivalent of what an MIT degree might look like without paying any tuition fees. His only expenses were the required textbooks.

Young already held a bachelor’s degree in business, as he explained in his 2012 TEDx Talk. But several years into his career, he knew he wanted to study computer science. Yet he didn’t want to commit to a four-year degree; if a degree was like eating a five-course meal, he wanted his education ‘a la carte’.

Young’s approach to education might be an anomaly, and it’s important to note that he undertook the project out of curiosity rather than as a training mechanism for a programming career; he did not obtain an ‘official’ MIT degree. Yet as the cost of a university education continues to balloon, many wonder whether the return on the investment is worth it and if there might be alternative paths to job success.