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The Everyday PM Podcast | Episode 18 "Degree Versus Experience"

Welcome to episode 18 of The Everyday PM Podcast where I look back at the age old debate of degree versus experience.

As the project management industry continues to grow and evolve, as does its' candidate pool. The rigid dichotomy between degree versus experience presents a question mark for everyone competing for project manager roles. Those candidates who are fresh out of college lack the experience employers are looking for, while other candidates who have been in project management for many, many years are supplementing their experience with certifications and degrees. According to Linsey Knerl (2018), author of Northeastern University Graduate Programs blog post on "Education vs. Experience: Which Do Employers Value More?", a recent survey of 50,000 employers reveals that there's a desire for both education and experience. Ultimately, what employers want to see is real-life application of academics, which means students will want to use their learnings on current projects and veterans of the industry will want to evolve their foundational knowledge by staying abreast on emerging trends in project management.

What are your thoughts on the debate between degree versus experience? Where do you stand in this debate? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Herbert Ellison
Herbert Ellison
07 jun 2021

Hello Ann, great podcast on Degree vs. Experience. Like yourself I lean towards the degree because that was pounded in my head. However, it is a catch 22 to enter the world of project management. Many employers say you must have a degree to be considered, but on the other hand they also want experience. The dilemma is how can you get experience without having the degree and vice versa. I agree, you need both. I fell into it from other roles as a lead and manager. This is definitely a challenge for entry level candidates.

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Ann Campea
Ann Campea
07 jun 2021
Contestando a

Hello, Herbert! Thanks for your comments! We have made a similar journey to project management. I agree that this is going to be a significant challenge for entry level candidates especially in our industry where experience makes up most of your foundation. I do think entry level candidates can benefit from adapting their work to fit in the context of project experience.

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