Why Do Tesla, Google, and Netflix No Longer Require Undergraduate Degrees?

Giant high-tech businesses such as Tesla, Google, Netflix and Apple no longer require undergaraduate degrees to apply for job openings.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, claims that you don’t need an undergraduate degree to join the company. Feel free to apply as long as you have exceptional skills to fill the position we need. It doesn’t really matter  if you have a bachelor’s degree or a high school diploma. We don’t care about your academic background; what matters is that you have excellent SKILLS (proven skills).

That is the announcement made by Elon Musk. HR managers at Google, Tesla, and Apple all expressed the same thing. A bachelor’s degree is no longer required in registering to become a highly qualified employee at these leading companies.

Does that mean that undergraduate degrees and diplomas will become increasingly irrelevant in this era of the Industrial Revolution 4.0? Is it true that an undergraduate degree is “overrated”?

The issue might be that a large number of college graduates lack the necessary skills. Leaders in a highly competitive industry require new employees with proven and “ready to use” skills.

Unfortunately, the undergraduate curriculum is meant to emphasize on theory and conceptual knowledge, so most undergraduates lack ready-to-use practical skills.

As a result, there is a notion that most undergraduates excessively rely on theory, and do not understand the relevant skills, leaving many unemployed. However, this viewpoint is less accurate.

Undergraduate students only know theory? What really happened is just the opposite: many undergraduates today do not understand the theories taught or have only a flimsy grasp of them. For example, what is the average number of scientific books read by undergraduates in Indonesia during the course of four or five years of college? 50, 100, or 400 scientific book titles? Perhaps not even 50. 

This level of illiteracy most likely results in undergraduates who have just a rudimentary understanding of theory. Before being allowed to register for graduation, every undergraduate should be required to read and study at least 200 titles of scientific literature during the course of four years of college.

So what occurred was a lethal combination: they had no mastery of theory (because they were too lazy to study), and they also had no provision of practical skills. As a result, the bachelor’s degree they were so proud of was essentially worthless. So it’s understandable that Elon Musk doesn’t need them.

Google Certificates are “alternative education programs” provided by Google as a solution. This program provides training and information for only 6 months, but includes extensive practice. The goal of this program is to provide someone with PROVEN SKILLS. Unlike the undergraduate degrees.

Anyone, even fresh high school or junior high school graduates, is eligible to join the program. Google doesn’t care what degree they have, as long as they  want to learn how to master particular skills. So far, Google Certificates are only available for Android App Development, UX Design, Data Analytics, Project Management, and IT Support.

They may use the certificate to apply for a job at Google after they graduate from the programs, and many companies in America are also willing to accept it. Because these Google Certificate graduates have demonstrated that they have the SKILLS that the market requires.

I believe that a solution similar to Google Certificates should be implemented in Indonesia as well. Provide training and education that focuses on developing productive skills for a duration of six months, but with FULL practice.

Aside from IT skills such as Android App, UX Design, and programming, there are a variety of additional skills that may be taught in an applicable manner. Those hot skills that are currently in high demand are:

    Shopee/Tokopedia Selling Skills

    Online Copywriting

    Facebook Advertising

    Tiktok Marketing

    Youtube Content Creation Skills

    Blogging for Money Skills

    Google Search Engine Skills

    Culinary Business Skills

Thus, for a whole six months of practice, a person concentrates on mastering one type of skill. Of course, the instructors are experienced professionals. For example, the guest lecturers who teach Shopee Selling Skills are STAR Sellers with monthly sales of more than IDR 500 million. Alternatively, individuals that teach Blogging for Money courses are famous bloggers who have earned hundreds of millions to billions from their blogging activities.

The training fee for six months of practice may range between IDR 3-5 million. Nevertheless, following graduation, graduates are guaranteed to have mastered proven and productive SKILLS (just like the Google Certificates concept, which has proven successful in producing skilled graduates), and everyone is welcome to join the program, even if they are only high school or junior high school graduates.

I believe that participants of the 6-month local program modeled after Google Certificates will be more READY to MAKE THEIR OWN MONEY than undergraduate students who study for four years at a far higher expense. Currently, the average tuition fee at public and private universities is approximately IDR 5 million per semester, about a total of IDR 40 million for 8 semesters of study, not including boarding and other expenses.

This 6-month full practice program, on the other hand, is a wonderful opportunity for high school graduates who do not have the financial means to pursue their higher education. All of them can join this program at a low cost and are trained intensively for 6 months to master APPLICATIVE SKILLS. I think that this alternative education program will better prepare students to earn a livelihood on their own in the future.

In this day and age of the digital economic explosion, perhaps what is required more than ever is PROVEN SKILLS that can generate income instantaneously. Not an undergraduate degree, which is oftentimes worthless.

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