Are digital degrees 'useless' without employment skills?

With university applications on the increase, and a job ratio of 1:70 graduate students, are 'employment skills' just as important to learn when studying a digital degree?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

University applications are going up, almost 12% this year in the UK alone and figures showing US applications on the increase though lagging behind other countries. But for every graduate level job, 70 graduates on average apply making the chances of post-graduate employment difficult.

The economic downturn hasn't helped things, with unemployment at record levels and an influx of graduate students adding to the numbers.

But a controversy is brewing in the UK - and frankly worldwide as well - in regards to 'modern' degrees in computing, the digital age, and multimedia technology and the lack of actual workplace skills gained from such.


Lord Jones, former CBI business leader criticised colleges and universities for not "dealing with the challenges of today". Whereas opposing him, Nicola Dandrige, chief executive of Universities UK, smashed his argument:

"For example the digital economy is huge and creating lots of new types of university courses. Someone who's not engaged in that kind of world will think 'oh, well, that's a Mickey Mouse course', but actually that's where industry is at."

Union's are saying how important graduates are to the future economy, and that encouraging digital degrees - those in areas of modern day computing, technology and design - are wanted by many major key world players including the US, France, Germany and India.

However, this is not the be-all and end-all.

Students leaving university may well know about Facebook, Twitter, and therefore social media, the power of viral marketing, communications and the ability to be creative. But as Sarfraz Manzopoor of the Guardian questions, should universities teach students how to find a job and be good employees?

Having the knowledge is one thing, but integrating both the knowledge you have and the skills to be an effective employee is another.

I feel that had I been engaged soley in my degree, I would have found difficulty adjusting to an office working environment. Perhaps a masters degree and a PhD down the line would put things off for a while; eventually I'll have to go for work and try my best at the interview process.

Digital degrees on their own - like any other academic qualification, perhaps with the exception of law and medicine - need to be tied in with the real life workplace. Whether it's an on-the-job placement or theory skills which engage the student in understanding the simple factors of how an office works, being a good post-graduate employee goes far beyond a slip of paper at the end of the day.

What do you think? Are digital degrees 'useless' without employment skills

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