Will Higher Education Guarantee a Better Career?

When your parents and teachers were trying to inspire you to learn, what did they say? “The only way to guarantee yourself a bright future is to study! Those who graduate from college will succeed, and those who give up will fail.”

Is there truth in that claim? Does higher education really guarantee you a better career?

There’s no definite answer to that question. Some people make it in the world of business even if they don’t hold a degree. Others wouldn’t make it without the degree they hold. Education is an important factor for professional progress, but it’s not the ultimate one. It works in combination with multiple other factors, which together form the real foundation for success.

Why Is Education Important?

Before we tackle the question from our headline, let’s discuss the importance of education in the career journey:

  • One of the main functions of higher education is to prepare people for a successful transition towards their chosen career path. We cannot ignore that. If someone wants to become a social worker, proper higher education will only help them get ready for the world they are about to face. No; they won’t be fully prepared and they will still need to gain experience. The educational training, however, is an important advantage.
  • Education also helps people to make informed decisions about their careers. It’s no wonder why college students get so many opportunities to choose subjects. It’s not just about the credits. It’s about developing various interests and aspirations, which ultimately help them to choose a career path.
  • Higher education helps people to expand their common knowledge. They learn things that they could learn without going to school, but the formal setting leaves them no choice but to learn.
  • Higher education is absolutely necessary for some types of jobs. Let’s say you want to be a chemical engineer or a doctor. Of course you’ll need a degree. Maybe you don’t need a degree for freelancing or business ownership, but education helps you get a job even in those cases.

Now that we explained why education is important, is it necessary for the career path that does not absolutely require a degree?

We’ll answer by analyzing the four types of personalities that make it big in the corporate world. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started without degrees, right?

Four Types of Personalities Aimed Towards Success

1. Good Decision-Makers

You may have studied at the best universities in the world. If you lack decision-making skills, however, your chances of success are slim. If you’re a great decision-maker, however, then you’re strong enough to work steadily towards a particular goal.

This is one of the main characteristics of the ISTJ personality type, based on the Myers-Briggs categorization. It’s the introversion/sensing/thinking/judging type, which is characterized by logical and practical thinking. These people are realistic about the situation and rely on their logical judgment to come down to the best decision.

Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos have this personality type. Both of them have university degrees. Robert de Niro, on the other hand, also has ISTJ personality, but he doesn’t have a degree (if we exclude the honorary degree he got from Brown). But of course he got training that was relevant to his career as an actor.

2. Responsible People

When you’re on your way towards a great career, you know you have to hold yourself responsible to your own values, as well as to social values. Responsibility is a major characteristic of the ENTP (extraversion/intuition/thinking/perceiving) type. This is the type of person that sees possibilities everywhere, and can motivate groups of people to join the path towards their vision.

When many people feel helpless under tough circumstances, this is the type of person that is guided by internal control and determination. We’ll mention only one name as a representative of this type: Leonardo da Vinci. He received no formal education, but he’s one of the most genius people that ever lived. So no; the degree is not essential when you aim towards success. Your determination and personal responsibility to do your best – those are the things that matter.

3. Risk-Takers

Can you think of a successful people without curiosity as a main character trait? That’s hardly the case. Successful people get far in their lives because they are curious and they are willing to take risks. They are tireless learners, and they constantly seek knowledge that makes them better. They love to learn, and they use that knowledge to take risks that almost always resolve to their advantage.

If we refer to the Myers-Briggs typology, we’ll find that characteristic in the ENTJ (extraversion/intuition/thinking/judging) type. This is the personality of a rational, decisive, and confident character. This person can predict the outcome of a risk by being well-informed and by planning on the long term. Steve Jobs is one of the most prominent representatives of this type. You probably know that he dropped out of college, but we can safely say that he never stopped learning.

4. Creative People

If we start naming authors, actors, inventors, and artists of all kinds, we’ll realize that most of them don’t have degrees. Entrepreneurship has a lot to do with creativity, too. You’re basically creating and building something from nothing, and you have to do it better and more genuinely than anyone else.

Creativity isn’t exclusive to a particular personality type, but it’s mostly a characteristic of INTJ (introversion/intuition/thinking/judging). This is the perfect combination of creativity, curiosity, and ambition. You probably know that Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college and did pretty well without the degree, but did you know that INTJ was his personality type?

Formal Education May Not Be a Necessity, But Learning Still Is

How do people reach success? Learning is an important part of the process. Although not all successful people hold degrees, they all invest in self-education. That’s a definite. You may gain education without going to college, but higher education does provide an inspiring setting.

If we take a look at all successful people without degrees, we cannot say that they are under-educated. They just gained their education away from the formal setting.

Whatever your decision is, you must keep working and investing in your skills. Maybe you won’t gain them through higher education, but your commitment to learning will certainly make the biggest difference.


Joseph McLean is an academic writer and tutor of assignment writers. Yeah, yeah; many people hate essays, but he absolutely loves the format. Structure, flexibility, creativity, discipline – all in one!