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Answering Singaporean’s Question: Does It Make Sense To Be Getting A Degree?

A fresh perspective on personal finance, learning along the way! You can contribute your thoughts like Faith here.

Many tertiary students are facing yet another milestone. To get a degree or not? Poly students are stuck between wanting to work right after obtaining their diploma and getting a degree, but is it the better option?

Degree vs Diploma

In this article, we break down the cost of obtaining a degree and compare the salaries of fresh graduates from polytechnics and universities.

CourseDiplomaDegree
Business$2,000$3,600
Engineering$2,200$3,200
Science$2,350$3,600
Design$2,200$3,200
Information Systems$2,000$3,300

Out of the number of students going into a degree, approximately 70% of those students are from a junior college while 20% are diploma holders.

5 years ago, 60% of diploma holders would go on to secure a degree. Currently, the numbers have shot up to 80% of diploma holders looking towards a degree. But why?

It is a well-known fact that a degree holder will most likely have a higher chance of securing a job and having a higher starting pay of $3000 as compared to the $2000 starting pay of a diploma holder.

What Else Do I Need?

degree unemployment trend 2011-2016

The unemployment trend for degree and diploma holders have been increasing over the past 5 years! Word on the street is that a degree is the next ‘O’ level certificate. This means that it is no longer going to be what sets you apart from the rest. So how do I stand out? Here are our top three tips:

 1. Have A Goal In Mind

Mid this year, PM Lee gave some practical advice when addressing polytechnic students on how a degree is not the only option. They mentioned that regardless of degree or diploma holder, we need to be sure of our interests and our talents. By knowing so, we will then be able to hone our skills to that contribute to the industry we are interested in.

With some help from our friends at Glints, we gathered the salary of a few degrees you can consider when planning your goal:

DegreeSkills NeededSalary
Software EngineeringJavascripts
PHP
CSS
Java
HTML
$4,000
Data Science Data Analysis
SQL
Python
Microsoft excel
Node.js
$4,300
Design Graphic design
Adobe photoshop
Adobe illustrator
Adobe creative suite
$2,600
OperationsCustomer Service
Communication
Operations Management
Administration
$2,300
MarketingDigital marketing
Marketing communications
Campaign marketing
Marketing strategy
$2,800
Product ManagementProduct Development
Business development
Product management
Project management
$3,900
Business DevelopmentSales
Business development
Communication
Sales management
Marketing
$2,800
EngineeringTechnical Support
Systems engineering
Electrical engineering
$3,200
ManagementCommunication
Leadership
Interpersonal skills
Project management
$3,900
FinanceAccounting
Bookkeeping
Microsoft Excel
$2,900
Human ResourceRecruiting
Business development
Career counselling
Communication
$2,700
Media & CommunicationsContent writing
Public relations
Communication
Marketing
Video editing
$2,500

 2. Internships

This brings me to my next point, gain experience! This year, out of the 89.7% that found a job within 6 months of graduation, 80.2% secured a full-time job which is 2.9% lower than 2015.

Employers are now looking for new hires that can benefit the company and this is where internships come into play! With an internship, you would not only have been exposed to the working world but you also gain practical experience.

Finally, with an internship, you also have the chance of getting hired into a full-time job if you do well or even be recommended for another role!

 3. Networking

Now, don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t be networking with the intention to benefit from others! However, networking the right way and building genuine friendships could lead to a possibility of either being offered or recommended a job!

These steps may seem daunting but it’s easier than it looks! Companies like Glints aim to help fresh graduates in finding the ideal career. Not only that but they also provide internships which help you gain experience and network with key industry players!

What Now?

Armed with the knowledge of the salary you can expect to earn and our top three tips that will help you stand out from the rest, go out there and find that degree you are looking for! Additionally, here are a few skills that are currently in demand:

  • Software Engineering
  • Data Analytics
  • UX/UI Design
  • Digital Marketing
  • Cyber Security

That’s Not All!

Here’s the thing, although many Singaporeans strive to get that piece of paper to prove that we have obtained a degree. A degree is not everything, look at a few success stories like Charles Wong; owner of Charles and Keith or George Quek; owner of Breadtalk Group. If you have the passion and drive to reach for something else, go ahead and try it out!

For those of you interested in a part-time degree, check out this article and if you would like to know what else goes on in our community, join our facebook group where members share their insights!

 

Be part of our personal finance Facebook Group today! Share your knowledge and learn from the closely-knitted Seedly family as we look to bring each other on a more meaningful personal finance journey.
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