Degree: Yes or No?
Although I am an extremely strong supporter of more education at all levels, I have to back some of the counter comments of this forum.
Why? Personal experience. Decades ago both my brother and I entered the construction industry through the same union, helped by our already unionized uncles. My brother excelled, running small jobs while still only a 1st year apprentice. Now entering his 50's, he is earning about $100,000 a year, his beautiful home is paid for, and he is thinking about retiring with a huge union pension. Good for him.
I, on the other hand, did not excel. I was constantly laid off, bounced from company to company, and finally, after 20 years, left the trade, and union in frustration 25 years ago, and now am 64 years of age, earn around eight to ten thousand dollars a year doing odd jobs. I had the exact same opportunities as my brother in every way. As a matter of fact I had more. I had 4 1/2 more years of formal education. I topped my final semester of trade school, ( I have a plaque somewhere to prove it), I am far more literate and widely read, but that made no difference. I was a square peg in a round hole and should have bailed early but the money, when it came, was too good to walk away from. I am what is called "a good exam taker" but you would regret hiring me. So, when comes to certificate vs experience, all I can say is, Let the hirer beware."
P. S. I have a 1st cousin whose story is identical to my brother's, same trade, same companies.
P.P.S. I have been reading El Reg for years and it sounds like IT is rife with similar square peggers. My sympathies to the average Reg reader who does seem to know his ass from his elbow, or at least is willing to learn the diff. Cheers!