The percentage of Americans aged 25 or older with at least a bachelor’s degree jumped 7 percentage points last decade, from about 29% in 2010 to 36% in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But there are career paths you can dominate without a college degree.
The U.S. Census Bureau statistic means roughly one in three U.S. adults has graduated from a four-year degree program. And if the trendline holds, the number of university graduates is likely to increase significantly in the years ahead.
It would seem that choosing not to go to college is a losing proposition. Rightly or wrongly, many employers see educational attainment as a proxy for intelligence and competence. Thus, any CV with a thin education section prompts the question: “Why?”
6 Career Paths You Can Dominate Without a College Degree
So is it a foregone conclusion that you need a four-year college degree to get ahead in the present-day job market? That you should go back to school if you’ve been skating by with only a high school diploma up until now?
Nope. Although not every career path is open to people without college degrees, choice career opportunities remain for high school graduates. In fact, high school graduates can absolutely dominate any number of fields with surprisingly high earning potential and good job growth prospects.
Here’s a snapshot of the best opportunities for people who haven’t graduated from college.
Real Estate Sales and Investing
The housing market ebbs and flows, but the general trend is upward.
For aspiring real estate agents and investors, that’s excellent news. Neither occupation requires a four-year college degree, although agents and brokers need to pass licensing exams and gain market experience before really setting out independently. In addition, investors need some startup capital, a requirement that’s significantly easier to meet for those targeting turnkey investment properties in lower-cost markets.
Either way, real estate professionals are limited only by how hard they’re willing to work. Not some piece of paper that stands in for their experience.
Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical
One doesn’t become a master plumber, electrician, or HVAC technician overnight. It takes years of training and hard work to dominate this career path. But it doesn’t require a college degree. And these fields’ earning potential is more impressive than assumed. Plumbers and electricians in business for themselves can easily earn six figures.
The renewable energy industry is a place to make your mark in a career path. Renewable energy is the wave of the future and every part of the entire field is experiencing a period of unprecedented expansion. While solar and wind energy generation isn’t as labor-intensive as dirty alternatives like coal and gas, renewable energy companies still need lots of capable bodies to install and maintain turbines, PVs, transmission infrastructure, and more.
There will always be skilled technicians in almost any part of the renewable energy supply chain and structure to produce all the needed parts in this vast and deep resource. Few entry-level renewable energy jobs require four-year degrees, and given the industry’s vast growth potential, capable employees can easily grow into positions of greater responsibility.
Hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues run more efficiently every year, but they still require capable and experienced professionals to manage them. And in all but the most exclusive hotels, those professionals don’t need to prove they spent four years learning the ropes. Instead, a two-year culinary or hotel management degree is all that’s needed, and sometimes not even that.
Many project management professionals spent the early years of their careers learning the basics of their industries: how to build houses, design infrastructure, assemble products, design websites, and deliver healthcare. As a result, you probably won’t land a choice project management gig right out of high school. But if you work hard and show that you’re capable of managing your time (and other people) better than your coworkers, a more comfortable occupation awaits.
High-speed algorithms do most of the heavy lifting in the modern securities trading environment, but it still falls to humans to spot subtle patterns that the machines miss. Plus, the algos only care about money because we tell them to. So if you have a high tolerance for risk and a healthy drive to maximize profit, you don’t need a fancy degree to make your way in the market.
Dominate Your Field and Career Path Without a College Degree
What do all these fields have in common? For starters, they all pay well, even the ones not known for minting millionaires. You might not get rich as a journeyman plumber, but you’ll be able to pay your bills and live a solid, middle-class life.
They’re also all here to stay. Sure, technology and automation are set to disrupt practically every line of work in the near-ish future. But it isn’t easy to imagine a world without human electricians, web developers, or renewable energy technicians. And people will always need places to live, even after robots and algorithms take over the thankless jobs they used to do.
So, if you don’t have a college degree and don’t plan on getting one, you have lots of career choices available to you. The direction you choose depends on your preference and the type of work that makes you happy and supports the lifestyle you want to live.
Just understand that you have many options. Search for the best opportunities you can find and set yourself up for the great success you deserve in your life.
Ask around and find someone in the area that you are interested in pursuing. Find information in your chosen field and, better yet, seek advice from those who have gone before you. Nowadays, you have many options, and statistics show that you will have many different career changes and choices that previous generations have never had.
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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!