How skill is becoming the new degree?

Contemporary world is all about competition, whether its studies, job or entrepreneurship. Gone are the days when people only needed to get a degree and qualify for a job based on it. Knowledge and skill are more of a requirement than a choice now. In order to be competitive and survive in the job market, you need to enhance your education as well as your skillset. Where competition is good for driving employees into more productivity, it may as well create high standards for earning even the minimum wages. This situation also leads to work-related stress and has you bringing work to your home. So how do we ensure that we work, earn and be passionate about what we do?

First, find something that you like doing and can also earn you money, invest on it, polish your skill or even go for learning a new skill. It might take months, or maybe a year or two for someone but researchers say that you require six months or more to learn a new skill. You can also polish your current hobbies and earn money through that. In this way, you’ll not be only keeping yourself busy with what you love but also earning from it. The very next step after understanding what you want and what you can do is to market your skill. Find the people that are interested in your work, target your audience and market your work.

There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward — Jeff Bezos

Learning new skills is never a waste of money, time and effort. The competition is never going to stop, and in order to be relevant and excel at work, one needs to keep learning, as it opens doors for further opportunities. Imagine being in apparel industry and not understanding how digital marketing works, your business will suffer because if you do not invest in digital marketing, you’ll not show up in the search results. We’re living in 21st century and the era of digitalization, there’s no escaping from the reality of it. The sooner we realize the importance of the growing competition the better it is.

Can you earn without a degree?

We see many people who have successful careers but they’ve made it this far just on the basis of their skills and knowledge. They don’t have degrees but are still affording the lifestyle they’ve dreamed about. There are also people who have degrees but are unable to land a job. So, to say that you only need a degree to get a job is quite obsolete because even if you have an office job, you must keep yourself updated with the right trends in the respective field of your job.

It’s not enough to be smart — you need to always be getting smarter,” says Heidi Grant Halvorson, a motivational psychologist and author of the HBR Single Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.


So, if you’re an undergraduate and you don’t have any plans for learning new skills and requirements for job along with your studies, what are you waiting for? Here is a list of a few skills that are relevant in the digital world which you can learn along with your degree.


Freelancing is one of the best ways to earn. It’s a type of self-employment and you can work in flexible hours. If you have any skill, from making PowerPoint presentations to animation, you can easily find people who are interested in your skill through different websites. Here are some of the best websites for free lancing

  • Fiverr
  • Jooble
  • LinkedIn
  • Upwork
  • com
  • Toptal
  • SimplyHired
  • Guru
  • Behance


Web development:

If you’re interested in coding and programming, web development can help you earn a lot. You can also learn this skill as its demand is significantly increasing.

Graphic Designing:

Graphic designing is the creation of artistic visuals and a tool used by almost every single profession. Graphic designers are in high demand in the digital world. All you have to do is to learn the basics of illustrator and photoshop and freelance it on various freelancing platforms. The best platform for graphic designers is Upwork and Fiverr.

Digital marketing:

If you are creative and tech-savvy you should give it a go. It’s a way of promoting products and services. Under digital marketing, there are many different skillsets and you can opt for whatever works best for you. These include, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, Data Analysis and Data Driven Marketing, E-commerce and many more.

Content marketing:

Is your writing good? Can you make people buy a certain product by convincing them through your writing skills? this might be the best option for you. Even if you don’t have this skill, you can always learn it. Copywriting, content writing, article writing and even story writing on various writing platforms is a good start for writing career as well.

Video Marketing:

It’s the use of videos to promote any product. Many companies hire videographers, animators and editors for this purpose. This is one of the best skills you can invest your time and money in.

There are many other skills which you can learn and which can make you earn more than a normal job. All you need is to do some research and learn a skill of your interest and subsequently offer your services as a freelancer at different marketplaces.


Published in Global Affairs June Edition 2022 

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Ayesha Mehmood

Written by Ayesha Mehmood

Ayesha Mehmood is a student of International Relations at NDU and has keen interest in Arts and freelancing. She shares her art updates on Instagram @islamandcraft and can be reached at

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