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Do employers prefer a BS over a BA?

Do employers prefer a BS over a BA?
Uncover whether a Bachelor of Science (BS) holds more weight in the job market compared to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and boost your career prospects.

As you navigate the job market and consider your career prospects, you might be wondering if employers prefer a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree over a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The rising costs of college and student loan debt have made many people question the value of pursuing a bachelor’s degree. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that having any bachelor’s degree can provide significant benefits.

Employers recognize the value of a college degree and are willing to pay higher starting salaries for individuals who have attained this level of education. Whether you hold a BS or a BA, having a bachelor’s degree can lead to lower unemployment rates and higher earnings compared to those with only a high school diploma.

While the type of degree may not be the sole factor in an employer’s decision-making process, it’s important to understand the potential advantages that come with a bachelor’s degree. Let’s explore the value of a college degree and how it can impact your career prospects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Having a bachelor’s degree, whether BS or BA, can lead to lower unemployment rates and higher earnings.
  • Employers are willing to pay higher starting salaries for individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
  • The number of job postings requiring a bachelor’s degree has increased in recent years.
  • Some leading companies have shifted their mindset and prioritize experience and skills over educational degrees.
  • Potential, including problem-solving skills and the ability to make a positive impact, is an important qualification for employers.

The Value of a College Degree

Pursuing a college degree, although it may come with a hefty price tag, can yield significant long-term benefits. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals with a bachelor’s degree experience a lower unemployment rate and higher earnings compared to those with only a high school diploma. Furthermore, employers are more inclined to offer higher starting salaries to individuals who possess a college degree.

Obtaining a four-year college degree can open doors to a wide range of opportunities. Not only does it provide individuals with a solid foundation of knowledge in their chosen field, but it also equips them with valuable skills and a competitive edge in the job market. A college degree demonstrates to employers that you possess the dedication, perseverance, and intellectual capacity required to succeed in today’s professional world.

Statistically speaking, the unemployment rate among college degree-holders is consistently lower than that of individuals with lower educational qualifications. This is due to the fact that employers perceive candidates with a college degree as more qualified and competent for the positions they seek to fill. Additionally, those with a college degree tend to have a wider range of career options and greater job security.

Beyond reducing the risk of unemployment, a college degree also has a direct impact on earnings. The BLS data reveals that individuals with a bachelor’s degree typically earn higher salaries throughout their careers compared to those with a high school diploma alone. The financial investment made in acquiring a college degree can yield substantial returns in terms of earning potential and greater financial stability.

Employers recognize the value of a college degree and are willing to reward individuals who possess one. They understand that employees with higher levels of education often bring enhanced critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to adapt to rapidly evolving work environments. Furthermore, employers often view individuals with a college degree as having a greater potential for growth and advancement within their organizations.

In conclusion, the value of a college degree cannot be overstated. It offers numerous benefits, including higher earning potential, improved job prospects, and increased career opportunities. While the cost of obtaining a college degree may be significant, it is an investment that can pay off in the long run. By pursuing a college degree, you are positioning yourself for a promising and prosperous future in the professional world.

Do Employers Require College Degrees?

When it comes to job postings, many employers explicitly state that a bachelor’s degree is a requirement. In fact, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School, the number of job postings requiring a college degree has been increasing in recent years. Employers value the knowledge and skills that come with earning a degree, as it indicates a certain level of academic achievement and dedication to personal growth.

However, it is important to note that the study also found that the actual job duties and responsibilities of these positions were often the same, regardless of the degree requirement. This suggests that while employers may value a college degree, having one does not guarantee better job performance. Instead, employers are placing greater emphasis on the practical skills and experiences that job candidates possess.

It is also worth mentioning that not all jobs explicitly require a degree. Many employers are recognizing that relevant experience and skills can be just as valuable, if not more so, than a formal education. In fact, some leading companies like Google, Netflix, and Apple have shifted their mindset and now prioritize experience and skills over a college degree.

job postings

So, while employers may still list a college degree as a requirement in job postings, it is important to remember that there are alternative paths to success. If you don’t have a degree but possess the necessary skills and experience, don’t be afraid to apply for positions that list a degree requirement. Highlight your relevant experience, showcase your skills, and demonstrate your potential to contribute to the company’s success.

Ultimately, employers are looking for candidates who have the ability to excel in their roles and add value to their organizations. While a college degree is one way to demonstrate this, it is not the only way. So, whether you have a degree or not, focus on honing your skills, gaining experience, and continuously learning and growing in your chosen field.

Shifting Norms in Degree Requirements

When it comes to degree requirements, the mindset of leading companies is shifting. Employers such as Google, Netflix, and Apple are reevaluating the traditional emphasis on degrees and placing greater importance on experience and skills. This change in approach reflects a growing recognition that educational attainment alone does not guarantee success in the job market.

Instead, employers are increasingly prioritizing a candidate’s practical experience and potential. They understand that valuable skills can be acquired through hands-on work, self-study, and professional development opportunities. As a result, there are now many high-paying jobs and fast-growing careers that don’t necessarily require a degree.

This shift in norms is beneficial for individuals who may not have pursued a traditional degree but have gained valuable experience in their field. It opens up new opportunities for those who have honed their skills through practical application and real-world challenges.

By focusing on experience and potential, employers are broadening their talent pool and creating more inclusive hiring practices. This change allows individuals with diverse backgrounds and alternative educational paths to compete for high-profile positions.

It’s important to note that while some leading companies have embraced this shift, degree requirements still exist in many industries. However, the changing mindset among influential companies serves as a catalyst for reevaluating the value of a degree in relation to real-world skills and experience.

The evolving landscape of degree requirements highlights the need for job seekers to showcase their abilities and achievements beyond educational qualifications. Emphasizing relevant experience, highlighting transferable skills, and demonstrating a track record of success can significantly impact your chances of landing your desired role.

As you navigate the ever-changing job market, it’s crucial to stay adaptable and continually develop your skills. Keep exploring alternative education options, such as online courses, certifications, or vocational training programs, to enhance your knowledge and expertise in your chosen field.

Remember, when it comes to degree requirements, the changing mindset of leading companies is creating new opportunities for individuals to showcase their skills and potential. Embrace this shift and position yourself as a valuable candidate with the right mix of experience, skills, and passion.

Potential Is Important

When employers evaluate candidates, they consider more than just their ability to perform the job duties listed on a job description. They also look for individuals with the potential to grow and bring value to their roles in the long run. While meeting the educational requirements is important, it is not the only qualification that employers prioritize.

Employers value problem-solving skills when assessing a candidate’s potential. They want individuals who can think critically, analyze situations, and come up with innovative solutions. Being able to solve complex problems is a valuable asset in today’s constantly evolving job market, where employers need employees who can adapt and find creative solutions to challenges.

The ability to mentor others is also an important aspect of potential that employers consider. Individuals who can effectively guide and support their colleagues contribute to the growth and development of the team. This skill demonstrates leadership potential and shows that the candidate can make a positive impact on the company by helping others succeed.

Furthermore, employers recognize the value of candidates who have the potential to contribute to the company’s growth. They want individuals who can go beyond meeting the immediate job requirements and bring fresh ideas, insights, and perspectives to the table. Employees with growth potential can drive innovation, initiate positive change, and help the company stay competitive in the market.

While educational qualifications are necessary to secure employment, potential encompasses qualities and abilities that transcend academic achievements. Employers seek candidates who possess skills, traits, and a mindset that align with the company’s goals and values. They value individuals who not only meet the educational requirements but also have the potential to go above and beyond, bringing value to the organization as a whole.


Next Steps for Jobs That List a Degree Requirement

So, you’ve come across a job posting that seems perfect for you, but it requires a degree, and you don’t meet that requirement. Don’t worry! There are still ways to increase your chances of getting hired for these positions.

First, focus on highlighting your relevant experience and skills. Even if you don’t have a degree, you may have years of valuable experience in the industry. Clearly communicate this in your application materials, emphasizing how your practical knowledge and hands-on experience make you a strong candidate for the role.

Additionally, if you have completed any relevant coursework or certifications, make sure to highlight those as well. Provide details about the specific skills you gained through these programs and how they make you a qualified candidate for the position.

It’s also essential to focus on the positive aspects and explain how you meet other requirements listed in the job posting. Emphasize your ability to learn quickly, adapt to new challenges, and bring value to the company through your unique skill set.

Remember, employers are often looking for candidates who can make an immediate impact and contribute to the team’s success. By demonstrating your capabilities and fit for the role through your application materials, you can increase your chances of being considered, despite not meeting the degree requirement.

Lastly, make sure to tailor your application materials for each job you apply to. Customize your resume, cover letter, and any other required documents to showcase how your experience and skills align with the specific needs of the position.

By following these steps and effectively positioning yourself as a qualified candidate, you can still apply for jobs that list a degree requirement, even if you don’t have a degree. Remember, employers value skills and experience just as much, if not more, than formal education.

So, don’t let a degree requirement discourage you from pursuing your dream job. Highlight your strengths, showcase your potential, and seize the opportunity to prove your value to employers.

What to Do When You Don’t Match All the Requirements

When you come across a job posting that seems like the perfect fit for you, it can be disheartening to realize that you don’t meet all the requirements. However, don’t let that discourage you from applying. Studies have shown that many job seekers, especially women, hold themselves back from applying if they don’t check off every box in the job requirements.

Research indicates that meeting 80-90% of the requirements can still make you eligible for the job. Remember, job descriptions often act as wishlists for employers, and it’s rare to find a candidate who meets every qualification on that list.

So, what can you do when you don’t match all the requirements? Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Focus on your strengths: Highlight the qualifications you do meet and emphasize how your skills and experience align with the core requirements of the role.
  • Address the gaps: If there are specific requirements where you fall short, address them in your application or during the interview process. Explain how you plan to overcome those gaps and showcase your willingness to learn and adapt.
  • Showcase relevant experience: Even if you don’t have the exact experience mentioned in the job requirements, highlight any related experience that demonstrates your ability to excel in the role.
  • Highlight transferable skills: Identify the transferable skills you possess that align with the job requirements. Transferable skills can include things like communication, problem-solving, and adaptability, which are valuable across various roles and industries.
  • Customize your application: Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight the qualifications and experiences that are most relevant to the job. By doing so, you can draw attention to your strengths and make a compelling case for why you are a good fit.

Remember, the application process is not just about meeting all the requirements; it’s about demonstrating your potential, passion, and ability to contribute to the organization. So, don’t let the fear of not ticking every box hold you back. Take a leap of faith and put yourself out there. You never know where it might lead you.

How to Get Education and Experience

Looking for alternatives to traditional degree programs? There are various pathways to gain education and experience in your desired field. Explore the following options:

1. Community College Programs

Community colleges offer specific career training programs that can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed for employment. These programs are often more affordable than pursuing a four-year degree, making them an attractive option for many individuals. Consider enrolling in community college courses or earning a certificate in your chosen field.

2. Trade Schools

Trade schools specialize in providing vocational training for specific industries. Whether you’re interested in becoming an electrician, plumber, chef, or automotive technician, trade schools offer hands-on training that prepares you for a specific career. Apprenticeships are often available through trade schools, allowing you to gain practical experience while learning the trade.

3. Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to learn a trade or profession while working under the guidance of experienced professionals. By combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction, apprenticeships offer a comprehensive learning experience. Many industries, such as construction, manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology, offer apprenticeship programs.

4. Volunteering

Volunteering can be an excellent way to gain valuable skills and experience while making a positive impact in your community. Seek out volunteer opportunities that align with your career interests. For example, if you’re interested in environmental conservation, you could volunteer with a local environmental organization to learn more about sustainable practices and develop relevant skills.

5. Virtual Learning

In the digital age, virtual learning platforms have become increasingly popular and accessible. Online courses and certifications can provide valuable education and skills development from the comfort of your own home. Many reputable institutions and organizations offer virtual learning programs that cover a wide range of subjects, allowing you to learn at your own pace.

By exploring these alternatives to degree programs, such as community college, trade schools, apprenticeships, volunteering, and virtual learning, you can gain the education and experience necessary to pursue a fulfilling career.

BA vs. BS in Computer Science

When it comes to computer science degrees, you have the option to choose between a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA). The decision you make will depend on the specific position you are aiming for and the skills required in that field. BA programs typically include a broader range of electives, focusing on humanities and liberal arts topics, while BS programs emphasize math and science courses.

Both the BA and BS degrees in computer science provide a solid foundation in programming, algorithms, and computing principles. However, there are some key differences between the two. BA programs tend to have a more interdisciplinary approach, allowing you to explore subjects like psychology, sociology, and philosophy alongside your computer science coursework. On the other hand, BS programs place a greater emphasis on technical skills and may require additional math and science courses.

Despite these differences, most employers in the computer science field do not have a strong preference for either a BA or BS degree. What matters most to employers is the practical knowledge and skills you possess, as well as your ability to apply them effectively in a work setting. Employers value practical experience, problem-solving abilities, and the ability to adapt to new technologies more than the specific degree type.

In the image below, you can see a comparison between a BA and BS in computer science:

BA vs. BS in Computer Science

  • Both degrees offer a solid foundation in computer science principles.
  • Both degrees can lead to a variety of career opportunities in the field.
  • Employers value the practical skills and knowledge gained from either degree.

Key Differences:

  • BA programs tend to have more electives focused on humanities and liberal arts topics.
  • BS programs place a greater emphasis on math and science courses.
  • The curriculum of a BA program may be more interdisciplinary.
  • The curriculum of a BS program may be more technical and specialized.

Ultimately, the choice between a BA and BS in computer science should be based on your personal interests, career goals, and strengths. Consider the specific skills and knowledge you want to acquire during your studies and how they align with your desired career path. Remember that gaining practical experience, building a portfolio, and staying up-to-date with industry trends and technologies will play a crucial role in your success in the job market, regardless of whether you hold a BA or BS degree.

Careers for Computer Science Degree-Holders

As a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in computer science, you have a wide range of career options in the field. The skills and knowledge you’ve acquired during your studies position you for success in various roles.

BA degree-holders often excel in jobs that require creativity and a deep understanding of user experience. If you have a passion for design and enjoy creating intuitive user interfaces, a career in user experience design could be a perfect fit for you. In this role, you will collaborate with cross-functional teams to develop engaging and user-friendly digital experiences.

BS degree-holders may be preferred for positions that involve problem-solving, critical thinking, and strategic decision-making. With a strong foundation in math and science, you can excel in roles such as software engineering, where you’ll be responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining complex software systems.

Regardless of whether you hold a BA or BS degree, there are various well-paying career paths to explore in the field of computer science. Here are some examples:

  • Web Development: Build and maintain websites and web applications using programming languages and frameworks such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React. Your skills in coding, problem-solving, and attention to detail will be highly valued in this role.
  • Digital Design: Create visually appealing graphics, illustrations, and user interfaces for digital platforms. Your artistic abilities, combined with your technical knowledge, will allow you to bring ideas to life in a visually impactful way.
  • Software Engineering: Develop software solutions and applications to meet specific business needs. Your skills in coding, algorithm design, and system architecture will enable you to build robust and scalable software systems.
  • Computer Network Administration: Manage and maintain computer networks, ensuring their smooth operation and security. Your expertise in network protocols, troubleshooting, and system administration will be crucial to keeping organizations connected.

These are just a few examples of the many careers available to computer science degree-holders. The demand for qualified professionals in the field continues to grow, making it an exciting time to pursue a career in computer science.

Computer Science Resources

For individuals pursuing a career in computer science, there are several valuable resources available to support their journey. These resources can provide networking opportunities, job boards, and career guidance to help navigate the field.

Professional Organizations

Computer science professional organizations serve as excellent platforms for networking and staying connected with industry experts. These organizations provide valuable resources such as workshops, conferences, and webinars to enhance your knowledge and skills. They also offer opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, which can lead to potential collaborations and job prospects.

Job Boards

Job boards specifically tailored to computer science careers can be a treasure trove of job openings. These platforms aggregate opportunities from various sources, making it easier to find relevant job postings. Regularly checking these job boards can help you stay updated on the latest employment opportunities in the computer science field. Some popular job boards for computer science professionals include Indeed, LinkedIn, and Dice.

Career Roadmaps

Building a successful career in computer science requires careful planning and a clear roadmap. Online resources provide career guidance and roadmaps that outline the skills, knowledge, and milestones needed for career progression. These roadmaps offer a structured approach to skill development, helping you identify the areas you need to focus on to achieve your career goals. They provide valuable insights into the different career paths available within computer science and offer guidance on the skills and qualifications required for each path. Following a career roadmap can help you make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of the computer science industry.

By leveraging computer science professional organizations, job boards, and career roadmaps, you can enhance your career prospects and stay ahead in the ever-evolving field of computer science.

computer science resources


After exploring the question of whether employers prefer a Bachelor of Science (BS) over a Bachelor of Arts (BA), it is clear that having a bachelor’s degree, regardless of the type, can significantly enhance your career prospects and earnings potential. While individual employers may not have a clear preference for one degree over the other, the value lies in the acquisition of a degree itself.

When deciding between pursuing a BS or BA, it is important to consider your individual interests, career goals, and personal strengths. A BS program typically emphasizes math and science, making it suitable for positions requiring problem-solving skills. On the other hand, a BA program often includes more humanities and liberal arts courses, making it well suited for roles that emphasize creativity and communication.

However, it is crucial to remember that a degree alone is not enough to succeed in the job market. Employers also value relevant experience, skills development, and continuous learning. Therefore, it is recommended to gain practical experience in your chosen field, develop transferable skills, and stay updated with industry trends to increase your chances of success.

In conclusion, while there may not be a definitive answer to whether employers prefer a BS or BA, obtaining a bachelor’s degree, along with relevant experience and continuous learning, will undoubtedly enhance your career prospects and open doors to a wide range of opportunities in the job market.


Q: Do employers prefer a BS over a BA?

A: While some employers may have a preference, most do not. Having a bachelor’s degree, regardless of the type, can enhance job prospects and earnings potential.

Q: What are the benefits of a college degree?

A: Data shows that individuals with a bachelor’s degree have lower unemployment rates and higher earnings compared to those with only a high school diploma. Employers are also more willing to pay higher starting salaries to individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

Q: Do employers require college degrees for job postings?

A: While job postings may require a college degree, the duties and responsibilities of the job are often the same regardless of the degree requirement. Employers value the skills that come with a degree but also acknowledge that having a degree does not guarantee better job performance.

Q: Are degree requirements changing?

A: Yes, leading companies like Google, Netflix, and Apple are shifting their mindset and prioritizing experience and skills over degrees. Employers are recognizing the importance of potential, growth, and value in candidates, beyond educational attainment.

Q: What qualifications do employers value?

A: Employers value a candidate’s potential, problem-solving skills, ability to mentor others, and the potential to make a positive impact on the company. These qualifications go beyond meeting the educational requirements of a degree.

Q: What can I do if I don’t meet the degree requirement for a job?

A: Job seekers can still apply for these positions by highlighting relevant experience and skills. They can mention their years of experience or completed coursework in lieu of a degree. Focusing on the positive aspects and how they meet other requirements can increase their chances of getting hired.

Q: Should I apply for a job if I don’t meet all the requirements?

A: Yes, studies show that meeting 80-90% of the requirements can still make candidates eligible for the job. Job descriptions are often wishlists, and employers understand that it’s rare to find a candidate who meets all qualifications.

Q: What are alternatives to traditional degree programs?

A: Community college programs, trade schools, and apprenticeships offer specific career training and can be more affordable than a four-year degree. Volunteering and virtual learning platforms also provide opportunities to gain skills and knowledge in various fields.

Q: What is the difference between a BA and a BS in Computer Science?

A: The choice between a BA and BS in Computer Science usually depends on the position and required skills. BA programs focus more on humanities and liberal arts, while BS programs emphasize math and science. However, most employers do not have a preference for either degree type.

Q: What careers can I pursue with a degree in Computer Science?

A: Graduates with a BA or BS in Computer Science can pursue careers in areas like web development, digital design, software engineering, and computer network administration. The specific job roles may vary depending on individual strengths and interests.

Q: What resources are available for individuals pursuing a career in Computer Science?

A: Professional organizations in the field offer networking opportunities and job boards where graduates can find relevant job openings. Online resources provide guidance and roadmaps to help individuals navigate the field of Computer Science.

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