Do degrees really matter? And, if so, when? Here’s my take, which is an engineer’s viewpoint. As you’d expect, that means that the practical skills you learn along the way are considered to be the main thing, while the social value of the degree is not given much weight. I’m not claiming that this viewpoint is the best one, just that it’s worth thinking about.
My father, Ambrose D. Plamondon, in spite of having polio as a teenager and being unable to walk far, even with a cane, spent a productive career as an aeronautical engineer. This was back in the early days of jets and space travel: the Fifties and Sixties. He took on the monumentally difficult task of designing the stabilization control systems for many spacecraft, including the Bluebird satellite and the Surveyor moon lander. He designed the loading system for the TOW missile. He was one of the inventors of the Hughes Magnetic Memory Drum, a revolutionary advance in mass storage in the Fifties, which helped reduce the size of computers so they could be put into fighter jets.