I don’t expect anybody with no musical background to get it. I took classical piano for fifteen fucking years, theory, composition, the whole thing, and I’m getting so fucking tired of people saying, Oh, it’s a rock n’ roll guy fucking around with electronic music.’ That’s bullshit. One of these days I’m gonna pull my degrees out and say, Does that make me legitimate?’ But I don’t wanna do that because that’s horseshit too. — Lou Reed on his album Metal Machine Music

Credentialism is the belief in or reliance on academic or other formal qualifications as the best measure of a person’s intelligence or ability to do a particular job.

We live in a credential based society.

When we apply for a job, we give them our resume, a list of our credentials.

We judge people by the school they go to, and the places they worked at. And I’m not exempt from this, as much as I hate to admit, I do this too.

Credentials are also used as a form of status. For example, at my University those who worked at FAANG are held in high status, generally speaking.

Thus we are made to chase credentials. This creates a distortion field in university in which we are made to care about acquiring credentials. We start to care about working at FAANG because everyone around us does.

Over the years I’ve learned that credentials are a data point, they tell you something but not the full picture. Some of the most competent people I’ve met have never worked at a big company or got into a big name school.

I’m fortunate to go to a strong university with a reputable program and have decent experiences under my belt. But even then, I think credentials are overrated.

April 4, 2020

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