Education vs. Experience: Having What it Takes

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Difference between Education and Experience

Among the qualities that are most often considered as criteria for employment are education and experience. Both are highly desirable traits to have, and they are undeniably essential for a wide range of disciplines. Having both in sufficient amounts is of course the best thing for any prospective employee, but which one weighs heavier in the eyes of an employer? This comparison aims to answer that question.


What It Is

Education refers to the knowledge and training that one gets from studying in school or any other learning institution. Education can take on various forms, and it may or may not involve any monetary cost.

Experience for its part refers to the knowledge that you gain from actually performing certain tasks or being subjected to specific conditions in which you learn something. Experience also comes from picking up a skill that you previously had no background in.

Where To Get It

Education is most commonly obtained in a school of course, although there are various other places it can be picked up from as well. You may get an education from a formal school or learning institution, or you may pick it up from a course or a seminar. Education can also be obtained by way of an informal apprenticeship program, although it edges quite close to experience in this situation.

As for experience, there are actually a lot more places you could get it from than a school. That being said, school itself can help you pick up a considerable amount of experience, particularly if it is of the hands on variety that allows you to learn from real world situations. You could also get experience from a job, and you in fact begin picking up experience as soon as you start working.

Value To Prospective Employers

For most prospective employers, experience and education are equally important skills for any one applicant to have. In fact, both traits often go hand-in-hand, and having both in equal measure will only serve to make you a better candidate for any position that you are seeking.

Nevertheless, there are instances when one will weigh more heavily than the other. In highly technical jobs that require precision and theoretical knowledge, a good education is often more valuable than real world experience, particularly if an error in measurement can be catastrophic.



  • Generally picked up from school or other types of learning intuitions
  • Can be formal or informal
  • May be obtained at no cost
  • Gives you theoretical knowledge or “book smarts”
  • Can open up opportunities unavailable any other way


  • Can be picked up from just about anywhere, including a school
  • Is picked up as soon as you start working
  • May be a more valuable asset than education
  • Does not always take the place of proper education

Which one is overrated?
  • Education
  • Experience

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