Letter to the editor: Open your eyes

The problem is on the table, but everyone is looking under it. The issue is the [academic] degrees, but not for the reasons most think. It's easy to hire someone because they have a degree. You don't have to evaluate them or their competition; you take the applicant with the degrees. Government and corporate hiring practices demand the paper, ability be damned.

Degrees certify that you've been to class. They don't mean you know what you're doing. The best in the IT field often don't have degrees and have no chance at many jobs without one.

Of the people mentioned in your article, how many are of less quality than their peers? Will we burn them at the stake for not having the paper that says they can do the job they've already proven capable of?

We aren't looking at a problem of ethics. We're looking at a problem of desperation in a competitive field, desperation caused by a misguided evaluation process.

Everyone questions the quality of the government work force. Shouldn't we have a system to evaluate applicants on what they can do, rather than the paper they carry?

There is no question that many great minds are nurtured by colleges, but let's stop locking out those who've developed their talents through nontraditional venues. No college is training the army of hackers we're fighting every day. Many of them could be turned into assets if our bureaucratic hiring processes didn't shun them.

Stop treating the symptoms and cure the disease. College is not the only source of education. Often, it is a substitute for genuine experience. With no disrespect to the traditionally educated, we should be able to recognize an apple for an apple, no matter how the tree was watered.

These opinions are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Will Spencer, IT Manager

Cumberland Gap National

Historical Park, Middlesboro, Ky.

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