Plenty of people never finish the degree they enroll in for a whole range of reasons. That does NOT mean they are lesser or not capable or qualified in other ways.
Undergrad degrees are about learning certain concepts and theories, how to think using them and cite in a certain way and research. All of which can be done outside of 3rd level or as part of attending 3rd level, but not finishing.
Not having a degree is not a moral, ethical or personal failing.
A Degree has become a filter, same as the leaving cert used to be. Most of what you do in level entry jobs, you don’t use your degree at all, or need a degree to do. I often see many excellent people who are older, who don’t have a degree who are experts in what they do, who are blocked from working in orgs who’d be lucky to have them due to the requirement to have a degree.
The whole ‘drop out’ ‘doesn’t even have a degree’ is elitist, gate keeping, and snide when a person moved on and done the learning curve in their chose career. When it is done to people in the media, and repeated by people it effects people who are in the same situation. It makes people feel lesser even with then being awesome people and being good at the work they do.
A degree can be a social class barrier as many from working class backgrounds can simply not afford the ‘registration’ fees or the cost of living while in full time education. Either their parents can’t afford to help them or their parents are not in their life. That a person has to be 23 to be considered financially independent of their parents for grant purposes is absurd.
3rd level learning often does not suit people who are nonneurotypical (ADHD, ASD ect). With some undergrad courses having filler modules, or forced team projects, or just being not structured enough.
There are so many ways a passionate person can self educate themselves outside of a degree and they will continue to do so, which is honestly what is the ideal. It is what professional development plans are.
The best coder/hackers I know, never finished or enrolled in a degree. Same with some of the best communication and social media managers, who were early adopters.
If a hr/recruiter filters out based on having a degree, with out actually looking at the whole of an application or C.V. then they are doing it wrong imho.
Yes, I still have to finish my Degree, a Family issue and mental health issue means I have exam and essay outstanding. That is part of my plan for 2021.
But I also have a huge amount of experience with website management, social media management, press experience, training, running campaigns, team building and event management at local, national and international level, which no degree can give.
The idea that a person can have 5 years experience which so many jobs look for, but are then ruled out for not having a degree, any degree, is ludicrous.