As businesses start relying more and more on technology, continuing your education past high school becomes even more important than it was in the past. Not only does advanced education provide you with the basic knowledge you need to do well in the technology focused world of today, but it also gives you the tools to keep up with technological advancements and stay relevant in your field for much longer.

In the past, the majority of jobs focused on hands on work and emphasized working your way up the chain, with employees beginning at the bottom and being promoted slowly to a position they would hold until they retired. Today though, innovation, initiative, and technology in particular have changed all of that. Lacking adequate knowledge of how to use a computer and many different software suites on it can seriously hinder your marketability in today’s job market. Since a vast majority of the students who have graduated from college in the past ten years or so have done so with extensive knowledge of computers, you need the same to stay competitive.

Another thing you gain at institutes of higher education is networking opportunities and social skills. Going back to school to improve in the field you are currently working in allows you to connect with big names in that field. These connections may lead to jobs or resources in the future.

Getting a college degree also secures your career and gives you an edge in your field. Learning new things prevents you from losing a job you may already have, and also enables you to have access to more jobs that are higher up. While many people can do relatively well at a job right out of high school, there is usually a pay ceiling that only a higher degree of education can break through. The more you know, the more you can get paid. Beyond that, the more you know, the more leverage you have when asking for a pay raise. Paying extra now will enable you to earn exponentially more back later and will give you more security when you do consider retiring.

If you are already working at a company you love but can’t afford to go back to school, check into your company’s policy on higher education. Some companies pay for their employees to pursue higher education, and if yours is one of them, then you have no excuse not to go back to school.

If you do decide to pursue higher education, visit school websites, talk to the instructors at the schools you are considering and consider international programs. It’s important to find the program that best fits your schedule and will give you the best opportunities for the future.