If you look at the job market, people with degrees are often hired over those who don't. If you have the academic and professional skills, you will succeed in your field. Even outside of your field, these skills give you a leg up on the competition in the job market.
It is best to have academic and professional skills. People that are well rounded and have both skills will have better success with their jobs. This is because they understand the work they are doing better than a person who just has one of these skills. It makes any job easier when you have the academic skills to go along with the professional skills.