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Just Say No To College

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the how-about-a-nice-trade-school dept.

Education 716

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alex Williams writes in the NY Times that the idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Inspired by role models like the billionaire drop-outs who founded Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, Twitter, Tumblr, and Apple, and empowered by online college courses, a groundswell of university-age heretics consider themselves a DIY vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick. 'Here in Silicon Valley, it's almost a badge of honor,' says Mick Hagen, 28, who dropped out of Princeton in 2006 and moved to San Francisco, where he started Undrip, a mobile app. 'College puts a lot of constraints, a lot of limitations around what you can and can't do. Some people, they want to stretch their arms, get out and create more, do more.' Perhaps most famously, Peter A. Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, in 2010 started his Thiel Fellowship program, which pays students under 20 years old $100,000 apiece to bag college and pursue their own ventures. 'People are being conned into thinking that this credential is the one thing you need to do better in life. They typically are worse off, because they have amassed all this debt.' UnCollege advocates a DIY approach to higher education and spreads the message through informational 'hackademic camps.' 'Hacking,' in the group's parlance, can involve any manner of self-directed learning: travel, volunteer work, organizing collaborative learning groups with friends. Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt might consider enrolling in a technology boot camp, where you can learn to write code in 8 to 10 weeks for about $10,000. 'I think kids with a five-year head start on equally ambitious peers will be ahead in both education and income,' says James Altucher, a prominent investor, entrepreneur and pundit who self-published a book called '40 Alternatives to College.' 'They could go to a library, read a book a day, take courses online. There are thousands of ways.'"

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Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42168417)

First of all, most of those "billionaire dropouts" were dropouts from Ivy League schools with plenty of startup money from daddy already at their disposal, not dipshits coming out of no-name-high-school. Secondly, most of them only left college when they already had contacts and solid plans (and financing) in place for starting their own businesses. They didn't need degrees because they were going to be hiring *themselves*, not having to worry about some HR department that will toss any non-degree applicants right into the trash.

For most of the non-rich, non-Ivy League assholes like the rest of us--we still need a college degree if we're going to get beyond the front door to any stable job. We're not Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (1, Interesting)

systemidx (2708649) | about 2 years ago | (#42168473)

You don't need a college degree if you have these two things:

1) Technical Skills - The skills actually needed to do your job. Essential.
2) People Skills - The skills to actually talk to people and convince them that you're not an idiot. Convincing people that you're worth the time and the money is the 2nd most important skill you can have.

I'm making more money than all of my 4-year degree friends because I decided long ago to educate myself in a field that's likely to GROW (and not things like art history, where you go to school just to teach other kids, so they can teach other kids, and so on) and because I can talk to people and have them see me as an asset and not a potential liability.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Informative)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42168651)

You certainly don't need it, but it helps. If it helps enough to compensate the additional time spent on it depends on what you plan to do though. In some areas, for examples, you must have a specific graduation degree to be even allowed in.

I agree that it would be much more sensible and fair if you were always judged by what you know and not by what title you have, but unfortunately that is not always the case.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#42168719)

Most people aren't born with adequate amounts of (1) or (2). That's why they go to college: To get those things.

This whole "skip college, be your own tech mogul" theory sounds like the thousands of inner-city kids who all think that their ticket out of the ghetto is to become an NBA star. Sure, it works for a couple of dozen of lucky people per year, but for the rest, it's an abysmal failure.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42168905)

The become a tech billionaire thing is exactly like pro sports. Occasionally someone makes it big but the vast majority of people who try are going to end up disappointed, 30, and with nothing to fall back on.

Plus low-skill tech is a maturing industry. Zuckerberg and the app millionaires got in at the beginning. Normally in tech you need a lot more knowledge than they have (or a lot of money, or both). Jobs was a sales genius, backed up by an electronics genius and again, lucky and in the right place at the right time.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

impossiblefork (978205) | about 2 years ago | (#42168767)

I think that you're very wrong here.

Take me for an example. I'm a computer scientist who have also studied financial mathematics (mostly focusing on the problem of pricing derivatives). I probably have at least technical skill (even if one can't very easily be sure of that, trying to assess it oneself). However, until I finish my thesis and graduate I definitely won't have anything but (perhaps glorified) internships.

The degree really matters. Especially if you want to work in anything in which your professional decisions have consequences for people- like in finance, engineering, medicine, aerospace, or almost anything interesting or technical.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168817)

Need? No. Improves the odds of getting past HR? Yes.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#42168839)

I agree a GREAT deal with what you said....but it mostly applies to people that have a little resume experience under their belt already.

If you're going to work to start your own business, no, you don't need a college degree.

However, for most "real" jobs, starting out....especially in tech, but most any field I know of, if you don't have at least a bachelors degree in something, your resume won't even be evaluated. Sad but true.

Today, the bachelors resume is what a few decades ago, a HS diploma was....it is the first weed out requirement for most any job.

There are exceptions to the rule, but I posit in the real world out there today, very few exceptions. A college degree and contacts are your best two weapons to get your foot in the door.

But once in that interview....and going foward with the job, I can tell you that often great people skills will put you ahead of people that are strictly tech skills.

You still see the stereotype of tech types being somewhat introverted and uncomfortable even holding non-formal conversations with their co-workers and bosses. If you have a good personality, gift of gab, and enough intelligence to know most of what your doing, that will take you a LONG way in your professional career.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#42168479)

Yep. If you drop out with your cash-cow already moo-ving (sorry, had too)... You are taking a huge risk, and just as likely to end up on the street or in your parents basement.

A college degree isn't a surefire way to become rich, or even get a job, but it does improve your odds of at least getting a decent paycheck. The world cannot support everyone being a billionaire entrepreneur - and for those who don't have the ideas, or just get them too late, college is a good way to increase the odds of a decent 'consolation prize' to not being a billionaire entrepreneur.

My guess is that the people promoting this want one thing: cheap, desperate labor, which these dropouts would become, when the majority of them fail to be successful.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (1)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | about 2 years ago | (#42168571)

My guess is that the people promoting this want one thing: cheap, desperate labor, which these dropouts would become, when the majority of them fail to be successful.

Yup

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168705)

Exactly. It is like saying, "you don't need to get a job and work for a living because you can take those last $5 you have and win the lottery with it." Newsflash for them: most people don't win the lottery. Most people can't just drop out of college and become rich either.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (2)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 2 years ago | (#42168713)

My guess is that the people promoting this want one thing: cheap, desperate labor, which these dropouts would become, when the majority of them fail to be successful.

A saturated field of overqualified candidates for cheap, desperate labor is much more advantageous for employers. If they are paying $15 an hour regardless of the candidates qualifications it makes more sense that they would choose the one with more education. Getting them cheap and seeing their work ethic for half the price while having a pool of qualified personnel to promote from within is ideal for a company.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Interesting)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 2 years ago | (#42168733)

Saddling people with soul-crushing debt to pay for an education is a great way to make them desperate. Myself, I went into IT, where my skills and abilities, earned me my current job (and the last 4). They then paid to get me a couple certs. They also pay me well above the median household income, and allow me to work from home, all because I was able to demonstrate my ability. The key is to find a field you don't mind working in that needs workers. Electricians, plumbers, welders, mechanics... the world needs more of these. They make more than most college graduates, after 4 years of getting paid instead of paying to learn a craft. The ideal that you're espousing, that anyone that doesn't pay for a degree or have rich parents is doomed to fail is complete bollocks. It just takes effort, drive, and a willingness to work for what you want.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168993)

In the mid-90's EDS had a reputation for hiring summer interns that were sophomores or juniors in comp sci and related fields, and then offering them full time in the fall if they didn't go back to school. Money that seemed decent to a college student.

After a few years, you find you're stuck in a dead end job with no degree and no raises. Sucker.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#42168553)

They didn't need degrees because they were going to be hiring *themselves*, not having to worry about some HR department that will toss any non-degree applicants right into the trash.

They also didn't need a consistent and extensive set of knowledge that comes with college educations, because their companies were all based on stupid ideas of founders, developed by smart people they hired. Though most those stupid ideas failed miserably, we only hear about those few that did not (and now spoil technology for everyone else by their continued stupidity backed by massive amount of money).

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#42168589)

Edit-typo:
s/educations/education/

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168565)

Yes, and this should be the last comment, but every white male douche with any kind of spoon up his ass is going to post with some Ayn Randian explanation of how you're wrong and school is a scam foisted upon unsuspecting saps, while he's doing just fine through hard work and good choices, and the world is better for it, thank you very much.

Emulating Zuckerberg => Silicon Hoop Dreams. Kids, college can be a good investment. So could "uncollege" with MOOCs and/or the IRL startup experience. It fucking depends on you. You should try to objectively evaluate your own situation and ignore pithy counterculture sentiments like "say no to college," because they may not actually apply to you, your potential, your drive, your network of support, or your pocketbook/pursestrings.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (5, Insightful)

Manmademan (952354) | about 2 years ago | (#42168685)

Exactly.

Let's be honest, the skyrocketing cost of college and debt are very real issues, but a $200,000 bill for a bachelor's degree is extremely rare. Your average state university might be a quarter of that, and the cost can go even lower if one starts at a community or junior college and transfers in.

Now, if you're talking $200,000 for a BA plus the cost of a graduate degree like an MS, M.D, PHD, or JD- that's a completely separate issue as those fields are entirely off limits to those without advanced degrees. "good skills" without the degree won't allow you to practice law, medicine, or teach at a university level.

The article summary also concentrates on the argument that "learning to code" doesn't take a four year degree, and perhaps it doesn't- but the american workforce consists of far more than just coders, and its very likely that if said coders want to advance up the corporate ladder later in their careers, the lack of a degree is going to stop them dead in their tracks. The article fails to note that the unemployment rate for those with just a high school degree is three times higher than those with a bachelor's degree- 12% vs 4% or so. You can't ignore a statistic like that, and a large part of the reason why is that HR departments and Recruiters are in the habit of asking for a BA by default and will automatically trash a resume that lacks it, despite how good one's skills may be.

The "skip college' argument is extremely short sighted here, ignores the realities of the hiring landscape, and is really only useful advice for a very, very small percentage of those looking to start businesses.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (4, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | about 2 years ago | (#42168871)

Let's be honest, the skyrocketing cost of college and debt are very real issues, but a $200,000 bill for a bachelor's degree is extremely rare. Your average state university might be a quarter of that, and the cost can go even lower if one starts at a community or junior college and transfers in.

The state university I graduated from is now close to $25,000 / year. For IN-STATE residents. And that doesn't include books or any specific lab fees. Now, I might be a product of public higher education, but my math says 4 years of that is $100,000, which is significantly more than a quarter of $200,000. (If you're out-of-state, it's closer to $37,000 per year.) For a degree that is more of a stain on your resume than an asset, I might add. After all, if you had any brains, you wouldn't have had to go to that aggie school out there.

You can't ignore a statistic like that, and a large part of the reason why is that HR departments and Recruiters are in the habit of asking for a BA by default and will automatically trash a resume that lacks it, despite how good one's skills may be.

Skills don't enter that equation at all. Introducing the concept of 'skills' divorced from a degree introduces thought into the equation. Thinking is hard. And, since HR is usually staffed by morons, or so overworked that they aren't physically able to evaluate each resume they receive, they use the lack of degree as a filter to narrow things down.

Anyway, companies don't really care about your skills or education. They look for weaknesses that they can exploit when they're evaluating someone for a job. By exploiting the weaknesses (like, for example, if someone has a family to feed and/or provide health insurance for) they can keep salaries down, which improves the bottom line. It's not about your skills (which nobody but your hiring manager gives a shit about, and that's the reason why they rarely have input in the hiring decision - they want 'good', not 'cheap'), it's about how cheaply they can get you.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168729)

Not only did they have money in their background but there was a lot of luck involved as well.

The other thing many forget about is how many "failures" there are and where you wind up when that happens. If it was so easy we would all be billionaires because there are a lot more "dropouts" that are trying to start a business and make their million (now it needs to be a billion). The difference of starting a company after getting a degree is that you have the degree if the start up fails.

If you are trying to justify the cost and time then that is a different story versus these feel good articles that talk about how good it is to be an entrepreneur. It actually sucks unless you are eventually successful. Having worked in a number of start ups I can say that it is a royal pain and it is not always something you want to put on your resume. And these were after I had a degree.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168779)

When you do make some headway in this world you run into these sorts of people from time-to-time. My advice is never end-up being their bitch, forget the spoils of doing business with them because if you're not a part of the "inner crowd" silver-spoon wannabe league you never are, never will and never worthy.

Most of the examples differ from Mark Z in the means that they don't own 50b+ companies with 10 employees, most of them are actual proper businesses with tens if not hundreds of thousands of employees, offices worldwide and "actually do something meaningful".

TBH its pretty downright unfair how Facebook has played out, it only received its treatment because of Mark Z's inner circle relationship, other than that, it's a scrappy, unoriginal pisshole of a website that can be replicated by anyone with half a brain.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42168805)

The vast majority of jobs at https://www.facebook.com/careers/ [facebook.com] require a BA or BS degree. I'm sure the job requirements on the other "drop-out companies" are pretty much the same.

Most entepreneurs fail. Most of those wannabe billionaire dropouts are now few-thousand-aire low-level employees.

Also; how many of those dropouts dropped out BEFORE there business was succesful?

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42168837)

I never went to school for money; it was never guranteed. I went to learn, and I still do. Planning on taking some math when I retire in 2014.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (4, Interesting)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 years ago | (#42168891)

We're not Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

I don't think Bill Gates used his family money to start up the company. However Bill Gates was (possibly still is) extremely talented.

If you read Idea Man[1] by Paul Allen, Bill Gates sneaked around WSU's computer lab with Paul Allen, fixing PhD students' code. That's before Bill Gates went to Harvard to study a degree in law. If you think you are as capable as Bill Gates, feel free to drop out.

I happen to think that the law degree might have helped Bill Gates in running his company.

http://www.amazon.com/Idea-Man-Memoir-Cofounder-Microsoft/dp/1591845378 [amazon.com]

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#42168923)

Exactly, these people would succeed with or without college, College would only take time from your life.
But these people are the exception not the rule. For success in life most of us are not striving to be the Next Gates, Jobs, or Zuckerberg, but a good upper middle class income. We do not have a plan to be the richest person in the world, so we need to get educated further to have any advantage over the rest of us people who fall +/- 2 standard deviations of the population.

I know of a lot of people who didn't get their degrees and they are struggling much harder than those who did. Because they are competing for the same jobs of someone with a degree and they don't have one so they will have that against them.

The real problem is there are too many people who get degrees. College needs to be harder, for those who do graduate a college degree must mean they did something difficult. At the same time there needs to be more vocational training for a lot of the jobs out there that currently demand a college degree. They need less people with College Degrees and more vocational, where the people who do get degrees are in a less competitive space for those higher jobs.

Re:Did Zuckerberg ever have to get past HR? (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 2 years ago | (#42168943)

First of all, most of those "billionaire dropouts" were dropouts from Ivy League schools with plenty of startup money from daddy already at their disposal, not dipshits coming out of no-name-high-school. Secondly, most of them only left college when they already had contacts and solid plans (and financing) in place for starting their own businesses. They didn't need degrees because they were going to be hiring *themselves*, not having to worry about some HR department that will toss any non-degree applicants right into the trash.

For most of the non-rich, non-Ivy League assholes like the rest of us--we still need a college degree if we're going to get beyond the front door to any stable job. We're not Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

Your first point is important. Going to college (particularly a well-networked one like Harvard) and dropping out is not the same as never attending. The reason is your second point. You can get what you need from a college without getting a diploma. It is much less likely you'll get what you need (or even know what you can get) if you never attend. It's the old "how do you know you won't like like/need it if you've never tried it?"

To your last point, a kid saying 'I don't need college, look at Zuckerberg,' is kinda like me saying, 'I don't need to work, look at the lady who just won millions playing the lottery.' You may say, the Zuckerbergs of the world are in control of their destiny, the lottery winners rely on luck. I'll say, there are more lottery winners who've won enough to live off the rest of their life (if managed properly) than there are billionaire drop outs.

Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168437)

There ain't no jobs anyway, so those kids have nothing to worry about living with mommy and daddy until they're 50.

North Korea prepares satellite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168443)

North Korea prepares satellite

Motherland prepares to 'wow' the world with technological prowess, demonstrate that reliance on foreign powers is not relevant. All countries are within reach of our long arm.

Don’t get me wrong (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#42168451)

I’m all for the elimination of college/university as an almost necessity to get a decent job.

That said, for every tech millionaire dropout, there are probably 1000 guys with good technical knowledge eking out a living on a hell desk. At a minimum, not having a degree is going to make things harder and reduce your options. Again, for every small startup you can wow with your cool open source contributions, there's a dozen companies who will just shredder your resume (and before you say "who wants to work for such a company", keep in mind HR is usually not reflective of the working environment at most places).

Much as it sucks, I still think the best bet is to learn on your own, then sweat out the degree.

Then again, here in Canada tuitions are high but not insane. I worked a McJob part time through highschool, full time through summers, and was able to pay off the remainder of my debt fairly quickly after graduating.

There is also something to be said about college/university as a good thing. It forces you to take stuff you’d have no interest in otherwise, there is some social development, you learn to deal with different personalities, etc..

Re:Don’t get me wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168645)

That said, for every tech millionaire dropout, there are probably 1000 guys with good technical knowledge eking out a living on a hell desk.

You're a few orders of magnitude off. It's more like 1 to every 10,000 if not 100,000 people.

Drive (5, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about 2 years ago | (#42168463)

If you have drive you can succeed by yourself.

With high-school becoming a pat-on-the-back-thanks-for-showing-up affair college is what teaches people to knuckle under and get stuff done. If you need that lesson you need college.

Drive is fuck all if you don't have connections. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168517)

Unless the drive you're talking about is the one to your parents mansion, drive gets you more work.

Re:Drive (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#42168599)

Some people have entrepreneurial drive, some don’t and probably never will. I am one without. I have no interest in starting my own business and no serious career ambition.

That said I make one hell of a wage slave. I love what I do, and I get shit done.

I guess my point is that college isn’t so much about learning to "knuckle under and get stuff done" as a required part of the process for us that lack the drive to go out and do our own thing and instead just want to get a job working for someone else and do the thing we are good at.

Re:Drive (1)

Simulant (528590) | about 2 years ago | (#42168605)

"...college is what teaches people to knuckle under and get stuff done."

Actually college (and there were several) failed miserably at that lesson. 4 Years in the military (non-combattant/non-war time) succeeded where college failed.... not that I'd recommend the military these days. Some sort of real life boot camp outside of a McWalmart job would probably be useful to many.

Re:Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168843)

Good thing everyone is like you and does best in a kick-in-the-ass environment.

Re:Drive (4, Insightful)

xaoslaad (590527) | about 2 years ago | (#42168689)

One thing college proves is that you have the drive to stick with something for 4 years and succeed. You learn a whole lot of other valuable lessons and information while doing that too.

Look, I'm not a fan of rising tuition costs, and the growing requirement for manufacturing jobs, that clearly have no need, requiring a college degree. But we need to stop encouraging people to be stupid and give up while insinuating that they're doing the right thing. They're not. As mentioned most of the drop outs already had lots of contacts, maybe a good idea, and mommy and daddy's money to carry them. Most of us don't.

Instead, maybe they should get a degree and use their new found skills and insight into the system to help reform it and make it better for everyone. The message certainly should not be to ignore the broken system and subscribe to a life of indifference and complacency. That message is crap served with a steaming side of bullshit.

Re:Drive (1)

BVis (267028) | about 2 years ago | (#42168949)

Instead, maybe they should get a degree and use their new found skills and insight into the system to help reform it and make it better for everyone.

A noble sentiment, but it's got a fatal flaw: College does not teach you marketable, useful job skills. It teaches you how to show up in class, pay attention, memorize useless shit then immediately forget it once you've passed the test, and how much you can drink before you die of alcohol poisoning. If college was about learning job skills, Communications and English majors would not exist; those students can get degrees if they have a pulse. No, the big business / higher education cartel wants you to be an unquestioning drone, enslaved by obscene student loan debt and cowed by the threat of being fired if you step out of line. Employees who have had their souls crushed don't complain when you treat them like shit.

Re:Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168933)

I learned a lot of marketable skills in college including: a deep understanding of statistics, good understanding of biology and chemistry, a deep understanding of how computers actually work, and how to integrate different types of knowledge into real ideas.

Every self starting entrepreneur I know who didn't go to college are doing horrible, massive debt , and are stuck to low value unskilled industries, which really don't have much of a future in developed countries like the USA.

Mean while Every college graduate I know is doing OK, even if most work for some one else.

It's easy to become a billionaire dropout (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168471)

All you need are, like Bill Gates had, billionaire parents.

Look at statistics not the rock star stories (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168493)

The unemployment rate for college grads is half that of non-college grads. Yes, there are these billionaire dropouts, but they are the exception not the rule. Besides, if you're capable of having a billion dollar idea without a college degree, aren't you just as capable of having a billion dollar idea WITH a college degree? Why take the risk? Stay in school and have the best of both worlds.

This is like skipping vaccines (5, Interesting)

jonnythan (79727) | about 2 years ago | (#42168495)

This comes from the same mentality as people who skip vaccinating their children: we have a generation who grew up taking things for granted, so they feel free to reject the very things that gave them that privilege. Grow up without being surrounded by disease, and it feels safe to throw away vaccines. Grow up taking an educated populace for granted, and it feels safe to throw away college.

It's also the same mentality that leads people to stop taking medications. I've seen so many people with seizure disorders stop taking their pills after a time because they don't have seizures anymore..... then immediately have seizures again. I know one person that died as a result of this.

As a person who has gone to college, dropped out, and is now going back, I understand the value of the education and experience. It's not for everyone, but it really does have immense value. Very few people have the disposition and dedication to focus themselves and spend their time doing something better than college - most who drop out or don't go will spend their time doing something far less valuable.

Re:This is like skipping vaccines (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42168643)

The big reason people stop taking medications is side effects. "OMG, I have constant headaches, stomach cramps, numb tongue, and flatulence. I'd be happy to risk one little [seizure/depression/psychotic episode] just to feel normal again for a week or two." Then they do it again and again until a bad event happens because in the short term, they feel so much better.

Re:This is like skipping vaccines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168829)

High school and college drop out here. There are exceptions to every rule. My parents gave me $0 money. I busted ass at one startup, climbed that ladder, and now I work for a University. Lol.

There are types who can do without. Different strokes for different folks.

Re:This is like skipping vaccines (1)

InsaneLampshade (890845) | about 2 years ago | (#42168959)

I disagree, most of the people I know coming out of computer science degrees in the UK have little to no knowledge useful in the real world. Whereas those that taught themselves and are genuinely interested in computing are far more valuable in my experience. Sure they may not know the cookie cutter coding standards of all the college graduates, but all that can be picked up in a matter of weeks(/days).

I guess maybe computing is a little different from other subjects, you can't really do chemistry at home.

Well, I for one... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42168499)

...welcome the chance to be an overlord to the new underclass of skilled workers. Without a degree (maybe even diploma), they will have to start from the bottom and fight their way up, leaving hundreds of less lucky but equally skilled workers at the bottom too. And if they think "the bottom" is unpaid intern, they're in for a surprise. They might have to pay for the experience (those education dollars have to be sucked up somewhere).

Outliers (5, Insightful)

Synarus (2782873) | about 2 years ago | (#42168501)

See, but if you went to college you would learn that outliers exist in all populations. One should not make conclusions based on an outlier because they do not provide significant evidence for a result. If instead you look at the vast majority of successful people they have college degrees. That being said there is evidence that certain programs such as vocational or even Ivy League programs have negative effects of certain subsets of the work force. But let's try not to make grandiose claims on faulty evidence.

multiple options (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#42168503)

Skipping college and starting your own blockbuster company is an option, much like winning the lottery is an option, or being born with millionaire parents is an option.

Yeah, right. (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 years ago | (#42168509)

And anyone with any athletic ability should just head straight for the pro's. I mean, the odds against becoming a basketball star or the next Zuckerberg can't be that long, right? Right?

Just skip college and make it big in the NFL (2)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | about 2 years ago | (#42168511)

or NBA, or music, etc, etc, etc The VAST majority of people who skip college will never achieve anywhere near the financial level they could have achieved by going to school. Skipping college and becoming a billionaire is akin to being the lead point scorer in the NBA without ever playing in college. Yes, it happens, to one person out of millions that play basketball.

Choose your college wisely (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168519)

Up here in Canuckistan, 'college' means Community College. Community Colleges are mandated (in Ontario at least) to serve the local job market. That means that if there aren't jobs in a particular field, there should not be a college program.

In other words, if you attend a community college, you have a very good chance of getting a job. Some programs have 100% job placement year after year. The statistics are available, you can check the graduate placement and starting salaries before you enrol.

In my particular program, we often get university graduates who can't get jobs. Community Colleges don't get nearly enough respect.

Re:Choose your college wisely (2)

rogueippacket (1977626) | about 2 years ago | (#42168941)

Also in Canuckistan, the term 'college' applies to several polytechnic institutes - most of which are more profitable (thus attracting better instructors), more popular (with annual enrolments sometimes doubling or tripling local Universities), and with higher graduate placement rates, usually 95-100%. They can also offer "Applied" Degrees, to those who want a few letters after their names.
To your point, the thing I find absolutely remarkable is the smug, holier-than-thou attitude which pervades most University-goers in the country - they have been completely brain-washed by their family and high schools that they need to go massively into debt for not only an undergraduate degree in Basketweaving, but a Masters and PhD before they can be any use to society. Meanwhile, those with a meaningful career or skilled trade after two years of study are somehow inferior.
It isn't even the smugness that bothers me anymore - it's that fact that I will need to undo this brainwashing on my own children over the next two decades. If they legitimately want to pursue a PhD by studying the world, great - but they must understand that there are other ways to support a family, and that going into student debt for 4-8 years of study should not be the status quo.

Re:Choose your college wisely (1)

technomom (444378) | about 2 years ago | (#42168947)

Community College is an excellent idea here too but again, it doesn't get respect. CC's works in a couple of ways - 1. They're an excellent training facility for older people who want to train in a new field while still working in an old one. 2. They're an affordable alternative for the first two years of schooling for someone who wants to switch to a university later. This is particularly good in fields where a Masters degree is the end goal. There's no point in paying through the nose for a bachelor's degree if what you really want/need is a masters anyway. 3. They're a great way to accelerate through a university program. My sisters' kids took courses at the local CC during the summer, shaving off a whole semester so that they could graduate from a 4 year university in 3.5 years.

Say no to more coders (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#42168531)

where you can learn to write code in 8 to 10 weeks for about $10,000

Just what we need, more shitty code for someone else to figure out how to work around the problems created by said code.

Considering the amount of work I spend every day fixing issues or trying to resolve problems due to bad coding from multi-million dollar companies, the last thing we need is more people shoveling out more shit when there is enough shit already out there.

We don't need the latest and greatest shiny. We need code that works.

Re:Say no to more coders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168747)

Why are you so upset? You should be enjoying your job security!

bad comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168541)

Just because you can 'learn to write code' for $10,000 as the article states, does that make you a proficient software engineer? In college you may have more classes involving hardware, algorithms, numerical analysis, etc. It is way more than just learning to write code.

Too many LAZY people (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 2 years ago | (#42168545)

The problem isn't so much about not going to college, but having the drive to do something after you get out of college. My job requires me to be on several 'higher learning" areas, and the common thread I see is LAZY students. They are more worried about hooking up, getting drunk/stoned/high, or some other alternate level of conscientiousness than to worry what they are going to do if they graduate. Granted, they are 18-22 usually, and that would be job #1 for the most part, but, if they had counselors who would explain to them what life was going to be like in a few years, maybe it could penetrate their polluted brain cells. I skipped the traditional 4 year and went to a trade school for two years. I have been employed & successful for the past 35 years. I had a high school counselor who was the best in figuring out what I loved to do, encouraged me and suggested a school to improve my skills. BEST thing that ever happened was skipping the 4 year college route. And, when I graduated? I was DEBT FREE!

What College Are You Talking About Here? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#42168569)

Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt

Yeah, I don't know how this happens. I mean, I know how it happens ... you go to a school on the East Coast so you have the name on your resume. I went to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities for four years and came out with $20,000 in loans (worked three jobs in college). A coworker's cousin just graduated from George Washington in DC and came out with $250,000 in loans. Tuition rates at the University of Minnesota [umn.edu] versus tuition rates at GWU [gwu.edu] (note that those are per credit hour! and they don't give you every credit over 13 free like they do at the U of MN).

Frankly, I think this article should be titled, "skip the overly expensive college because you'll get a more than adequate education somewhere else." Okay so I have to prove myself in an interview over someone from GWU. Challenge accepted.

And if everyone drops out of college to start their own thing, who are you going to be hiring when your startup needs to transition to a medium to large company? Other dropouts whose ideas were crap. Are you sure you want to advocate this to be a more widespread phenomenon?

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168715)

I went to Cornell University in the late 90's. I majored in Chemical Engineering and graduated with a bit under $12,000 in debt. And my parents made about $70K a year total. We got a decent deal on tuition because I was a good student in hs. The people piling up $200K in debt are the people who were marginal students in hs who decided to major in medieval history or religious studies.

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42168791)

i used to frequent some other forums and this is how it happens. all schools have in state and out of state rates. if you're a resident of the state you pay a much lower rate.

dumb parents would take their kids to look at schools around the country outside their home states. and these weren't ivy league or some top of their field schools, just your average state school. i asked the reason and the person said they were looking for a "good fit" for their kid

most of these loan horror stories are from dumb shits that go to other states to your average school to learn something you can learn at home. meanwhile there are janitors at NYU pushing their kids to be in the top of their class because the kid of any NYU employee goes to school for free there

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168797)

Not sure why you're so keen on avoiding East Coast colleges. Going to an in-state colleges is often the cheapest option for a Bachelor's with some credibility, no matter where you live.

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168865)

Not sure why you're so keen on avoiding East Coast colleges. Going to an in-state colleges is often the cheapest option for a Bachelor's with some credibility, no matter where you live.

Virginia versus Minnesota. Go. Calculate rates. A non-resident pays a tuition rate of $8,655.00 to go to U of MN per semester as listed on the link. Find the instate college that is similarly accredited at that rate. Then consider how much living on the East Coast compares to living in Minneapolis. Take your time, this decision is important.

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42168889)

The big-name schools do provide a few benefits:
1. They have more financial aid money available, so there's a decent chance that if you get into, say, Yale, you won't pay even close to the full price. They may even have special programs specifically to help people like you if you're from a historically disadvantaged background (e.g. a scholarship fund set up 50 years ago dedicated to educating people called at the time "Negros").

2. The future movers and shakers are your classmates. If you want friends in high places for cozy patronage jobs, that will help.

3. Everyone around you will think you're brilliant with no other proof whatsoever. For example, my sister went to an Ivy League school, and many of her classmates were hired right out of school to work in "consulting", which is basically a job of traveling around the US giving Powerpoint presentations on topics they knew little to nothing about. They got the jobs specifically due to their Ivy League education.

The Premise of this Article Says Otherwise (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#42168999)

The big-name schools do provide a few benefits: 1. They have more financial aid money available, so there's a decent chance that if you get into, say, Yale, you won't pay even close to the full price. They may even have special programs specifically to help people like you if you're from a historically disadvantaged background (e.g. a scholarship fund set up 50 years ago dedicated to educating people called at the time "Negros").

2. The future movers and shakers are your classmates. If you want friends in high places for cozy patronage jobs, that will help.

3. Everyone around you will think you're brilliant with no other proof whatsoever. For example, my sister went to an Ivy League school, and many of her classmates were hired right out of school to work in "consulting", which is basically a job of traveling around the US giving Powerpoint presentations on topics they knew little to nothing about. They got the jobs specifically due to their Ivy League education.

So basically your defense of these overly expensive schools is nepotism, dumbshits at the top of the pyramid and other horrors of what is wrong with America? Got it. Also I find it amusing that "you need money to make money" also applies to college ... "you need money to be unquestionably paid lots of money." This should be closer to a meritocracy not a country of "daddy has contacts."

Also, to invalidate your first point, the article starts with the premise that everyone is coming away $200,000 in debt unless you drop out or skip college so, no, apparently not everyone gets Yale at reduced price. And if $200,000 is the "reduced" price, you should asked to be kissed first.

Re:What College Are You Talking About Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168985)

You just hire people who can do the job at the level you want (demonstrated by previous experience on their CV and a thorough interview process). A piece of paper someone spent $20,000 or $250,000 to get means nothing in the real world.

HR (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168573)

Please, do tell of all those Silicon Valley kids who didn't make it. Or the drop-outs who didn't go into CS? How do they get their foot in the door with HR? Those kids who "made it" were very bright to begin with, and they had an opportunity they couldn't pass up by the time they dropped out. What the article is saying is if you drop out, opportunities will come - that's the mentality of every actor trying to "make it" in Hollywood.

I have a certain set of skill that unfortunately aren't too profitable. I'm not in CS nor in dog-walking (as the article suggests). I don't have the aptitude to be a cop. But my skills require a college degree to get my foot in the door. The problem isn't college, but the HR system. And unfortunately, I'm not as bright as Bill Gates or Zuckerberg (both who went to Harvard) to make up the diploma deficit with talent. I went to a state university and as the world goes, pretty average.

What annoys me the most of all, are the examples cited in the article. I bet most, if not all, the kids came from an affluent background, where if they fail there would be a financial safety net from the parents. As for me, I saved up and only had one shot. I tried my hand and didn't make it. My life has changed now where I'd have to save up again for a couple of years for another shot in entrepreneurial career success or start a family.

God, I hate articles like these. It just feeds into every high school kids' fantasies into never going to college and think they can make it big. Opportunity follows talent, not the other way around.

Compensating for something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168577)

Who are these idiots that continue to spout this inane crap trying to fool?
Every time I see a million dollar CEO or google engineer give "advice" to kids just getting out of high school, I cringe.

Highly successful people are not typical and need to stop giving advice to the masses like they are. College are not designed to make the smartest 1% smarter or more successful. They are designed to give opportunity to those people willing to seek it out.

If you aren't motivated enough to be a success in college, then your first year of college is going to be fun, but the rest of you college career is going to suck. which is a good litmus test for the success you will find elsewhere.

No one ever said that "people without college degrees will NEVER EVER EVER EVER succeed in life." so why do these schmucks try to turn it around to "No one ever needs to go to college"

do they just want to insult as many people as they can while they roll around in their big piles of money wondering why their lives still feel empty? (hint, getting some friends in college might have helped with that!)

Re:Compensating for something? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#42168679)

Who are these idiots that continue to spout this inane crap trying to fool?

The very people they want to be able to hire on the cheap and force them to work 12+ hour days. Telling people to not go to college has nothing to do with wanting people to succeed more. It's about wanting a less educated populace so that tech companies can depress wages.

Mistaken Priority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168593)

The purpose of college is education and not job training. Those who spare themselves the rigors of earning a quality university degree will not fail to be perceived as unsophisticated and ignorant, and such characteristics will be highly detrimental in life.

It depends on where you drop out from. (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 2 years ago | (#42168601)

Drop out of Harvard University to start your tech company? This might work.

Drop out of the County College of Morris to start your own tech company? Not so much.

.

Yeah, right. (5, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 2 years ago | (#42168615)

It's amusing that people would advocate this when statistics show that college graduates not only face a lower unemployment rate, but they average higher incomes as well.

  As others have pointed out, you'll notice that the successful entrepreneurs who dropped out either went to ivy league schools or had wealthy parents. Even if they had to scrape for their own money, their backgrounds conferred instant confidence in their abilities amongst anyone they approached. One of the most important aspects of a successful business, contacts, where there from the start.

A second important factor here is that these guys were already actively engaged in whatever lead to their success. They would have been successful just the same had they completed college because the drive was already there. These aren't random students more interested in partying than schoolwork. But sure, let's perpetuate the idea that we don't need college so that we end up with an even bigger group of resentful individuals resentful for not having been multimillionaires.

Of course, we should be talking about the cost of an education. College tuition is seriously overpriced but instead everyone harps on student loans. And the government backing those loans simply adds fuel to the fire, creating a massive bubble. Certainly, we should be looking at trade schools, but I think the real problem in the US is perception. Most people think trade schools are beneath them. But when you've got MBA's sucking everyone else dry in a race to bottom, who can blame them?

Better inspiration (4, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#42168617)

Let's look at the vast majority of people who haven't gone to college and be inspired by them. This is like saying that the 2 people who won $250M each in the lottery should inspire us all to spend all of our disposable cash on lottery tickets. Statistically your chances of becoming rich as a professional athlete are probably better than becoming Bill Gates or Zuckerman. Oh, not to mention, both of them were in college, and without it and the resources that were available to them because of that neither would have what they have now.

I am all for a higher degree (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#42168621)

Personally having a degree in languages and engaging in the academic circle made me a lot better person overall. Even though my degree and employment career are stark opposites, at least I got the time to think and explore under the guise of "academic development". Then again, I was a student in Norway and our educational system is a bit less costly than compared to the US. I am satisfied with my career so far and it does only seem to be better from now on, building on the knowledge I accumulated by having some years as a student.

a better idea (4, Interesting)

Lluc (703772) | about 2 years ago | (#42168629)

Wait! I have a better idea to avoid $200K of loans. Don't go to an overpriced private school; do go to a good state school. Get a major in a technical area where you can work on internships or co-op often to cover a good portion of your tuition. Get an automatic job offer when you graduate from your co-op / internship company.

College is what you make it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168631)

It also saves TIME & MISTAKES, since you learn things that are proven, such as algorithms (which is why to this day I still think/feel that the course DataStructures was the MOST valuable in that very capacity).

* It's not "undoable" to be an "auto-didact", but you'll end up "reinventing wheels" that already work well + are proven to do so, & your effort will be VERY POSSIBLY not done as efficiently as what others have already done...

I know 1 other thing - by experience as an example here: I started with 120 people in CSC major, & at the end? Only about 10 of us made it. Of those? Only myself + 1 other person scored jobs "outta the gate" after schooling (which was by recommendation of the CSC dept. head to the Fortune 500 company that hired myself & my immigrant pal from Russia).

What I found funny is he outprogrammed guys who were software engineers @ the time for Lockheed Martin (2 of our adjunct professors in fact) for C++ projects! This happened 2x that I recall... he did truly DO better work & was just a 19 yr. old kid.

However - During academia, He & I practically LIVED on these machines in order to excel (& he was already coding for 10++ yrs. & was only 19 at the time, since his late Father, a dual PhD in Mathematics & Comp. Sci. got him into it @ the age of 9 by telling him "You will get $20 U.S. Dollars if you can make the computer do this" type stuff... good motivator - we all do that in the working world essentially!).

A lot of folks were just there for the paper, cheated like mad, & more/worse (not actually committing the know-how, & knowledge)... This made me question WHY they chose CSC as a major in fact but - it was THEIR lives, not mine.

APK

P.S.=> I've seen folks with PhD's that I didn't consider that good, but then I've seen some that are outstanding too - depends on the individual & how far they are willing to go to learn a particular discipline and become truly great (which takes "living the job" almost 24x7 imo!

I state that lastly, since I truly feel there is NO "greatest coder" imo & experience (AAS CSC & MIS B.S. degreed here with almost 20 yrs. of hands-on experience as a programmer, then programmer-analyst, & then software engineer as titles here) - there is only more dedicated + focused folks on a particular task/problem @ hand more than anything else, & that?

Takes time, effort, & a hell of a lot of thinking to become "expert" in, in ANYTHING... & there's 1 fact to face: You'll NEVER "know it all" in the art & science of computing - field's TOO big, & changes too fast all the time!

Nicest part is though, that if you have solid fundamental foundations? The changes aren't that radical you can't pick up on them quickly due to having solid fundamental foundations due to education & experience...

... apk

so the founder did everything themselves? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42168637)

Bill Gates had Steve Ballmer who also went to harvard and made lots of contacts
Zuck hired a hardvard educated COO
Michael Dell also hired a college educated COO when it was time to really grow the company

same with all the other startups that made it big. they all hired college educated senior officers, gave up a lot of control and ownership in the company to have it grow. writing up some code on the weekends and renting space on amazon isn't going to turn your startup into a billion dollar company

running a startup without someone who knows how to grow the company means you will always be some small fry and never make it

Who takes on that much debt? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42168661)

Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt

If you are taking on $200,000 for a 4-year degree, you're doing it wrong. While it is increasingly more difficult every year to work your way through college (as I did), nobody should need to take on this much debt for a 4-year degree. Likely someone taking on that much debt is living way outside their means.

Not possible for many fields. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168667)

Try to do any kind of hard lab-based science without going to a well funded school. Computer based fields have the great advantage of using one tool almost exclusively. For about $1000 anyone can have a near-state-of-the-art machine, the rest is up to the student. $1000 in lab equipment is enough to do some high-school level demos in chemistry or physics

So...? (1)

rbprbp (2731083) | about 2 years ago | (#42168671)

For every dropout that got to be a billionaire (specially if they don't come from a wealthy family which can pay for their mistakes), there are thousands of dropouts which will never get beyond a minimum-wage job.

Just Say No (4, Funny)

twmcneil (942300) | about 2 years ago | (#42168675)

Go ahead, just say no to college, that's fine by me. Degreed people like myself need ambitious young people like you to work for us and do all the shit we don't feel like doing.

Eating your seed corn (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#42168701)

This works great if you can take what other (typically college grad) people have done and build on it - a la Facebook. It doesn't work so well if you want to create something NEW, a la the linux kernel. It seems like a great short term win, a 'sugar high' type of thing - you cash in long term success early for a short term (unsustainable? ask Facebook shareholders) win. The problem is that you need an ever increasing number of long term things to get the same short term boost, and eventually all you have is short term stuff.

Read a book a day? (2)

ve3oat (884827) | about 2 years ago | (#42168703)

...go to a library, read a book a day...

What the hell does one get out of just reading a book, especially one per day? Learning requires study, analysis, comparison, debate, experimentation, more analysis, more comparison, more debate. I'm not saying it is impossible to learn stuff on your own simply by being exposed to ideas, but a well presented and managed college or university course can accomplish a lot more than simple exposure to an idea. My country (Canada) is badly enough run now by people who think they know everything they need to, but don't.

There's Just No Replacing Autodidacts & Polyma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168711)

Nuff said.

Statistics (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#42168717)

Hmm, you need a tertiary education to understand statistics and why some people make it big without formal education...

Moronic Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168725)

That is truly moronic advice

1. Getting rich with your startup is like hitting the lottery: for everyone who does it, there are tens of thousands who fail, often catastrophically (from a financial perspective)
2. If you don't with the lottery and need a job, your high school deploma will cut you out of the most lucrative jobs, and furthermore, you'll be the first on the unemployment line whenever there is a downturn. Currently unemployment for high school grads in 8.4%, for college grads, 3.8%. So, if you want to feel the nadir of each economic downturn deep in your personal life, drop out of college and enjoy the pain.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm

Spoiled rich kids of privilege giving absolutely horrifically bad advice to the rest of the population. (Most of these billionaire dropouts who "made it big" come from wealthy families, so its not like they ever faced real unemployment, or a lack of capital to start or prop up their enterprise during the early years, unlike the rest of us. In fact, the deck has been stacked in their favor every step of the way. Joe Middleclass on the other hand is very likely to have a long wait in the unemployment line if he follows the same path.)

College is limiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168727)

If you find college limiting, then you're either doing it wrong, or, as has already been said, daddy needs to increase your allowance by another $100,000 or so. College is the best place to network for the other 99% of us who weren't born with a job waiting for us.

Schooling != education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168741)

I moved out from parents and went to work at age seventeen, even though education in Finland is (almost) free. That was twelve years ago and today I have a steady job with no management responsibilities and a very decent paycheck.

I did it their way (lyrics by Bob Blue) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168773)

I came, bought all my books, lived in the dorms, followed directions.
I worked, I studied hard, met lots of folks who had connections.
I crammed. They gave me grades, and may I say, not in a fair way.
But more, much more than this, I did it their way.

I learned all sorts of things, although I know I'll never use them.
The courses that I took were all required. I didn't choose them.
You'll find that to survive, it's best to act the doctrinaire way,
And so I buckled down and did it their way.

Yes, there were times I wondered why I had to crawl when I could fly.
I had my doubts, but after all, I clipped my wings, and learned to crawl.
I learned to bend, and in the end, I did it their way.

And so, my fine young friends, now that I am a full professor,
Where once I was oppressed, I've now become the cruel oppressor.
With me, you'll learn to cope. You'll learn to climb life's golden stairway.
Like me, you'll see the light, and do it their way.

For what can I do? What can I do? Take out your books. Read Chapter two.
And if to you it seems routine, don't speak to me: Go see the dean.
As long as they give me my pay, I'll do it their way.

No, the road to success is to be a pro baller (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about 2 years ago | (#42168815)

Look at the money they paid Lebron James right out of high school. No need to go to Duke or Kentucky.

Absurd? You bet, but the the analogy is the same. Those who have the talent, motivation, and contacts to start a business without college are out there past the 6 sigma point on the curve just as athletes like James are. For the vast majority, however, going to college to learn your trade and, even more important, learn how to learn is the best path to a successful career.

Cost vs Value... (4, Insightful)

bayankaran (446245) | about 2 years ago | (#42168821)

There are two issues - 'value of college' and 'cost of college'.

As many other posters have eloquently put, the value of college for most of us is priceless. Very few of us have the entrepreneurial spirit. For every successful entrepreneur or 'self made millionaire', there are thousands who did not make the cut. In a winner takes all society, we forget the majority and we focus on the minority and aspire to be a part of that rarefied circle. This is at best wishful thinking, and at worst will have disastrous consequences to ones morale, prospects, motivation and energy. This is what the guy who says "in Silicon Valley, being a drop out is a badge of honour" fails to notice.

The actual issue is 'cost of college'. There is no reason - absolutely no reason - for a four year degree to cost more than $20 or $30K without scholarship or stipends. The classic American aphorism "follow the money" should be applied to find out "why college costs a bomb"? You will end up in the door steps of American government, lending agencies, universities becoming a profit centre and other vested interests.

Americans should fight "cost of college education", not "value of college education".

Are showers necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168845)

What would Bill do?
Pass over the college drop out. All these companies started by college dropouts require a college degree to be hired. That pretty much sums up the "is a college degree necessary" question.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs routinely went for for days without taking a shower, but you wouldn't get past your first interview if you showed up stinking like them.

As I like to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168863)

Never let school get in the way of your education! Speaking as a non-degreed engineer with more graduate-level credits than undergraduate ones. :-)

gah (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about 2 years ago | (#42168867)

Basing a decision not to get a degree on outliers like Zuckerberg and Gates is pretty dumb. Some thoughts:

1. People who are highly successful sans-degree would likely also be highly successful with a degree. The lack of a degree did not juice their success; they succeeded despite a lack of credentials.

2. Choosing not to get a degree creates a much crappier "worst case" compared to getting a degree (a. from a reputable institution, b. in a marketable field and c. with decent grades). Many more non-college-graduates experience this worst case than wind up like Zuckerberg.

3. College needn't cost $200,000. Especially if you're the sort of high-achieving person who is likely to be successful even without a degree. If you're paying $200,000 for a degree you're most likely attending a private university and have wealthy parents. My household earns more than 85% of households; my kid would pay $15k/year to attend Harvard. Paying full price at a top 25 public in-state university would run $10k/year. Toss on a national merit scholarship and we're looking at ~$5k/year. Depending on the field of study that could be earned back via paid co-ops during the final two years.

smell a rat (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42168887)

You don't need college if you're going to compete with $1/hr third world labor. You just need the ability to work 16 hours a day and not ask questions.

You don't need college, son, but we've got a dormitory waiting for you.

The past year, I've been reading a lot of these "You don't need college" stories, mostly in right-wing and pro-corporate media. I don't think it's coincidental.

Nobody is telling Mitt Romney's kid that he doesn't need college, even though (guess what) he REALLY doesn't need college. In fact, it's one of the trending memes of 2012: "You fucking proles don't need college because there are pictures of cheeseburgers on the cash register buttons."

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168893)

a whole lot of ignorance here. There is a big difference between starting your own company, and getting hired. Sure if you are starting your own company, you don't need jack for credentials. However when applying for a job, you better have some sort of higher education in order for them to take you seriously.

The sad state of american academia (2)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about 2 years ago | (#42168903)

The main reason, it seems, is cost. While the USA actively scares out people from pursuing a degree, a masters' or a PhD because most don't want to pay that for the rest of their lives, the rest of the world is doing the opposite: stimulating and financing such degrees.

Should I extrapolate that for the future or are you able to guess what happens next?

Only works in IT, small scale engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168913)

A key point the college dropout strategy advocates are completely ignoring is that their plan is only valid in a couple of disciplines of not only university subjects in general, but also STEM fields. If you feel like doing say biotech or aerospace engineering or even mathematics at a level beyond a hobbyist (i.e. something that gets paid for) that degree is really the only way you'll get there, and for good reason. Why? Because unlike in a startup doing "apps" there are requirements that some clueless 20 year old code cowboy just can't fill in - either significant amounts of capital or skills that you really can't learn by "reading a book per day".

Skills Needed Can't Be Taught (1)

mastershake82 (948396) | about 2 years ago | (#42168925)

The most important skills needed for successful administrators and technical employees in general can't be taught. Critical thinking and problem solving.

College will teach you some good CS theory and maybe one to three languages and possibly some life skills if you don't already have them. But if you can't learn a new programming / scripting language or CS theory without a college class, you'll be viable after college for 5 years max.

If you are self taught, you will continue to self teach your entire life. If you additionally have critical thinking and problem solving skills and decent life skills, you will find that you continue to rise to the top of whatever team you are on and that opportunities seem to fall in your lap over and over again, regardless of whether you went to college or not.

You will live a comfortable life without much worry. And chances are if your problem solving skills are strong, then you also ENJOY solving problems and will enjoy your work.

Lying on your resume (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 2 years ago | (#42168971)

I know someone who studied Information Systems and dropped out. Guess what? On his linkedin page he claims to have a degree and he does work as a software engineer.

I think if you know the basics, lying on your resume about your degree is a strong option.

How about going to university for fun? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42168975)

I went to university because I wanted to continue learning.
If all I wanted was a job, I would have gone straight from high school to get a pilots license and got a job flying tourists around.
Or I could have told my friend I wanted to work in his store.
Will my degree help me get a job in a field I find interesting?
I sure hope so, but even if it doesn't I already got what I really wanted out of it, which is that I learned lots of things about different fields.
Of course it helps that due to various scholarships and part time jobs I have almost no debt.

What you learn in college (1)

Pikewake (217555) | about 2 years ago | (#42169009)

The only skill a degree proves you have learned is how to pass exams. If passing exams is an essential part of your job description, then I guess a degree is invaluable.
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