Background: I went to Austin College in Sherman, TX (Anyone who can, go there). Small, private, liberal arts. And I'm a sysadminish type now.
Did my classes at AC help me? Hell no. I got my degree in art (digital graphics/3-d animation/modeling) and communication arts (media/web design/etc). Did I take more than one computer class, and that an independent study in Fractal modeling using, of all things, Mathematica? Hell no. Did I gain network and computer skills that I used in my jobs as tech support and sysadmin? Nuh uh.
Did I learn more about myself, the world, and everything in between than I ever could have in a corporate job for 3 years? Hell yes.
Did I have an amazing time, meet incredible people, learn how to really _think_, attack problems, analyze situtations, and find solutions? Hell yes.
Did I learn all sorts of things that I will never have a chance to learn again, never have a reason to learn again, and never have an opportunity to learn again, but that made me a hell of a lot better (and, yes, more hireable) person? Hell yes.
Do people care that I have a BA from AC? Only in a few cases:
They don't care if I got a degree in Engineering with a specialization in Incan pottery. They care if I got a degree. And some don't.
- They are AC grads. AC grads support AC grads. It's that easy. We know how good the school is, and how much they learned.
- They use it as a general indication that I'm intelligent, able to think, able to commit (I finished a double major in 3 years. Use that as you will).
- They need to hire X% of college grads.
- They are hiring for something highly specialized (AI, circuit design, etc) and want someone with formal training as well as on-the-job training.
Work experience will meet or exceed academic experience in a purely technical sense. But, imho, you can't get what you get at a college (caveat: At a _good_ college) in a job. So from a purely economic standpoint (College is expensive. Good colleges doubly so. Scholarships are your friend), you'll come out better off not going to college, getting a 35-50k/yr job out of high school, and being a coder/geek for life, instead of spending those 3-5 years paying money, and then getting the same job.
But it ain't all economics.
I knew I shoulda brought a crossbow.
-- Largo. www.megatokyo.com
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